Futures: Washington LB/DB/RB Shaq Thompson

Shaq Thompson by James Santelli

Shaq Thompson by James Santelli

Futures: Washington LB/DB/RB Shaq Thompson

By Matt Waldman

Author’s Note: For all of the RSP Film Room excerpts with Ryan Riddle, you’ll have to click the red and white play button in the center of the screen and then click the refresh symbol (the half circle with an arrow in the lower left corner of the video frame) for the excerpt to cue to the appropriate setting. The length of the video might be the cause of this quirk.

Last week, Futures profiled UCLA linebacker/running back Myles Jackas one of college football’s ultimate rarities. However, those words may ring hollow to those in Seattle and the rest of the conference if the University of Washington continues showcasing Shaq Thompson’s two-way talents.

The Huskies defender has two seasons with at least 74 tackles and the big plays are coming fast and furious as a senior. He’s a playmaker in all three phases of the game. As of September, Thompson has 82 yards and a touchdown on six carries from the backfield; 15 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble against Eastern Washington; an interception return for a touchdown; and two fumble returns for scores, including one that he forced in last week’s Stanford game. He’s also a fantastic gunner in the return game who is often the first downfield and carrying dire news when he reaches the ball carrier.

If Thompson’s workload increases at running back, speculation may arise about his professional future as an offensive weapon. The 6-foot-1, 219-pound Thompson sports an upright gait that delivers equal doses of power and speed. His style has echoes of Chris Warren, another Seattle sports legend, and there’s an outside chance Thompson could make a compelling case as a pro prospect as a ballcarrier.

But the true question at this stage of Thompson’s career has little to do with offense. His potential is highest when he’s stopping drives rather than sustaining them. The real issue is whether Thompson has more NFL potential as a linebacker or safety.
Categories: 2015 NFL Draft, Evaluations, Futures at Football Outsiders, Players, Running BackTags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


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