Former Tennessee defensive back Bryce Thompson had a memorable NFL debut on Saturday night when the Saints took on the Ravens. Thompson, an undrafted free agent signing for the Saints, recorded an interception in the first half of his first NFL game.
Ravens quarterback Trace McSorley heaved the ball down the left sideline with slightly over a minute left in the first half. The ball was out of reach for the wide receiver, but Saints safety Bryce Thompson was in a position to make the play. Thompson lept in the air, secured the ball, took a big hit, and maintained possession for the catch.
Bryce Thompson with the INT! 🙌
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) August 15, 2021
Thompson signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent. Although, once he got there, the New Orleans coaching staff had different plans for the former Tennessee player. After playing cornerback for most of his career at Tennessee, Thompson made the position change to safety in Saints training camp.
“I played safety in a couple of packages last year for Tennessee,” Thompson said after Saints training camp on Thursday. “But never to this extent.”
Thompson followed that up by talking about his transition to safety while also transitioning to the NFL.
“Honestly, I love the new challenge,” Thompson said two days before his NFL debut. “So I am embracing it. It helps me learn different concepts of football. I learn the field from a whole different perspective. And it helps me when I go back to corner as well.”
When the Saints signed him, Bryce Thompson joined a number of his former Tennessee teammates and players from before his time. While talking to the media after Saints training camp, Thompson spoke about having guys like Alvin Kamara and Marquez Callaway in New Orleans.
“It definitely helps,” Thompson said. “I also played with Shy Tuttle, too. So definitely seeing their faces made it a lot easier to adjust. So that definitely helps.”
Saturday’s Saints and Ravens matchup featured quite a few names from Tennessee’s previous coaching staff alone. Those names included Bryce Thompson, Nigel Warrior, Marquez Callaway, Jim Chaney, and Tee Martin. Chaney took a job with the Saints as an offensive analyst, whereas Tee Martin joined the Ravens staff as the wide receivers coach.
Callaway ended the game on Saturday as the Saints’ second-leading receiver. The former Tennessee wideout had three receptions for 61 yards. Meanwhile, former Tennessee transfer TE Eli Wolfe had two catches for nine yards for the Ravens. Kamara did not play for the Saints.
Former Tennessee defensive back Bryce Thompson ended his Saints NFL debut with one total tackle, one solo tackle, and one interception.
The Ravens defeated the Saints by a score of 17-14 in week one preseason action in Baltimore on Saturday night.