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(John Lok/The Seattle Times)
After looking at defensive tackles, cornerbacks, and offensive guards, it is finally time to turn our attention to everyone else. The Patriots have needs at those previously mentioned positions, but the Pats, more often than not, draft the best player available when their time on the clock starts. With this final week, we at Patriots Life will look at every other position with players that the Patriots could be potentially drafting.

Out of all of the players in the draft, none have the versatility that Washington's Shaq Thompson has. Despite his determination to be a linebacker, his size makes it difficult to picture him having success in that role. His success last year came out of the backfield, but Thompson refuses to play running back in the NFL. So what can he do? A box safety would be his best fit, but some teams may honor his wishes to play as a weakside linebacker.



Measurables:
Height: 6'
Weight: 228 lbs
Arm Length: 33”
Hand Size: 9 1/2"

Combine Results:
4.64 40 Yard Dash
117" Broad Jump
6.99 3 Cone Drill
4.08 20 Yard Shuttle
33.5" Vertical Jump
11.78 60 Yard Shuttle

Combine Results:
20 Reps of 225 on Bench

Professional Comparison:
Tyrann Matheiu - Both were explosive players that flashed playmaking ability wherever they were on the field. Both undersized and out of place when attempting to play their desired position in the NFL. Matheiu went from CB to SS, like Thompson will have to do with LB to SS. With their combination of speed, strength, and tenacious play style, they both are exciting players to watch. Their versatility allows them to be used in a variety of roles on defense and special teams.

Strengths: 
Will be able to blanket any RBs in pass coverage. Has enough size to cover TEs in coverage. Has elite quickness for a LB. Would excel on all special teams units. Great field awareness. Shows ability to play zone and man coverage. Displays great reaction speed. Can come downhill quickly on receivers. Has the pop to break up passes in contested coverage. Could be a gadget player on offense and special teams, capable of running the ball. Would be adept at being a QB spy against athletic quarterbacks. Plays to the whistle every play.



Weaknesses: 
Can get eaten alive by offensive linemen in the run game. Instead of trying to get around blockers, he goes head on and is easily blocked. Shows an unwillingness to allow teams to use his versatility when talking about what he wants to do. Doesn't look comfortable at the LB position. His quickness won't help him as much against NFL linemen. Goes for the big hit more than going through a proper form tackle. Never saw him pushing any blocker backwards. Sometimes hesistant against the run instead of stepping up and filling a hole.



Projections:
2nd Round. There is one team I could envision taking him in the 1st round, and that is the Carolina Panthers. They have met with him several times including working him out. On top of that, the Panthers are having former star LB Thomas Davis announce the pick. Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but it seems like a very likely scenario. If he doesn't go there, he could easily slip into the 2nd round and last a little while due to teams not sure where they could put him.



Will the Patriots draft him?
Unlikely. Mike Loyko pointed out that the Patriots have never drafted a LB that was less than 230 lbs or shorter than 6'1". Both of those measurements go against Thompson. If the Patriots were to take Thompson, he would have to find a role on the team other than LB. Since that is the case, he isn't a need for the Patriots, and therefore not an easy pick to make in the first two rounds. He would likely be a safety, competing against the likes of Duron Harmon and Patrick Chung for a role. I'm not sure he's a significant upgrade over them if the Patriots return to a cover two scheme.

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For more of my articles, click here.

Adam Bogdan 4/28/2015 02:36:00 PM Edit
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