2019 NFL Draft Profile: Utah State RB Darwin Thompson
Thompson should hear his name on day two of the 2019 NFL Draft
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Thompson made the most of his one season in an Aggie uniform, producing program-record numbers despite splitting carries with backfield mate Gerold Bright. The former three-star recruit’s 16 total touchdowns ranked no. 14 in the country last year, tallying 1,044 yards on 153 carries (6.82 avg, 13th in the nation). Thompson’s 14 rushing touchdowns rank No. 6 in Utah State’s single-season record books.
Thompson’s start-stop speed and agility earned him a premier role in the nation’s 2nd-highest scoring offense in 2018. A total gym nut weighing in at 198 lbs and less than 5% body fat, Thompson’s bursts of acceleration and solid balance in both the running and passing games allow him some flexibility as a third-down back. His production as a focal point of the Aggies’ offense saw just one fumble all year.
At 5’8, Thompson’s size is a concern and there isn’t much room to add further bulk to his frame. He’s seen as more of a “grinder” than a dynamic runner with the homerun speed necessary to outpace the second level of NFL defenders. Scouts have also noted the inconsistency in his tempo and concern over just one year of FBS play (former Juco transfer).
Thompson will likely be undervalued do to his height, but teams looking for an agile playmaker on third downs should snag him before the typical run on serviceable backs. Factors within Thompson’s control indicate a smart, durable running back with the speed and pass-catching ability to warrant a mid-round draft grade.
Grade: Early 5th round
Logan’s ultra-specific prediction: Arizona adds to an already immense draft haul by picking Thompson in the 5th with pick 139.