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Shaq Thompson | Linebacker

Team: Washington Huskies
Ht / Wt:  6'2' / 225

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NFL.com's Lance Zierlein believes Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson "is small for the position, but he is a freakish athlete."
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Thompson is supremely versatile and has the ability to handle the RB, OLB and S positions. Most draft evaluators, however, see him as an NFL OLB. Zierlein notes that Thompson "could play SS," but he doesn't think he would. The analyst believes the Huskies prospect will "keep growing and will be around 230-232" at the next level. Jan 9 - 3:50 PM

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Date:

An NFL scout called Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson a "freak athlete," but said it’s hard to grade him as a certain Round 1 pick because of his uncertain position.

"His versatility is pretty spectacular with everything he can do," another scout said. "When he played running back for them, it seemed like he’d been playing there the whole time. He’s a good athlete, very instinctive and tough. But, for me, he’s tough to (evaluate) because he is that ‘tweener — he’s not the ideal size for a linebacker or a safety. He’s probably more of a natural linebacker, but he needs to develop his hand use and shielding blocks better. That’s going to be a challenge for him (in the NFL)." Still another scout speaking with the Seattle Times believes Thompson is best suited for running back duties in the NFL. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Thompson was a first-team AP All-American. He finished with 81 tackles, one interception, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and four defensive touchdowns, and also averaged 124 yards per contest in three games as the starting RB, gaining 7.5 yards per attempt.
Jan 5 - 8:55 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler projects Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson as "a top-15 pick with the versatility to fit any defensive scheme."

"Thompson is currently ranked as the No. 10 overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com and the top-ranked linebacker in the upcoming class. He is a projected top-15 pick with the versatility to fit any defensive scheme," Brugler wrote. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Thompson is supremely versatile and has the ability to handle the RB, OLB and S positions. Most draft evaluators, however, see him as an NFL OLB. Brugler adds that the Huskies prospect "is an above average athlete with the pursuit speed to chase down ballcarriers and the closing burst and veracity to be a fierce finisher."
Source: CBS Sports
Jan 5 - 2:10 PM

Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson has declared for the 2015 NFL Draft.

Thompson was a two way player this year, but we think his best spot and future is on defense. He fits what teams want at linebacker: aggressive tackling, speed and comfort in coverage. We would expect him to land in the first-round this spring, but things can always change. He had a Tyrann Mathieu-like sixth sense for making the most of turnovers.
Jan 5 - 12:18 PM

Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke has Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson landing with the New York Giants at No. 9 in his latest mock draft.

"Instead, at least for now, let's pencil the Giants in for an impact guy on defense. Thompson is an exciting prospect who can sit in coverage, chase down the football, blitz or even handle some carries if he's called upon to do so," Burke wrote. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Thompson has a versatile skill-set and can handle the RB, OLB and S positions. Most draft evaluators, however, see him as an NFL OLB. Thompson has not made a formal decision on whether to skip his senior season and enter the draft, as of yet. Burke notes that, "New York has had to use a patchwork linebacking corps the past couple of seasons" and "Thompson would count as a solid step in the right direction."
Tue, Dec 30, 2014 02:52:00 PM

Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson will speak with his family over Christmas break before making a decision about the NFL Draft.

"Just sitting down with my family and Coach Pete and some of the coaches and just think about it," Thompson said. "We’ll see. I don’t know. I’m just focused on this last game and going to see my family." Washington plays in the Jan. 2 TicketCity Cactus Bowl against Oklahoma State. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Thompson is supremely versatile and can handle the RB, OLB and S positions. Most draft evaluators, however, see him as an NFL OLB.
Thu, Dec 18, 2014 05:03:00 PM

Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson wins the Paul Hornung Award, given to college football’s most versatile player.

Most draft evaluators see the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Thompson as a defensive player at the next level. Thompson finished the regular season as the second-leading rusher for the Huskies with 456 yards and two touchdowns. We still think he has the highest upside as a defender. Ironically, Thompson has scored four of his six total touchdowns from the defensive side of things. Against Illinois, Thompson became the first Husky to return a fumble for a touchdown and an interception for a touchdown in the same game. The Washington prospect also had a 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown versus Cal.
Fri, Dec 12, 2014 03:30:00 PM

An AFC South personnel director told NFL.com that "a run-heavy team might like Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson" more as a RB than a LB.

