04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Bengals picks: Round 3/93 - Brandon Thompson, DT, 6-2, 314, Clemson...He did 36 bench press reps at the combine so it is also another big, strong presence to stop the run. - The Sports Xchange
Thompson was a classroom and weight-room fanatic since high school, which earned him Academic Honor Roll recognition in 2010 and the weight-lifting statistics of a tractor -- 450-pound single bench press, 36 reps with 225 pounds (34 at the Combine), 615-pound squat lift and 370-pound power clean.
On the field that translates to somebody smart enough to know what to do and strong enough to get it done. He explodes off the line with tremendous force and uses his wicked strong hands to gain an advantage. This helps him as a dangerous bull rusher, but he is not really a pass rush threat.
Nicknamed "Yams" in recognition of the huge thighs that help him clog the middle of Clemson's defense, Thompson is an immovable object willing and able to crush anything that tries to get past him. His college statistics may not be relevant because offenses tried to stay out of his way, even if it took two men to do so.
Thompson may be NFL ready right now, but he is already maximizing his physical ability and may have marginal upside.
Pass rush: Arguably his best skill due to an extraordinary burst off the snap. Explodes out of his stance, demonstrating a burst upfield to slip gaps and the lateral agility once past the line of scrimmage to chase down the quarterback. Inconsistent use of hands. Flashes quick hands to slap away blocks, but too often gets caught in the hand-fighting at the line of scrimmage rather than quickly disengaging. Uses a swim move occasionally, though is only marginally effective with it. May be limited with this technique due to short arms. Good upper-body strength and leg drive for the bull rush.
Run defense: Penetrates through gaps, often forcing running backs to elude him or the back end of the offensive lineman he's pushing before they even reach the line of scrimmage. Inconsistent in his ability to separate from blocks, however, making him more of a nuisance than a snap-to-snap terror. Good anchor to hold up at the point, though he does not possess the bulk or lower-body strength to hold up to double teams. Good effort pursuing laterally. Quick feet and good balance to slide down the line and possesses the burst to slip through gaps.
Explosion: Pops off tape due to his explosive first few steps. While powerful, doesn't rock the guard/center back with his upper-body strength or explode into tackles.
Strength: Good weight-room strength, which translates onto the field in terms of his anchor. Isn't able to consistently shed blocks and makes plays in the hole. Good strength for the drag-down tackle.
Tackling: Can make the impressive chest-to-chest bear hug tackle in the hole due to his ability to wreak havoc in the backfield. Good strength, though his marginal arm length limits his ability to grab hold of ballcarriers as they run by. Willing to lay out and shows good hand-eye coordination to trip up ballcarriers.
Intangibles: Nicknamed "Yams" because of his huge thighs, which aid in his role as a run-stuffer. Won the Strength Training Award among Clemson defensive tackles in the spring of 2010. Tied for third on the team with a 425-pound bench press. Lifted 225 pounds 30 times for Clemson coaches. A pre-Business major who earned a spot on the Honor Roll in the spring of 2010.