In 28 starting assignments, Tyrus Thompson lined up with the first unit in each of his final 26 contests at left tackle. His first starting assignments came as a sophomore, when he filled in for an injured Lane Johnson (Philadelphia Eagles) for two games and then took over for an injured Daryl Williams on the right side for the final three appearances in 2012.
Even though the offense struggled a bit due to injuries in the backfield, Thompson made 17 touchdown-resulting blocks and 66 knockdowns during the 2014 season. He joined Williams in forming one of the top tackle tandems in the major college ranks, as they were hailed as the best bookends in the Big Twelve Conference, as Oklahoma allowed the fewest sacks in the nation (nine) in 2014.
The senior carries on the Sooners tradition of producing cat-quick left tackles, a requirement for protecting the quarterback’s blind side. While Williams is more of a finesse-type, Thompson is a power-oriented blocker who has developed an aggressive nature. He is very smooth and sudden coming out of his stance and has above average lateral range. He maintains balance on the move and is very fluid when having to redirect and recover working in-line.
Thompson has the large frame, long arms and solid foot speed that scouts look for in a zone blocking scheme. He comes off the snap with good initial explosion, but needs to display it with better consistency. Pass protection is one of his better assets, as he is a natural knee bender who gets out front quickly on outside sweeps and screens. He shows very good balance in his kick slide and gets into the second level quickly.
The left tackle has a good concept for angle technique and does a nice job of cutting off linebackers when he is quick to locate them working and climbing into the second level (made seven touchdown-resulting blocks on linebackers in 2014). He is light on his feet working down the line, with good redirection agility, especially when sliding laterally.
The senior does a very good job of sinking his hips to mirror vs. edge rushers, demonstrating the raw power to neutralize, rarely ever settling more for stalemates. He has a smooth burst off the line, but is a quiet sort that goes about his job and you would like to see a more aggressive attitude. The thing you notice on film is his body control and hip snap on the move. Even with his big body, he is very capable of keeping his feet and maintaining balance to kick and slide to movement.
When he keeps his hands inside the frame, he is effective generating good pop on the rise. He shows the knee bend and range to work into the second level and uses his strength well when leveraging with his flexibility and long arms. When gliding into the second level, he shows good ease of movement and developing cut ability to neutralize the linebacker.
Thompson is quick out of his stance, and is quick to shuffle his feet and stay active in his pass set. It is rare to see him get up on his heels, as he is consistent staying down in his pads, as he does a much better job of kicking, sliding and adjusting to movement. He has the natural knee bend and strong base to neutralize a powerful bull rush.
On the move, he has improved his angle technique, as he slides his base and his size has proven too hard for a smaller pass rusher to get around. He is becoming more comfortable in taking good sets and has made strides in flashing a decent punch. He has the foot speed to get out on an edge rusher, as he does a nice job of setting his base and dropping his weight, where he does a better job of using his hands to create separation and control.
Tyrus Thompson NFL Scouting Combine measurable
34 7/8-inch arm length
10 1/4-inch hands
29-inch vertical jump
97-inch broad jump
4.92 20 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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