Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: ILB/OLB/RB/SS Shaq Thompson
Shaq Thompson, ILB/OLB/RB/SS
6-0, 228 pounds
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
40 yard: 4.64
3 cone: 6.99
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:
- CBSSports.com: “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.”
- NFL.com: “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.”
- 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 AllGreenBayPackers.com.