2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Tariq Thompsonby Mason Thompson April 28, 2021 0 comments
The NFL is big on players that have versatility. The safety class has a lot of players that are in this mold. Overall, the class has varying opinions. Some say it’s deep in the middle rounds, while others don’t like it. One player not getting enough attention in this class is San Diego State’s, Tariq Thompson. He was a four-year starter at San Diego State and specialized in the Warrior position that SDSU employs. Thompson is a very versatile prospect that excels in his IQ and continuous turnover production.
He is also a great person. I had the chance to interview Thompson a few weeks ago and had a great time. He is a very genuine player, and it was a pleasure to interview him and hope this weekend goes well for him. You can watch the interview here.
Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports.
Name: Tariq Thompson
School: San Diego State
Weight: 200 lbs
Coverage Skills (7/10)
Thompson projects as a nickel cornerback at the next level and would do well in man coverage against receivers. Of course, he will be going against slot receivers, who could give him some trouble with his speed concerns.
Ball Skills (8.5/10)
Thompson had elite ball production. He finished his career with 23 pass deflections, 11 interceptions, and five forced fumbles. He has said he could’ve forced more fumbles and be a bit more physical as well, which is a bit scary considering how good he was in this regard.
Change of Direction (7.25/10)
It takes Thompson a bit to get back up to speed when he changes direction. With faster receivers coming into the NFL, he could have some issues going against shiftier players.
Thompson is solid with his fluidity. He put to rest some concerns in this regard at his pro day. Thompson can stick with receivers through their breaks in the route.
Run Support (6/10)
Thompson said in an interview that he wanted to be a bit more physical in the run game. It was something that he has been working on and that he will need at the next level. Thompson didn’t look horrible in this regard.
He is a consistent tackler. Again, Thompson could be a bit more physical, but this isn’t a big concern.
If there’s one part of Thompson’s game that hurts his projection, it’s his range. He doesn’t have game-changing speed, which doesn’t give him enough range on the back end to be a single-high safety at the next level.
Versatility is his best trait. He played the warrior position, which enrolled him playing many spots on the defense, whether that be at his usual free safety spot, in the slot, or the box. Thompson also projects to be a factor on special teams.
Football IQ (8.75/10)
Thompson has plenty of starting experience, with almost four years of starting at San Diego State. He would line up the rest of the defense and communicate throughout the defense.
Competitive Toughness (5/5)
Thompson is very physical at the catch point. He will fight for every catch and tries to force a fumble every time he approaches a ball carrier.
Thompson’s injury history appears to be clean.
Some sites don’t even have Thompson as a top 250 player in the class. That’s absurd. Thompson could very well start as a nickel cornerback from day one in the NFL. Teams will covet his experience, leadership, ball skills, and versatility at the next level. There is some room to grow in terms of some coverage elements and being more physical in the run game, but Thompson is more than ready for the opportunity to go to the NFL. After not being invited to the combine or Senior Bowl, he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, which has stayed with him since he had a quiet recruitment after high school. Thompson won a ton of awards at San Diego State, and while college awards mean nothing to the NFL, he was one of the best defensive backs in the country.
I appreciate Thompson for taking the time to do the interview a few weeks back and wish him the best of luck with his NFL career. Whichever team selects him will be getting a steal this weekend.
Final Grade (76.5/100): Early Fourth Round