Photo of Shaq Thompson
Grade
6.0 ?
  • 4.64 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 33.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 117.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 6.99 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.08 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 11.78 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Top Performer
  • 6'0" Height
  • 33" Arm Length
  • 228LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/2" Hands

Analysis

Strengths

Unmatched diversity in this year's draft. Played outside and inside as a linebacker and took snaps at safety against Stanford. Gained 456 yards rushing, averaging 7.5 yards per carry. Long, with athleticism and movement of running back playing linebacker. Like a magnet to the ball while pursuing in space. Second gear to finish the chase. Wins over top of second-level linemen. Can sink and search for cutback lanes as back-side defender against stretch plays. Glides laterally from gap to gap when playing inside. Reads the quarterback's eyes and shades the throwing lane as zone defender. Transitions easily from pursuit to coverage against play-action. Can cover running backs out of backfield. Instinctive with plus vision and twitch to make the big play. Scored four defensive touchdowns and forced three fumbles in 2014. Frequently attempts to strip ball. Fluid enough in space that safety could be a position consideration for the right team. Can be used as emergency No. 3 running back on game day. Had 19 tackles on special teams over last two seasons in kick and punt coverage. Football intelligence to process offensive and defensive playbooks. Strong work ethic and team-oriented player.

Weaknesses

Scouts question his natural NFL fit. Needs more mass on his frame. Played under listed weight at times. Aggressive, but lacks the play strength to back up his intentions near the line of scrimmage. Fails to consistently leverage his gap when forced inside box. Too easily redirected as blitzer. Gets blasted out of gaps by pulling guards. Must develop hands to keep linemen off of him and improve at slipping blocks. Not fully utilizing explosiveness. Fails to fire downhill and attack on the other side of the line. Ducks head into contact and will lose sight of the ball. Shoulder hitter in space rather than wrap-up tackler. Motor lets up at times when pace quickens.

Sources Tell Us

"He was 219 pounds when I visited late in the season. I'm concerned about whether he will be able to keep enough weight on to be a 4-3 WILL. Until I see him actually play deep as a safety, I'm not sure that is a projection I'm comfortable making." -- AFC North scout

NFL Comparison

Brandon Marshall (Broncos)

Bottom Line

Long, twitchy 4-3 outside linebacker with outstanding range to become a highly restrictive defender able to make plays well outside of his area against both the run and pass. With his big-play potential, Thompson could become a unique chess piece in the hands of the right defensive coordinator. He can help on special teams right away and might start off as a sub-package player while he fills out his frame.
-Lance Zierlein
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.