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Taylor Thompson

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by xwalker, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    What's the deal with this guy? Is he going to be a DE or TE?

    His measureables are impressive: 6-6, 260, 4.57 forty, 37 vert
  2. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    He's been worked out at both positions by various teams. He played DE at SMU, but was a TE in high school. He was likely going to be a late round prospect, at best, at DE, but I've seen him as high as the 5th ranked TE prospect with a mid-round grade on him. He's a very good athlete and one of those guys who gets labeled a "good football player" regardless of his position.

    My guess is that teams that are interested in him are going to have a specific role in mind if they pick him, and it will be different for different teams. Most of them are trying to find another one of those playmaking TEs that seem to come out of nowhere each year.

    I personally think it would be interesting to see him rush the passer as an OLB. He certainly has the measurables. I think most teams are thinking TE at this point, however, so he'll likely be a mid-round pick.
  3. Eskimo

    Eskimo Well-Known Member

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    It's hard to understand how he can be that high of a pick at a position which no one has seen him play for a very long time.

    I can't imagine rolling the dice on him before the 6th round. He is a good athlete but not that good.

    Heck, Teddy Williams also played WR in high school before giving it up to play track and he's a much better athlete than this kid could ever dream of being. He ran a 9.90 100 m dash. He would be the fastest football player in the history of football at any level if he were to make the team and yet he has spent two seasons on the PS and is close to being cut.
  4. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    The difference is that Teddy gave up football and was a track athlete. While that's an elite level athlete, it's not the same as a guy who is a better than average athlete who is also a good football player--which Teddy has proven thus far he isn't.

    When Thompson came out of high school, he was the 34th best TE prospect in the nation, if I recall correctly, so it's not like he wasn't playing it well back then. SMU just saw his natural athletic AND football ability and decided to try him at a different position. Who knows...they may have done him a huge disservice by not allowing him to continue as a TE.

    But I will say this: if he's not gone by the end of the fourth round, I'll be surprised. The TE crop is thin this year, and a guy that teams think can possibly develop into the next great TE is going to get someone to reach higher than he should really go because of it.
  5. Eskimo

    Eskimo Well-Known Member

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    The problem I have is that you have to have a feel for the passing game to be a receiving TE. You get knocked around, you have to find the soft spots in zones, you have to be able to take a hit and hold onto the ball.

    Sure he is big and tall and can run and jump but can he play TE at a high level?

    I really think it is much easier to take raw athletic ability and convert it to defense than it is convert it into offense. If he can't use that athletic ability to be a good OLB/DE then I doubt he can use it to be a great TE now either.
  6. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    Aye, you may be right. There may well be a reason that the SMU staff decided to convert him to DE right off the bat. But the reports I'm hearing from his workouts are that he is surprising teams with how fluidly he is getting in and out of his routes, and has shown good hands. That's not the same as doing it in traffic on gameday, of course...but it does carry weight with the scouts who are going to be informing their front office folks.

    Here's what Gil Brandt had to say about his pro day workout:

    "Thompson had an outstanding workout. He caught the ball really well, moves really well, and probably went from an undrafted free agent to a bottom-third-, top-fourth-round type of guy. He’s just a really good athlete who projects in my top 100."
  7. RS12

    RS12 Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to see him in the 4th-5th area, and see where he fits best.
  8. Eskimo

    Eskimo Well-Known Member

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    I don't know either.

    I'm just tired of us taking projects in the 4th round who turn out to be nothing.

    When we took football players with a position we've done well. Free was a definite OT, Barber was a RB, Canty was a 5-tech DE who could also play DT.

    Look at our recent failures:

    Skyler Green: small PR without speed

    Stanbeck: College QB we tried to convert to WR

    AOA: Small college CB who didn't have the hips to play CB nor the toughness or instincts to play Safety

    Arkin: ? the next bust as a very small school OT we tried to convert to OG

    Maybe we should just stick to getting football players from major colleges who might have the odd wart instead of drafting projects. Projects includes players from very small schools and players who we are trying to get to switch positions.
  9. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    This is true. But don't forget that a certain QB came in undrafted from Eastern Illinois and a certain WR from Monmouth.

    You don't think any team in the league would trade a 4th-round pick for either of them right now?

