Name: Tedric Thompson
Position fit: FS
Stats to know: In 2016 Thompson gave up completions on just 40.3 percent of passes into his area while racking up seven interceptions and seven passes defensed.
What he does best:
- Plus speed and shows good range as both a split safety and center fielder.
- Shows good instincts when attacking the flats on either stretch runs, tosses or screen passes.
- Shows ability to cover receivers as a split safety using his leverage correctly.
- Highest tackling efficiency in passing game for all draft eligible safeties.
- QBs had a rating of 21.3 when targeting him in 2016, the lowest mark in FBS among safeties with at least 25 targets against.
- Superior ball skills – anticipates his breaks well can track the ball like a wide receiver and attack the ball in the air ahead of his man.
- Third-best yards per cover snap of draft-eligible safeties in Pac-12.
- Skinny stature, unsure how he would hold up against TEs in man coverage.
- Timid when attacking gaps in the run game when he is deployed in the box.
- Ability to play man-to-man coverage is a question mark as he was not asked to do it at Colorado.
- Looks awkward at times when changing directions; loses his balance too often.
- Struggles to get off blocks once they lock on.
Player comparison: Tony Jefferson, Baltimore Ravens
Jefferson was not a high draft pick despite excellent college production. This was likely due to speed limitations, the same issue likely to keep Thompson out of the early rounds. However, Jefferson has proven to be a solid NFL starter. The two also share the versatility to move around the field like a chess piece at a variety of alignments in order to create more favorable coverage matchups for the defense.
Bottom line: Thompson is a safety that despite lacking top-end athletic measurable, is able to make up for it with great anticipation and awareness. His ball skills are every bit as outstanding as his stat line suggests, which makes him an interesting long-term study in terms of production vs. athletic capacity. With such a loaded class, his disappointing combine numbers are likely to push him to the middle rounds, but there’s a well-roundedness to his game that suggests he could develop into a starter.