2022 NFL Draft Profile: Utah State WR Deven Thompkins
The Aggies’ pass-catching dynamo has a unique profile among this year’s prospective NFL receivers.
A big play waiting to happen.
Not even the most optimistic Utah State fan could’ve seen Deven Thompkins coming last year.
Thompkins had already played for the Aggies for three seasons before electing to head to the transfer portal back in November 2020, at the very end of a very trying year for the program. After the arrival of new head coach Blake Anderson, however, the Fort Myers, Florida native changed his mind and that proved to be a wise decision: In 2021, Thompkins lit up the Mountain West with 102 catches for 1,704 yards and ten touchdowns, a revitalized weapon in a revitalized offense that would claim a conference championship.
After blowing up into one of college football’s best pass catchers, how much respect will he get from war rooms across the NFL and will he hear his name called at this year’s NFL Draft?
Measurables (taken from Dane Brugler)
Height – 5′ and 6 7/8″
Weight – 167 pounds
40-yard time – 4.42 seconds
10-yard split time – 1.53 seconds
Arm length – 28 3/4″
Hand size – 8 3/4″
Wingspan – 70 1/8″
Vertical jump – 38 1/2″
Broad jump – 11′ (or 132″)
Shuttle time – 4.18 seconds
3-cone drill time – 6.98 seconds
Bench press – 9 reps
Make no mistake about it, Thompkins is a fearless competitor with serious athleticism in his frame: His vertical is comparable to that of North Dakota State’s Christian Watson, a NFL Combine darling, while his 10-yard split is in the same neighborhood as that of fellow speedsters Velus Jones Jr. and Tyquan Thornton (his 40-yard time was reportedly clocked as low as 4.35, as well).
That low center of gravity and strong initial burst off the line of scrimmage served him well as a deep threat in 2021. According to Pro Football Focus, Thompkins led the country in deep receptions and yardage off of those catches. He’s also agile enough to create in space off of screens and crossing patterns, as well.
LOOK AT THAT MAN GO!
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) September 11, 2021
If the measurements didn’t state the obvious, Thompkins is perhaps the small pass-catching prospect in this year’s NFL Draft class, which means there will be obvious challenges to the role he might play in a pro offense and in how he can be effective in that role. The lack of size may keep him from playing much as an outside receiver, though the vast majority of his snaps played in 2021 (844 in all) came out of the slot, anyway. It will also means winning snaps early against defensive backs all but guaranteed to be more physical.
It may also mean that he’ll need to take on other roles more often than he did last year at Utah State, like kick returns (16 in four seasons) and having a hand in gadget plays (15 career rushing attempts). When things break his way, he’ll also need to ensure more consistent use of his hands down the field to bring in deep shots, a tendency of which NFL Draft Buzz noted.
It seems crazy to think that Thompkins could go undrafted given that smaller receivers with an obvious fifth gear are more likely than ever to find their way onto the field. I do think he’ll get selected, though it may not be until the sixth or seventh round on Day Three.