NAME: Jalen Thompson
SCHOOL: Washington State
JERSEY: No. 34
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 191 lbs
D.O.B.: Not available
PROS: Fleet-footed man cover defender who has a nice understanding of route concepts. Multiple examples of great anticipation and recognition of switch stems/route pairings in half a field; has the ability to work pattern match ideas and orchestrated fellow defenders mid-play. Will be patient from off-man alignment over #2 and #3 receivers, maintaining upfield leverage. Does well to patiently wait for the break and explode downfield to get connected.
Discipline in off-man coverage shines; hard to beat him deep. Situational awareness will dictate more aggressive, downhill coverage reps; understands what the offense wants to do. Has a good feel for flow and alleys from deep alignment in the running game. Regularly beats his fellow defenders to the ball when closing downhill, with nice burst in short areas. Fluidity in the hips and quickness in space may project best to more of a slot cornerback role in the NFL.
CONS: A poor tackler who lacks physicality. Arrives to contact upright and without velocity, looking to latch and drag instead of wrap and finish. Lack of physicality also causes issues in the box and at the line of scrimmage. Ineffective and often over-aggressive in press coverage, failing to displace/reroute and immediately ending up in a trial position. Again as a mirror corner at the line of scrimmage, gets overly jittery and frantic in his motions, losing body control. Easily displaced by head fakes and jab steps at the release point and occasionally at the break point against off coverage as well. Gave up separation frequently.
Has limited reps from high or short zones given nature of Washington State’s defense and his responsibilities therein, which makes his transition to more traditional safety work in the NFL a question mark. In the box, will get suckered hard by play action and regularly takes too aggressive of angles to the mesh point. As it currently stands, his skill set is jumbled in terms of the role he fits: in coverage, he’s better in the slot; in run defense, he’s better from deep alignments. Tough riddle to crack. As it stands, man coverage ability alone makes him a worthy prospect.
– Benjamin Solak