Projected: First or second round Size: 6 feet, 228 pounds Athleticism: 4.64-second 40-yard dash; 33.5-inch vertical leap; 9-foot, 9-inch broad jump; 4.08-second short shuttle; 6.99-second 3-cone drill SPARQ Ranking: 12th Stats: 2014: 14 games, 81 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, four passes defended, three forced fumbles, four touchdowns; Career: 40 games, 233 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, five interceptions, 14 passes defended, three forced fumbles, five touchdowns How he fits: Thompson’s pass-coverage skills are special. He could enter the NFL as the league’s best coverage linebacker. He’s that good. Where Thompson struggles is disengaging from blocks on the second level. He’s undersized, and he plays undersized. He played a hybrid slot cornerback/safety role as a freshman, and some analysts and teams project him to be a defensive back in the NFL. His best fit is at weak-side linebacker, but if he’s drafted by a team that runs a 3-4, then he could play strong safety, too.
Thompson also played running back as a junior, but he’s made it clear he wants to play defense in the NFL. That’s probably a smart monetary move, but he was a natural on offense, averaging 7.5 yards per carry (61 carries for 456 yards, two touchdowns)