Coverage - Has a high ceiling as a one high safety, defending deep zones. Has good zone awareness, tracks the football sharply and takes great angles breaking on the ball as a center fielder. Holds his own in man coverage reps against tight ends. Layering coverage in split zones closer to the line of scrimmage revealed some hesitation and inconsistency.
Tackling - Reckless. Isn’t afraid to lay his body on the line but his technique is poor. Often just launches himself into the ball carrier without coming to balance or defining an aim point. Rarely wraps up and frequently whiffs. Concerning amount of missed tackles.
Processing - Has a good feel in coverage and he does well to keep things in front of him in single high. He has good field awareness but I would not call him a great anticipator in coverage. Generally in good positioning with few blown assignments.
Ball Skills - Aggressively attacks the football with excellent timing and technique. Confident to play the ball and trust that he can disrupt. Takes great angles breaking on the ball from single high reps.
Range - Doesn’t have elite speed so he is reliant on quick reads, technique and angles which he illustrates as a one high safety. Reps coming forward in run support are fairly inconsistent in terms of taking tracks that set him up for success as a tackler.
Physicality - Will occasionally have a passive moment but other times he’s wild and sticks his face in a fan. Needs better control when attacking forward. Illustrates good physicality at the top of routes and the catch point.
Play Speed - Lacks elite play speed and his footwork is sloppy. Processes fairly quickly with few lapses making correct reads. When he does turn on the jets, he loses control.
Flexibility - Would not say he is rigid or segments but his footwork is very sloppy. Commits too many false steps and there is too much wasted movement which robs him of smooth transitions. Love how flexible he is in the upper half to adjust and make plays on the ball.
Versatility - His best role comes as a free safety that functions primarily in deep zones, particularly as a single high safety. Needs to clean up his angles and tackling skills to win closer to the line of scrimmage. Has some appeal in man against tight ends.
BEST TRAIT - Ball Skills
WORST TRAIT - Tackling
RED FLAGS - None
For a team looking for a ballhawking centerfielder to serve as a single high safety, Thompson is an appealing prospect. He is confident breaking on the football and has the upside to make game-changing plays on the ball. With that said, there are notable technical issues with his tackling approach and he needs to become a more well-rounded defender in other duties of the position. Thompson has an exciting ceiling, but growth is needed. There is some risk/reward involved with his selection.
Round Grade - Second Round Value