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
MAN COVERAGE: 2.5
ZONE COVERAGE: 4.5
BALL SKILLS: 4.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.