Is he a linebacker or a safety? Shaq Thompson can probably play as both. Is he effective? You bet he is. He's frequently mentioned as a top 20 prospect as he worked as a Washington Huskie. Is he really that good, though?
Let's take a look at what make up the strengths and weaknesses of this versatile, versatile player as he finds his way through the draft process.
- Tremendous versatility. In fact, won Paul Hornung award for most versatile player in the nation (Odell Beckham won it last year). Played as safety, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, and running back.
- First class athleticism. Change of direction ability is at "freak" levels.
- Flashes great instincts and is always around the ball.
- Natural backpedaler and aggressive in coverage.
- Decisive player that flies like a missile
- Fundamental tackler.
- Can be a good blitzer.
- Narrow, slim frame that is concerning. Listed at 233 pounds in some places, but that's gratuitous.
- Will get lost in the wash easily.
- Slips past blocks instead of demonstrating stack and shed ability.
- Some concerns about not having enough production despite playing with two high level players in Kikaha and Shelton.
- Makes the occasional mistake in coverage.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Yes, and I think he's a WILL linebacker. I don't really want to see him at safety because I think his athleticism is dominant for the linebacker position, while merely "good" for the safety position. I think with the right teachers, he could develop into a cornerstone piece. He'll likely be introduced to the game at a slow pace, but I think by his second year, he'll be a very good player. We need as many of those as we can get.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 14
Mocking The Draft - 11
CBS Sports - 13
Draft Tek - 14
One of the more frustrating things about Shaq is the inconsistency from a play-to-play basis. There are plays where he makes a boneheaded mistake, and then there are plays where he's easily the best player on the field. Is a WILL linebacker worth a top 10 pick? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think he's a better player than Ryan Shazier was last year. Shazier had better production, but not the upside that Shaq Thompson has.