Thoughts on Shaq Thompson & tape vs Illinois

The Huskies have several prospective NFL players. Only one, in my opinion, is likely to go in the first round next year. It’s too early to say that with any certainty, but Thompson is the one who ticks pretty much every box as a likely high pick.

He’s athletic, having moved from the defensive backfield to linebacker. He has ideal size to act as a roaming linebacker — not too heavy, but certainly not as light as Ryan Shazier (who went in the mid-first in 2014). He’s a good tackler, he’s a potential playmaker. He’s a former 5-star recruit. You sense his best football is yet to come.

Speaking of Shazier, personally I don’t think the two are overly similar. While Thompson is an excellent athlete, Shazier is a freak of nature. He was the heart and soul of a competitive Ohio State defense. He was a big time character guy and leader. Without a doubt he was one of the top players in the 2014 draft and one of the best defensive prospects to enter the league over the last few years. Shazier was totally underrated.

Thompson will struggle to live up to that standard. It doesn’t mean he can’t go as early, but there’ll be no shame if he’s not quite as good. He’s perhaps more likely to go in the 20-32 range if he does go in the first frame. That’s still no mean feat.

It’ll be interesting to see if any teams consider moving him back to safety and asking him to drop a few pounds. You can’t rule it out. He could easily revert to strong safety.

He’s a terrific player with a lot of potential. Speed is an increasingly valuable commodity on defense as the Seahawks are showing. Thompson is entering the league at an ideal time to max out his draft potential.


  1. Forrest

    I really like Shaq, I thinks he goes early 2nd round! I was wondering what your thoughts are on Hau’oli Kikaha. He’s been my favorite player to watch for the Huskies so far this season, he’s looked really beast early this season imo.

  2. Jimmy

    I agree, when I watch Shaq’s film he doesn’t seem to tilt the field like the best players do. He’s a great player and has a lot of skills that the NFL covets right now but he’s not necessarily a dominant force.

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