When former Syracuse Orange defensive end Ron Thompson announced he was planning on bypassing his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft, the decision seemed questionable at best (he later revealed a major part of his decision was seeing former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer and his staff being let go).
While Thompson had a successful junior season, leading the team with seven sacks and four forced fumbles as well as recording 35 total tackles, including 9.5 for a loss, he wasn't considered a sure thing to be drafted, let alone in the early rounds.
Thompson then did himself no favors by posting poor results in a disappointing NFL Combine performance, including running the 40-yard dash in a disconcerting 4.92 seconds. Thompson the didn't fare much better at Syracuse's Pro Day, improving in the three-cone drill, but finishing with an even worse 40-yard dash time.
Will Thompson's disappointing workouts prevent him from hearing his name called? Only time will tell. Until then, lets break down his draft profile and see what we find.
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 253 pounds
Arm Length: 32 1/4"
Hands: 9 3/8"
40-Yard Dash: 4.92 seconds at NFL Combine; 4.95 and 4.98 at Pro Day
Bench Press: 18 reps at NFL Combine
Three-Cone Drill: 7.46 seconds at NFL Combine; 7.15 seconds at Pro Day
Broad Jump: 106.0" at Pro Day
20-Yard Shuffle: 4.50 seconds at NFL Combine
*Thompson did not participate in the vertical jump and 60-yard dash.
6-7, according to CBS
Both Thompson's measurements and workouts results definitely hurt him. At 6'3" 253 pounds, Thompson is severely undersized to play defensive end. In fact, that's the main reason why many scouts envision Thompson will be forced to switch to linebacker.
However, while his size is ideal for a NFL linebacker, his speed is not. Thompson's 4.92-second 40-yard dash ranks as the third-slowest time out of all linebackers who participated in the drill, ahead of only Auburn's Kris Frost and Utah's Gionni Paul. Both Frost and Paul are projected to go undrafted, according to CBS Sports.
While Thompson may be heading into the NFL Draft without a position, ironically this is nothing new for the former Syracuse pass rusher. In high school Thompson played primarily on the offensive side of the ball as a tight end. In fact, while many have most likely forgotten, Thompson was a four star tight end coming out of high school and was originally recruited to Syracuse as such.
Instead, after redshirting his freshman season, Thompson switched positions to defensive end. Then defensive tackle. And then back to defensive end. While this may have hurt his development as a defensive end, which ended up being his "main" position, it forced Thompson to adapt and become more versatile, a trait that most late-round and undrafted players need when attempting to survive end of Training Camp roster cuts and make the final 53-man roster.
Thompson's footwork, lateral quickness and spin move have also been praised. In addition, scouts consider Thompson intelligent and always aware while on the football field. Lastly, Thompson is considered to be the type of player who simply has a "knack" for causing big plays, evident by his team-leading four forced fumbles last season.
The NFL Draft takes place April 28-30 with round one Thursday April 28, beginning at 8 p.m. EST, rounds two-to-three Friday April 29, beginning at 7 p.m. EST and rounds four-through-seven Saturday April 30, starting at noon EST.