Photo of Shaq Thompson
Drafted By: Panthers
  • Round 1
  • Pick 25
  • Overall 25

Combine Results

5.69 ?
  • 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  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"This is somewhat of a surprise. Some people had Thompson going in the second or third rounds. He's a versatile athlete. I think he's a dime linebacker in sub packages. If he can cover tight ends, he has tremendous value." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'0" Height
  • 33" Arm Length
  • 228LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/2" Hands


In 2014, Thompson was the winner of the fifth annual Paul Hornung Award, given to the nation's most versatile player. Scored six touchdowns in 2014, two as a running back and four on defense (one interception return and three fumble returns). Started at tailback for Huskies at Colorado, rushing for 174 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and had two receptions for 41 yards. Played in 40 games in his three-year career, finishing with 3.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 16 passes defensed and five fumble recoveries. As a senior at Grant High School in California, named first-team All-America by and was one of six finalists for the U.S. Army National Player of the Year Award. Thompson was a sprinter, long-jumper and a standout baseball player who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 18th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. Struggled to put a bat on the ball and gave up the sport to concentrate on football.

Pro Day Results

Bench press: 20 reps of 225 pounds



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.


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.

Draft Projection

Rounds 2 or 3

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 athlete 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, but there are a growing number of teams that are beginning to struggle with whether to project Thompson as a safety or 4-3 outside linebacker.
-Lance Zierlein
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.