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Scouting Profile: Shaq Thompson, Off-Ball LB, Washington


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Previous Installments:

 

The RBs - Hub Post

The WRs - Hub Post

Denzel Perryman, Off-Ball LB, Miami

Benardrick McKinney, Off-Ball LB, Mississippi State

Eric Kendricks, Off-Ball LB, UCLA

 

2019620648.jpg

 

Games watched: vs Illinois, vs Stanford, vs UCLA, vs Oregon State

 

The Good:

 

Incredible athlete. Sideline to sideline speed is top notch. 

 

Closes in well on target and tackles with authority. 

  ex. 0:58 vs Illinois

  ex. 4:15 vs Illinois

  ex. http://www.draftbreakdown.com/gif-embed/?clip=251872&gif=FairLiquidBluetonguelizard

 

Fluid and natural in coverage. Can turn and run with almost anyone. Man coverage as good as any LB in this class. 

 

Natural playmaker. In the games I watched, he forced two fumbles, returned two for TDs, and had another two pick-6s. Also, dropped what would have been another pick-6. 

 

Outstanding coverage instincts. Reads QBs eyes and breaks on the ball. 

  ex. http://www.draftbreakdown.com/gif-embed/?clip=251884&gif=BrownBeneficialBuzzard

 

Takes good angles to the ball-carrier.

 

Position flexibility. Can play LB, S, and even RB. 

 

High-effort player. 

 

Experience as a a gunner on both punts and kickoffs. 

 

Does a good job at sealing off the backside and giving chase down the line. 

 

Ability as an edge rusher? Gets a nice pressure here off of a speed move. 

  ex. http://www.draftbreakdown.com/gif-embed/?clip=251884&gif=RealisticWarmheartedDore

 

The Bad:

 

Undersized at ~230 lbs. 

 

Doesn't have functional strength to take on blockers. Not a penetrating LB in the pros. Doesn't get past blocks consistently. Gets washed out of plays by TEs. 

 

Sometimes prefers to launch himself at the ball-carrier instead of cleanly wrapping him up. 

 

Not many pass rush opportunities from what I see. Probably just a function of the defense. He does show off his speed here and levels the QB (though unblocked):

  ex. http://www.draftbreakdown.com/gif-embed/?clip=251872&gif=InfatuatedElaborateAmazonparrot

 

Where he wins and Conclusion:

 

IMO, Shaq Thompson is definitely a safety and the next level. All of his strengths and weaknesses pretty much spell that out. If he does play LB at the next level, he's definitely a OLB in a 4-3. He's an outstanding athlete with all-pro potential at the SS position. He's fast, fluid, and smart in coverage and can come up and lay the wood in the running game. 

 

Projected Round: 1st

NFL Comparison: Lavonte David, Tampa Bay

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I would think linebackers, as all of his numbers will be better compared to linebacker then they would compared to safeties. 

 

That would make sense. Only thing is it'd be hard to sell himself as a safety prospect if the only tape of him as a safety is from like 2 or so years ago. But he compares himself to Lavonte David so I think he's more comfortable at 4-3 OLB and that's where I see him as a fit too.

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I would think linebackers, as all of his numbers will be better compared to linebacker then they would compared to safeties. 

 

He said he would NOT work as a RB, even if asked.

 

This guy is one of the best all around athletes in the draft. He's a hybrid safety/linebacker who can play in the box, blitz, and even play man coverage on TEs and slot receivers. He has really good instincts and ball skills. I like him, but he'd scare me as a draft pick. He'll probably go in the top 20-25, but I think he'll have a difficult adjustment period in the pros, even at safety. The opposition is bigger, faster and stronger, and he'll be outmatched often in the box, and will have his hands full in coverage. I think he can still make plays, but I wonder if he's actually fast enough to play safety.

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He said he would NOT work as a RB, even if asked.

 

This guy is one of the best all around athletes in the draft. He's a hybrid safety/linebacker who can play in the box, blitz, and even play man coverage on TEs and slot receivers. He has really good instincts and ball skills. I like him, but he'd scare me as a draft pick. He'll probably go in the top 20-25, but I think he'll have a difficult adjustment period in the pros, even at safety. The opposition is bigger, faster and stronger, and he'll be outmatched often in the box, and will have his hands full in coverage. I think he can still make plays, but I wonder if he's actually fast enough to play safety.

 

 

I haven't put on much tape of Thompson just yet, but do you think he could make a similar transition as Thomas Davis did coming out of Georgia?  Davis was a safety most/all of his career at UGA. Now he's a heck of an NFL linebacker. 

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I haven't put on much tape of Thompson just yet, but do you think he could make a similar transition as Thomas Davis did coming out of Georgia?  Davis was a safety most/all of his career at UGA. Now he's a heck of an NFL linebacker. 

 

Sure, if he puts on 10-15 pounds and learns how to handle blocks better.

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