Atlanta Falcons Potential Draft Pick: Washington LB Shaq Thompson


Jan 2, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Washington Huskies linebacker Shaq Thompson (7) against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2015 Cactus Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. Oklahoma State defeated Washington 30-22. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s clear after the 2014 season that the Atlanta Falcons need better personnel to rush the passer.  Raise your hand if you’ve heard this before.  Enter the first player that the Atlanta Falcons should look at Washington LB Shaq Thompson.  In a 3-4 defense, really 4-2-5 this year, it is assumed that the edge guys are speedy guys who can contain the run.  I’ll look more into defensive ends later this off season.  The other side of the coin is our linebackers need better talent to 1) get to the quarterback 2) cover linebackers 3) be a swivel on the ground.  Enter Shaq Thompson.  The last, potentially great linebacker taken from UoW was Mason Foster.  Here in the NFC South, we know a little bit of how devastating a three down LB can be.

So what can Shaq Thompson bring to the table?  He’s a more athletic and versatile LB then we have had since Keith Brooking days.  With all due respect to Sean Weatherspoon, Shaq Thompson is a freak of nature.  In 2014, he finished with 81 tackles, one interception, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and four defensive touchdowns which is the most by a defensive player in a decade according to ESPN. His biggest negative is his size more than anything.  6’3 230 LBs, he is considered a tweener.  Scouts in the NFL say if Thompson was a few inches taller and 25 pounds heavier than he would be in conversation for number one.

So is pick number 8 too high for Shaq Thompson?  Probably but, this off season could be huge for Thompson in terms of going up the ranks.  If the Atlanta Falcons wanted to really build this team. The idea of trading down has to be in consideration.  If Jameis Winston is sitting there at 8 and the idea of picking up an extra two to move down a few spots is there? Then Shaq Thompson should be in consideration to solidify our linebacker core.