Washington’s Shaq Thompson recently went through his school’s Pro Day and put together an NFL Draft Diary entry for USA Today. In the article he mentions that he has a workout set up with the Carolina Panthers. Thompson is expected to be a first round pick and is likely to be on the board when the Panthers are on the clock.
Thompson is an interesting prospect particularly because of his versatility, playing a number of positions in college on both sides of the ball. He won the 2014 Paul Hornung Award, given to the nation’s most versatile player for his play at linebacker and safety as well as running back.
Even though he averaged 7.5 yards per carry his junior season, Thompson has made it clear that he does not want to play running back in the NFL. In the article he mentions that some teams view him as a strong safety, similar to Seattle Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor while other teams view him as a weakside linebacker.
The Carolina Panthers would certainly make a lot of sense for a player like Thompson and it certainly would not be a surprise if the team took him. They are in the market for both a strong safety as well as a weakside linebacker and he would be an instant upgrade at either position.
If the Panthers want Thompson to play weakside linebacker, the team already has a player on the roster who would be an excellent mentor for the young player. Strongside linebacker Thomas Davis played safety at the University of Georgia but moved to outside linebacker when he was drafted by the Panthers.
Thompson has said "my heart is still at linebacker" and if that is the case there may not be a better situation for him than playing alongside Davis and Luke Kuechly in Carolina.