NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Shaq Thompson, ILB/OLB/RB/SS Washington

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: ILB/OLB/RB/SS Shaq Thompson

Player Information:

Shaq Thompson, ILB/OLB/RB/SS
6-0, 228 pounds
Hometown: Sacramento, CA


NFL Combine:

40 yard: 4.64

Bench: N/A

Vert: 33.5″

Broad: 117″

3 cone: 6.99

Shuttle: 4.08

News and Notes:

Probably the biggest enigma in the draft not named Jameis Winston, Shaq Thompson offers a dazzling array of abilities and potential, but leaves many scratching their heads as to how to exactly utilize those talents.  Is Thompson a safety or linebacker?  Could he flourish as a 4-3 weakside linebacker or as a 3-4 inside linebacker?  Should he actually be a running back?  If the Packers are looking for the “modern” inside linebacker who is more about coverage and less about thumping between the tackles, then Thompson is your guy.

 What they’re saying about him:

  • “Thompson lacks the size and explosiveness scouts might prefer at linebacker. Fluidity and awareness in coverage at the linebacker position are more important in today’s pass-heavy NFL than ever before, making each a potential building block in a 4-3 alignment.”
  • “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.”


Video Analysis:

  • Surprisingly aggressive for a hybrid safety/linebacker.  While his smaller size would suggest that he would get washed out by offensive linemen, Thompson does a good job of slipping past blockers and making tackles.
  • Agility is not an issue, is incredibly quick and can cover side line to side line if needed.
  • One of the better linebackers in coverage in this years draft; has the speed and agility to match up against slot receivers in the middle.
  • Is a liability in run defense; Stanford ran the ball directly at Thompson at the goal line with devastating results.
  • Has the versatility to play safety or weakside linebacker.  Also has played running back in the past although has publicly stated he does not want to be a running back in the pros.

If drafted by the Packers

I’m a little unsure what to make to Thompson.  On one hand, his biggest issue leading up to the draft has been his size, but he actually compares pretty well to Denzel Perryman (5-11, 236lbs) , Eric Kendricks (6-0, 232lbs) and Paul Dawson (6-0, 235lbs) in height and weight, so I’m beginning to think that this is mostly a media thing.  On the flip side, he definitely looks smaller and slimmer than any of the other linebackers on tape, and I do get the feeling that he’s not winning any battles with his strength, which all the other smaller linebackers have been shown to do.  On the other hand, Thompson probably offers the most appeal for a team looking for a coverage linebacker, while Kendricks appears to have more technique and polish, Thompson has more speed and agility.  In the end, Thompson’s best position might actually be strong safety somewhat in the mold of a Cam Chancellor or a traditional tampa-2 middle linebacker like Brian Urlacher.  Unfortunately for the Packers, Thompson doesn’t exactly fit into what they traditionally look for in inside linebackers, who are there to soak up blockers for the outside pass rush and stop the run.


Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s


7 thoughts on “NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Shaq Thompson, ILB/OLB/RB/SS Washington

  1. I’d be ok with Thompson as a developmental prospect who isn’t forced to start right away. 3rd round or later. Unfortunately, he won’t last to that point I’d bet. It’s becoming more and more apparent that DL is the way to go in the bottom of the 1st round this year.

    Unless TT shocks the world and signs McClain, I’m getting the feeling more and more that Clay is going to wear the headset, be inside again this year on all but the base package, and Barrington is going to be the thumper.

    1. I agree that Clay and Barrington seem to be the current plan at ILB, just as Hayward seems like the current plan at outside corner.

      If you’re draft comment is based on the feeling that its just more likely for a DL to have value at pick 30, you may well be right. Remember TT generally wants a veteran ‘plan’ pencilled in before the draft, because that frees him to pick from the top of his draft board in the 1st round. That would depend entirely on which players ‘fell’ to pick number 30: DL, CB, or ILB. But right now it does seem like the CBs wont fall and and ILB can be selected later.
      I wouldn’t really expect a lot of FA action this year, even in the ‘cheap’ phase. Raji, Kuhn and maybe Bush coming back seems like about it. The selection of veteran FAs that were let go by their teams (i.e. will not count against us in the compensaory pick formula) seems fairly limited (and to be honest, always did. If TT does sign depth at some of the positions, I’d sooner expect Boykin and Lattimore back at minimum contracts than some of the names I’ve seen in media speculation.

      1. Yep. That’s my idea too. Although I’d like to see McClain in GB on a cheap/incentive laden deal… IMO his upside is better (and more immediate) than 95% of picks we’d get at the end of the 3rd round because of the compensatory hit…

  2. For a team that shows a lot of different looks like the Packers do, this guy might not be a bad piece. If you want him to play ILB, you’ve got to have the beef up front and a plugger playing next to him that allows him to run to the play. If there’s one thing the Packers have been missing, it’s someone who can run with RB and TE in coverage. I don’t know if he’ll be available at the end of round 2.

  3. Definitely a work in progress. Watched the video on him and was not impressed. Average play reminded me of AJ Hawk. He gets wrapped up by the linemen on running plays and is easily forced away from the cut lane. He did continue to play through and make some tackles by playing to the whistle. Did not show much on his coverage skills in the video so I will reserve judgement until I see more…

  4. I erased a post that just kept getting longer. I have no idea what to do with this kid. 3-cone and 20 yd shuttle are good. Very fluid, good instincts. 4.64 forty is okay for a 2nd rd talent. (I’ll watch for his pro day). Is he Deandre Levy who was 236 lbs and ran 4.54 forty or is he Sean Richardson with instincts, or even Brandon Chillar? Some scouts said he played at less than 228 lbs. and noted narrow hips and legs, thus doubting his ability to add weight. Not a run stuffer. Not sure if he is a SS, ILB, or even a RB. Can Capers the genius move him around? Tape provided is unimpressive.

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