Syd'Quan Thompson, CB, California

Scouting reports of cornerbacks in the 2010 draft.
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Syd'Quan Thompson, CB, California

Postby Pudge » Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:10 am

California Senior
40: 4.75 (Campus)

PROS: Has good speed and burst out of his breaks. Does a good job keeping things in front of him and has a natural feel for zone coverage. Does a nice job reading the quarterback and breaks quickly on the ball to break up the pass. Has good closing burst on the ball and shows good ball skills in coverage. Quick to come upfield off the edge to make the stop in run support, doing a good job cutting a ballcarrier's legs. Shows good quickness as a punt returner, able to make first guy miss.
CONS: Will give up too much cushion in coverage, and not very good when he's asked to play in press coverage. Has some troubel turning and running with receivers and not great defending the deep ball because of it. Lacks size and it shows particularly in run support. Will take some poor angles to the ball and can be tentative at times there.
OVERVIEW: A very good zone corner that doesn't have ideal speed or size, although he times worse than he plays. He's a good ball hawk that always manages to make plays and break up passes. Had a big junior year with 4 picks and 18 pass breakups. Fell to 1 pick and 10 breakups as a senior as teams challenged him less. As a junior, averaged 12.3 yards per punt return and scored a touchdown. For his career had 7 picks and 40 pass breakups.
NFL FORECAST: Thompson is a playmaker, and despite his lacking size and less than ideal long speed, he is a guy that can make plays. I think he can be a good man coverage corner, but only in a scheme that plays a lot of Cover-2 to give him deep help. But he's one of the better zone corners in terms of his awareness I've seen in the past few years. In the right scheme, he can be a very productive starter. And that scheme again is one that plays a lot of zone coverage, and when it does use man, it'll give him a lot of help over the top from the safeties. I think in terms of a more man-heavy scheme, he has the athletic ability and hips to contribute, but probably more as a No. 3 guy that a starter because of he won't be a lock-down guy because of some of the problems he'll have with matchups. But a player with his quickness and ball skills should be able to succeed in the NFL regardless of the scheme.
ATL FORECAST: Thompson could definitely help the Falcons depth, and I think could do well enough in our scheme to become a capable No. 2 corner. But he's probably a better fit as a nickel guy and playing on a comparable level to Brent Grimes. He's not as tough and physical as Grimes, particularly when it comes to defending the run, but I like his ball skills a bit better than Grimes and he too can be a guy that can make big plays and break up a lot of passes despite not being the greatest of matchups.
VALUE: For a zone-heavy team, he's a solid second round pick that I would take in the Top 50. But for a team that is more man-oriented, he is more in line with nickel talent so I'd probably hold off until the fourth round.

1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

SPEED: 3.5
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Re: Syd'Quan Thompson, CB, California

Postby Mr. Offseason » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:43 am

Pros: Good speed and better quickness for the position. Has a good burst to close on the ball and has good ball skills to locate the ball and deflect the pass or to come away with an interception. Does a good job of reading the QB’s eyes in zone and breaking on the ball when his receiver makes a break or when the ball is thrown. He can support the run and does a good job of taking out the ball-carriers legs or going low to wrap up larger players. Is willing to go to the ground to take out a blocker to allow his teammates to make a play. Is good at avoiding blockers and bursting past them to support the run or to attack a screen.

Cons: Is very undersized at only 5’9” and about 190 pounds. He struggles to shed blockers to make plays versus the run and will miss tackles when he doesn’t break down with good fundamentals, and slides off bigger ballcarriers when he does this. He has good ball skills to locate the ball, but only has 7 career interceptions. He consistently gets pass deflections, but he won’t be good for more than 2-3 interceptions a year in the NFL in my opinion. Doesn’t have elite timed speed for the position to compensate for his lack of height, and will struggle against bigger, more physical receivers despite his leaping ability just because of his size disadvantage.

Overall: Syd’Quan has gotten docked a lot because of his size and rightfully so, he doesn’t have ideal size. But guys like him who have been consistently good for most of their career (he started for 3 years at California) can’t just be discounted because of a lack of ideal size and speed. Syd’Quan doesn’t project well to a man-coverage scheme, but for the teams that still run Cover-2 frequently he would be a terrific fit. He reads plays well, is great in zone and supports the run well when he can avoid blockers and make a play in space. He won’t ever get a lot of interceptions, but he can be reliable starter in a Cover-2 defense and make a career out of pass deflections, a few interceptions a year and supporting the run as well he can from the position. If he can clean up his tackling a bit and work on getting off blocks he could develop into quite the run defender.

Projection: 4th or 5th round: Guys with his size that don’t run blazing fast 40’s don’t get drafted too early, but they can be good values for teams that have schemes they would fit well in. Syd’Quan would fit well in a Cover-2 scheme, so in the 4th round teams that run that should start looking him up. The Vikings, Colts and Bears should be interested in him in this range. I would love to see him end up on the Vikings so Antoine Winfield, a fellow undersized corner, could coach him up and perhaps develop him into a stud tackler like Winfield has developed into. I see some Antoine Winfield in Thompson’s play, and having him as a mentor would be ideal for him.

1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

SPEED: 3.0
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