    Can't just look at the failures, although there seem to be a lot of them recently. And it could be pointed out that they were undrafted guys, so no investment of a pick there. But I get the general idea.

    I think the difference in Thompson's case is that it's not some small school gem that the Cowboys think they've uncovered that no one else knows about...he's a guy that is garnering a significant amount of interest around the league. So even if you don't trust the Cowboys' braintrust, there are a lot of other groups equally enamored.
  10. Eskimo

    Eskimo Well-Known Member

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    The Pats also wanted Stanbeck.

    I know there were other teams interested in AOA as well as Arkin. They went about where most of the pundits thought they would go so none we reaches per se using that metric.

    I just meant to say that I'd prefer we wait for these types of reaches until the 5th round. There are still often good players who went to major colleges who are available in the 4th round who will be good players in the NFL. We got Cantry from Virgina, Barber from Minnesota, Ratliff from Auburn, for example. These guys have played against tough competition and have had their development occur under the tutelage of great coaching. Before we go reaching for that smaller school player or a player who will have to switch positions we should check to see if a good non-project player is available to us.
  11. Wulfman

    Wulfman Unofficial GM

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    Trust me, that would be my preference as well. I think the idea, though, is that because you're projecting a smaller school prospect onto a bigger stage, no one really knows if they can make a successful transition. However, because other teams are likewise interested, you're going to have to pull the trigger a little earlier than you might like in order to find out. I'd rather some other teams take those risks while we take some safer picks, as you said. Of course, we've taken some guys from bigger schools who did well against a higher level of competition and still bombed out in those middle rounds as well, so it's all going to be a little bit of a crap shoot. Just may get better odds with a big-school guy.
  12. BAT

    BAT Mr. Fixit

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    I would not call SMU a small school. They are not a powerhouse, but still play against D1 talent.

    I liken Thompson to a bigger, faster, more athletic Mike Vrabel (2 way player). Vrabel is someone that Rob Ryan is very familiar with since he coached him when he was the LB Coach with the Pats.

    Thompson is very similar to a forum favorite Jake Bequette. Both are hard working, tenacious DEs who also played TE in high school. Both project to multiple positions in the pros. The difference is that Thompson is more fluid and explosive, while Bequette is more powerful.

    Thompson would either be a 3-4 OLB or pass catching TE, while Bequette would be more successful adding 15 lbs and playing 3-4 DE or as a blocking/all round TE.
  13. Eskimo

    Eskimo Well-Known Member

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    FWIW, I like Bequette in this draft in the late 4th or 5th round. I like his size, arm length, strength, agility and motor. He needs a year in the weight room to become a 5-tech but I think that is where his future is in the NFL.

    This other kid I worry about. If he really is this big kid who runs a 4.55 with great explosion - why can't he be a pass rushing OLB? Why does he need to change from a position that can make better use of his athleticism to a position which is more dependent upon skill and finesse? I suppose it is possible his coaches make a mistake and he is a natural TE but I worry how far behind he is in his development because of this. I wouldn't consider him before the 6th round as he gets docked for not playing at a major football powerhouse division and gets docked for the position switch.
  14. BAT

    BAT Mr. Fixit

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    I like Bequette too, he was in some of my very first mocks. But he is more straightline-ish and stiff. I love his intangibles though and think he would make a great 5 technique as well. I think he would be especially effective in a Wade 1 gapping front.

    But I like Thompson too. Not nearly as much as Irvin or some other pass rushers, but think TnT could be a diamond in the rough. These are exactly the kind of players Jimmy loved too - tough, big and fast. Thompson would have been converted into a strongside end (a la Tony Tolbert) and he would have bulked up Bequette and moved him inside (e.g. Chad Henning).
  15. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    Interesting that you mention Bequette. While watching him, I had the thought that he looked like a tight end. He has sort of a long stride or something that looks more suited to TE than OLB.
  16. Eskimo

    Eskimo Well-Known Member

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    Or what about DE instead of OLB.

    FWIW, he had pretty good agility numbers at the Combine - OLB type agility numbers. He'll be more than adequate at DE.
  17. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it DE seems more likely for him than OLB. He'll have to bulk up quite a bit if it is 3-4 DE.

    His agility numbers were excellent, but he does not look very agile in game footage.

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