Pros: Has very good track speed with good burst and acceleration. Changes directions well. Has pretty good hands and is dangerous in the open field. Has a nice spin move which is the only way he can break tackles due to lack of size. Is a dangerous kickoff returner.
Cons: Lacks size and shies away from contact. Legs go dead upon contact and not going to power through tackles. Will try to run away from defenders. Offensively, he's mostly limited to screens and reverses. Lacking in pass protection.
Overview: He's primarily a kickoff returner, rather than a running back. But they make sure to try and get the ball in his hands because he's a dangerous player. Best season came as a senior with 631 yards and 7 touchdowns. Also caught 84 passes during his career, and averaged 24.8 yards per return on 81 kickoffs. Had 3 scores, all of which came when he led the nation in 2006. Ran a 10.67 in the 100m in 2004.
NFL Forecast: Thigpen will primarily be a kickoff returner at the next level with only limited opportunities on offense. Frankly, you have a better chance of trying to convert him to wide receiver than keeping him at running back. He's just too small and plays too soft to be a factor in the pros there consistently. He's a player that you use on offense sparingly, mostly on reverses and screens. But if you want to develop his offensive potential, your best bet is to try and line him up in the slot. But more than likely, he's never going to amount to much offensively. Instead, he can be a top kickoff returner with the potential to take it the distance every down.
ATL Forecast: Thigpen would be a good addition for the Falcons if they are looking to replace Norwood on kickoffs. Otherwise, he's not going to do much in Atlanta because he's not going to add anything to the offense really. In Atlanta, he'd have to be purely a kickoff return specialists, as he will in most NFL cities. He is a better option than Norwood there, but not by a huge degree.
Value: A team that needs help on special teams would make Thigpen worth as a high as a late fifth round pick. But ideally you could nab him in the sixth or seventh round.
Scouting Reports of running backs and fullbacks in the 2009 draft.
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