At the NFL Scout Combine, Thompson didn’t run the 40-yard dash or the 3-cone drill, hampered by a right ankle injury that hampered him all season – at one point leaving him unable to do a calf raise.
It’s still not 100 percent, even now, but just being about to work out brought Thompson a level of enjoyment.
“Doing all this is fun, being able to run again and all that stuff,” he said. “It’s fun to be able to move again.”
His numbers weren’t great, but his ankle, which suffered no structural damage, still isn’t 100 percent. He ran a 5.39 in the 40 and a 8.02 in the 3- cone drill.
Thompson didn’t participate in the bench press, despite feeling a little cheated after the NFL combine when he was given credit for only 29 repetitions. He joked Wednesday that he thought he deserved 30 reps.
“I feel like it could have been better,” said Thompson, who joked that he improved from the combine because he actually got to run. “I need to be better in everything. It felt good to actually be able to run again. I have to be grateful for what I can do at this point and just continue to get stronger.”
Thompson also worked out in position-specific deals, alongside good friend Daryl Williams, who is also the godfather of his two children. Williams, who also compete at the NFL Scouting Combine, echoed Thompson’s sentiment of improving at home in Norman.
“I just wanted to polish up my O-Line drills, my agility and footwork and stuff like that,” said Williams, who thought the best part of his day was the position drills.
Before the scouting combine, Thompson went to Arizona to train. His family followed him there, and Thompson found a love of the area, saying that he might want to live there – something that might be benefitted by being draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
When he’s going to be drafted is still widely unknown, even by Thompson himself, who said that scouts who are speaking with him are very secretive. Thompson, on the other hand, has been very honest. He told scouts how much he’s learned from coach Bill Bedenbaugh, acknowledging that he didn’t even know what a 4-3 under defense was before Bedenbaugh arrived in Oklahoma.
“There’s always new stuff to learn,” Thompson said. “. . . How to understand a defense and knowing what to expect: Being with NFL guys, teaching you more things on top of that. It’s always exciting to learn.”
Learn and improve: That’s what Thompson’s day was about Wednesday. He also spent two hours just trying to beat himself, showing the more than two dozen NFL scouts in attendance that he was the better of his even slightly younger self.
“You’re competing with yourself in reality,” Thompson said. “I know there are other guys around. In reality, you’re competing with yourself, trying to beat your best time. It’s all internal. It’s all about what you’re going to put out on the field.”