Most scouts and analysts view Thompson as a defensive player at the next level, so it's interesting that an NFL evaluator is finally coming forward to say that the Washington two-way star could possibly have a future on offense. Thompson's rushed for 456 yards on 61 attempts to a 7.5 YPC average. "He has an amazing nose for the ball [on defense], but a run-heavy team might like him better as a RB. He's talented and growing in that spot as his time on offense has increased. A natural runner." We still think he has the highest upside as a defender. Ironically, Thompson's actually scored four of his six total touchdowns from the defensive side of things.
Source: NFL.com
Wed, Nov 12, 2014 07:55:00 PM

Washington HC Chris Petersen said junior Shaq Thompson will start at LB against Arizona.

Thompson started the last three contests at running back while seeing part time snaps at running back. "So we’re getting our running backs going a little bit, so we’re maybe able to balance (Thompson) back over there (on defense) a little bit more," Petersen said, adding Thompson could still see some time on offense if he can handle it. Thompson's NFL projection is on the defensive side of the ball.
Tue, Nov 11, 2014 09:56:00 AM

Washington junior running backer Shaq Thompson rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries in the school's 44-30 loss to UCLA.

Thompson started at running back, as expected, and intermittently contributed on defense. We understand Washington might lack talent at running back, but for selfish purposes we would rather see Thompson on defense on a full time basis.
Sun, Nov 9, 2014 02:35:00 PM

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. noted that Washington junior LB/RB Shaq Thompson is "still a defender if we're talking draft value."

Thompson has worked impressively as a RB in Washington's last two games, rumbling for 98 yards against Stanford and 176 against Colorado. At the NFL-level, though, Thompson is still viewed as a linebacker. Mel Kiper Jr. likes him on that level, saying "he's an extraordinary athlete" and calling the junior "an effective tackler and playmaker, which is saying something for a guy who has played safety, running back and cornerback." Kiper wrote that the key for Thompson was "play[ing] in space" so that he wouldn't be "swallowed up" if engaged by a good blocker.
Wed, Nov 5, 2014 07:17:00 PM

An NFL scout told Sports Illustrated that Washington junior Shaq Thompson projects as a first- or second-round draft pick if he chooses to enter the 2015 NFL Draft as an underclassman.

"The scout pointed out that Thompson is bigger than Tampa Bay Buccaneers star linebacker Lavonte David, a second-round pick in 2012. Whether it’s as a safety or linebacker, the scout projects Thompson as a first- or second-round selection and expects him to leave early for May’s NFL Draft," The Inside Read wrote. Even though Thompson is one of Washington's best running backs, his true projection and real value is on defensive side of the ball. Washington coach Chris Petersen and another NFL scout who spoke with SI's Inside Read, believe Thompson is "just a football player." The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Thompson rushed for 174 rushing on 15 carries, while scoring a touchdown in Washington’s 38-23 win against Colorado.
Wed, Nov 5, 2014 02:15:00 PM

Washington junior Shaq Thompson will start at RB, not LB, against UCLA for the third straight game.

Thompson will play some on defense, according to head coach Chris Petersen, unlike the last two games when he has strictly played running back. The junior 174 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries against Colorado. We think Thompson is a fine running back, but his true projection and real value is on defense. While he might be Washington's best running back, the team is weakening their second level defenders without him playing on that side of the ball on a full time basis.
Source: Komo News
Wed, Nov 5, 2014 11:15:00 AM

Washington junior RB/Off-LOS LB Shaq Thompson rushed for 174 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the school's 38-23 win over Colorado.

Thompson produced gains of 39, 24, and 56 yards in this game. We still say Thompson is a better linebacker than running back, but he broke a few tackles and displayed nice straight-line speed after attacking running lanes in this game.
Sat, Nov 1, 2014 04:51:00 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler was impressed by Washington junior OLB Shaq Thompson's ability to play both sides of the ball.

Brugler wrote that Thompson impressed with his "vision, agility and acceleration." He went on to say that, "Scouts appreciate players who can play multiple roles as it speaks to their unselfishness and natural football instincts. Regardless of where his future NFL teams see him fitting best, Thompson is a clear first-round athlete." While he might be a first-round athlete, it's more than likely the 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior will be selected to play his natural position of outside linebacker.
Source: CBS Sports
Thu, Oct 30, 2014 05:58:00 PM