Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll continue looking at prospects in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft from a decidedly Cowboys point of view. Taking the Cowboys current personnel, draft position, scheme, and needs into consideration; defensive line, linebacker, defensive backs, as well as complementary offensive pieces at tight end and right tackle, we hope to profile the majority of the potential prospects that could realistically end up as Cowboys within the first two rounds. Once all of the “official visits” leak we’ll add prospects that are possibilities in the later rounds.
Today’s Prospect - (Reported pre-draft visitor)
#9 - Tedric Thompson - Safety - Colorado - 6-0, 204
Games Watched: Utah, UCLA, Sanford, Michigan
Pros: True ball-hawk in centerfield with excellent overall ball skills. Impressive instincts and feel as far as reading route combinations. Physical at the catch point, consistently looks to high point the ball and plays the ball like he is the receiver. Has a fantastic knack for being around the ball, locating it, and making a play, shows very good awareness. Good range from the middle of the field to the sideline, better than his timed speed (4.60 40) would indicate due to his ability to diagnose plays quickly. Attacks the run downhill although he struggles in the run game overall. Very aggressive as far as making plays on the ball when it is in the air. Excellent concentration and body control when going for the interception. Used in a variety of ways as far as cover-2, single-high, cover-3, in the box, used in man coverage on TE’s/RB’s at times, and blitzes off the edge on occasion. Eye-popping 13 interceptions over the last three seasons with 16 pass deflections in 2016 alone.
Cons: Not an explosive athlete, only average speed and overall athleticism, agility and change of direction aren’t ideal. Average at best in run support, not a physical wrap up tackler and doesn’t shed blocks well. His tackling form is quite poor, generally speaking. Lacks acceleration/explosiveness when planting his foot and driving on a play in front of him. Average size, could stand to add some more bulk. Can get overaggressive going for the interception at times. Combine testing was only average.
Conclusion: Thompson looks like a potential Day 3 steal to me. He should start off his career as a reserve due to his struggles against the run, but his range, instincts in deep coverage, and unbelievable ball skills could allow him to contribute early on in nickel/dime packages, and he could develop into a starter by his second or third season.
Every once in a while we’ll see guys in college who end up having a fluke season with 8 or 10 interceptions, but I don’t feel that is the case here. Thompson isn’t just lucking into interceptions off tipped passes by being in the right place at the right time, he’s making unbelievable catches over his shoulder or reading the QB and breaking on a pass in a full sprint. Of course the fact that he put up six interceptions in the two seasons prior to 2016 help his case also.
To me, he’s the real deal as the prototypical ball-hawking centerfielder, the type of guy many Cowboys fans have wanted for years. His game isn’t complete yet but he has a skillset to contribute as a part-time player right away. After watching guys like Justin Evans and Marcus Williams, safeties who many talk about as sure-fire Day 2 prospects, I don’t see much difference between those players and Thompson. If available in the fourth (133rd) he’d be a steal, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a consideration in the third at 92.
I do not have access to coach’s film or anything of that nature, I just watch plenty of football (television broadcast version) and go off what I see out of a prospect.
Special thanks to DraftBreakdown for posting the videos that help provide a more in-depth look at this year’s prospects.