Saints’ Bryce Thompson named surprise offseason standout

Bryce Thompson, Saints. (Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports)
Bryce Thompson, Saints. (Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports) /

There’s no doubt that the New Orleans Saints carry one of the league’s best secondaries in 2022. Can defensive back Bryce Thompson earn a spot on the roster and help keep the team’s defense elite this season?

Thompson, a formerly undrafted rookie, appeared in just two games last year playing on special teams, and admittedly his name is pretty buried on the Saints’ depth chart. He’s currently listed behind C.J. Gardner-Johnson and P.J. Williams as a backup slot specialist corner, and even though he possesses the versatility to play anywhere in the backfield, NOLA already has plenty of elite options.

At safety, Tyrann Mathieu, Marcus Maye, and Daniel Sorensen headline the group, and at corner, Marshon Lattimore, Bradley Roby, Paulson Adebo, and Alontae Taylor all have more experience or upside than Thompson.

Nonetheless, Thompson could be one of the more unexpected roster inclusions this summer if he continues to put together impressive performances in preseason.

ESPN’s Mike Triplett picked Thompson as the Saints’ most surprising offseason standout after minicamp workouts and wrote:

"The second-year DB is the one player who earned his way onto my 53-man roster projection based on how often he flashed during OTA and minicamp practices — and how the Saints were working him into packages with both the first- and second-string defenses.Thompson also had a strong summer as an undrafted rookie last year, but he began the season on injured reserve before being signed to the practice squad and appearing in two games on special teams. His versatility as a safety/nickel/corner could earn him a role."

Saints defensive back Bryce Thompson has a long shot to making the 53-man roster

The Tennessee product was signed to a reserve/ future contract in January after getting placed on injured reserve at the beginning of the 2021 season. The Saints seem high on Thompson after the defensive back showed off his talent in an uber-productive preseason last year, yet Thompson will still have to deliver the goods to snag a roster spot this time around.

If there’s one thing the Saints organization has done well in recent years, it’s finding undrafted gems, and Thompson could feasibly enjoy a breakout year and surpass expectations in his second season in NOLA.

Come training camp, Thompson will likely be slated with fellow third- and fourth-stringers, but he’ll also get to play first-team snaps and he absolutely needs to take advantage of those glimmering opportunities.

The Saints’ starters at corner will probably consist of Lattimore, Adebo, and Ceedy Duce with a handful of decent backup options behind them, so we wouldn’t hold our breath hoping Thompson breaks into the starting lineup anytime soon.

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What Thompson offers the team, at the very least, is solid depth in the pass defense, and only time will tell whether he moves up the ranks in 2022.