Steve Sarkisian: Shaq Thompson's best days ahead at linebacker

The debate over former Washington two-way star Shaq Thompson's best position at the next level just might be the most interesting in the 2015 NFL Draft.



Thompson played running back, linebacker and safety in college, and some teams have him at or near the top of their boards at each spot. The coach who recruited Thompson to the Huskies as a five-star recruit coming out of high school, current USC head coach Steve Sarkisian, said he believes Thompson's most recent position is the one he's best suited for in the NFL.

"I think I would draft him at 'backer," Sarkisian said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft." "It's still new to him. He didn't do it in high school. We really started showing it to him his freshman year, he did it his sophomore year, and then he played both ways last year for Coach (Chris Petersen). What he has is playmaking ability. He has a nose for the ball and creates big plays.

"I think his best days are really ahead of him at the linebacker position."

Sarkisian's remarks are interesting because his staff was the one that moved him there from safety two years ago. His opinion also contrasts with the guy who ended up coaching Thompson with the Huskies this past season, too.

"What do I think is his best position? Running back," Washington coach Chris Petersen recently told Sports Illustrated. "I know he doesn't want to do that. He probably wants to play longer. He knows the shelf life of running backs. He's just so unique because he's just a football player."

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock ranks Thompson as the No. 2 safety in the draft, but it's clear that if even Thompson's former coaches can't agree on his best position, NFL front offices have to be divided about Thompson's future spot between the lines as well.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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