Shaq Thompson, OLB

School: Washington  |  Conference: PAC12
College Experience: Junior  |  Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Height/Weight: 6-0 / 228 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.642.75-- 33 1/2-4.086.99
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.572.751.69- 33 1/29'9"4.086.99

Player Overview

Thompson predominately starred at outside linebacker for the Huskies but was recognized with the Paul Hornung Trophy as the nation's most versatile player in 2014 after the junior rushed for 456 yards on just 61 carries (7.5 per rush average) during the regular season. Thompson's natural running skills warrant consideration at the next level, but Thompson was every bit as productive at linebacker, scoring four defensive touchdowns for the Huskies in 2014 alone.

Regardless of where he lined up for the Huskies, Thompson's athleticism and instincts on the football field stood out. He's a fluid, balanced athlete who changes directions easily and accelerates smoothly. As a defender, he locates the ball quickly, is poised in coverage and is a reliable tackler.

Thompson's talent is undeniable. There is, however, some question as to where he fits best in the NFL. Physically, he appears best suited to the weakside linebacker role in a predominately 4-3 scheme. Given his football intelligence, Thompson might be able to handle a hybrid role in which he's asked to play linebacker and safety, on occasion, giving a creative defensive coordinator a moveable chess piece to matchup against today's athletic tight ends and massive slot receivers.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Thompson is an active, aggressive and instinctive defender with excellent agility. He reads the action quickly and slithers his way around would-be blockers to make plays all over the field, demonstrating excellent change-of-direction agility and closing speed.

Thompson is surprisingly effective in his punch to greet and discard offensive linemen, though his lack of ideal size and strength can is evident when blockers can get their hands on him. Thompson is a very reliable open-field tackler who wraps his arms securely around ball-carriers. He arrives in a flash but isn't an explosive hitter (as his zero career forced fumbles can attest). His vision and agility could make him an effective blitz threat and these traits stood out during Thompson's time at running back. Despite his inexperience at the position, Thompson shows natural elusiveness as well as the ability to set up his blocks. He has the speed to make the corner and shows good body control and balance to tightrope the sideline and keep charging ahead after absorbing contact. Natural ball-skills. Articulate and mature.

WEAKNESSES: Looks more like a safety than a linebacker and for some clubs will project there - a position he hasn't played since high school. Possesses a slim waist and narrow hips, making it unlikely that he'll be able to pack on significantly more muscle mass onto his frame without losing his quickness. Can get swallowed up at the line of scrimmage and is forced to take risky angles, at times, to avoid blockers. Wasn't often asked to rush the quarterback at Washington and shows limited technique in this capacity. Likewise, he relied upon is natural athleticism as a running back and would need some patience to develop the finer aspects of the position - frequently held the ball in the wrong arm and showed limited recognition in blitz pick-up.

COMPARES TO: DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions -- Like Levy, 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.

--Rob Rang

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