Syd’Quan Thompson’s goal throughout the preseason has been to carve out a niche in the Broncos veteran secondary.
On Sunday, the rookie cornerback’s role was pretty clear: playmaker.
The seventh round pick from California returned a fourth quarter interception 48 yards for a touchdown in Sunday’s 34-17 win at INVESCO Field at Mile High. Thompson later added a 62-yard punt return to go along with a tackle and two passes defended.
“Every time he gets an opportunity, he makes the most of it,” Head Coach Josh McDaniels said, “and I think that’s what you want a rookie to do.”
Thompson said instincts took over on his first NFL touchdown when he jumped a Charlie Batch pass and glided untouched into the end zone for the Broncos’ final score.
The play capped an impressive day for the Broncos secondary, which accounted for three interceptions and a pair of touchdowns, and just as importantly for Thompson, boosted his case to make the 53-man roster.
Thompson said he won’t know exactly how strong that case is until final roster cuts come later this week, but he’s also helped himself by averaging 25.8 yards per punt return on his four attempts in the last two preseason games. After Sunday’s game, McDaniels said he’s been impressed by Thompson’s special teams tackling ability, in addition to his return efforts.
For now, the 23-year-old remains happy to keep up with his fellow rookie and friend Perrish Cox, who had his own long punt return last week and his first NFL interception in the second quarter on Sunday. Like any good playmaker, seeing his teammate shine only boosts his desire to match it.
“Everything’s competitive,” Thompson said. “I see (Cox) do good, it makes me want to do good. Whatever role I can play to help the team, that’s the best for me.”
- Eric Detweiler, DenverBroncos.com