Cedric Thompson is not one of those players who will wow you with his measurables, but like former Gopher safety Brock Vereen, Thompson will work harder than anyone and will give you 100% every time he steps on the field. Some of his most memorable plays are just feats of willpower, and he has the potential to show off that character on an NFL field next fall.
Height: 5' 11.5 "
Weight: 211 Lbs
40-yard Dash: 4.48 sec
Vertical Jump 40.5 "
Broad Jump: 10' 2"
20-yard shuttle: 4.28 sec
3-cone drill: 6.96 sec
Bench: 21 reps
The best source for any background information on Cedric Thompson is this great piece that Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune wrote on him in the Summer of 2013. Thanks to some great last minute work by Gopher secondary coach Jay Sawvel, Thompson became a Gopher instead of ending up at Portland State out of high school, and would soon be a defensive captain for the Gophers in 2014. Thompson came from the middle of nowhere to make himself into a player who will hopefully make an NFL roster in 2015.
Thompson had a great pro day and probably gained a lot more interest than he had 2 months ago. Thompson has that drive which makes him a workhorse. He was the Gopher's defensive captain in 2014 and had strong leadership skills. He can direct a defense if needed. Thompson is a good wrap-up tackler, but doesn't have an amazing closing burst to a player or the ball. He can occasionally be over anxious and get himself into the wrong spot at the wrong time. However, if he is in the right spot, he will make the play. This NFL.com scouting report does a nice job of breaking down his strengths and weaknesses:
Combination safety with above average athletic traits and size, but plays with below average instincts and isn't as trustworthy as teams will like on the back end. Thompson seems slow to see things on tape and uses his athleticism to make up for it. If he can be trained to recognize and react more quickly, he has a shot at making a roster.
Arguably, the best game of Thompson's Gopher career and his main audition tape for the NFL was his game against Purdue last October at TCF Bank Stadium. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after the game after recording two interceptions and several other key plays. Thompson's highight tape from that game is below:
Thompson has been getting mixed reviews from other NFL Draft analysts. ProFootballSpot.com sees Thompson with high potential, and can see him making an instant impact on special teams. They see him all the way up to a potential 5th round pick.
His athletic tools, high-effort motor, and desired physicality all show a potential starter if the big safety’s instincts can be developed. He’d be an interesting project as a cornerback, but his movement skills and length suggest the change may be a welcome one. In the meantime, Thompson shows the speed and tackling ability to be a special teams nightmare while he continues to improve on his technique and discipline at the safety position.
However, Brad Berreman of Rantsports.com disagrees. He thinks Thompson does not have the instincts to make at as a safety in the NFL, and was not impressed with his workout numbers at his pro day. He does see a possibility for him make an impact on special teams however.
Thompson’s ability to play deep in coverage and support against the run may allow him to find a place in the NFL, though he’ll probably have to find a way to stay around as a core player on special teams initially. If he is not drafted, I expect Thompson to get an opportunity somewhere as an undrafted free agent.
So what do we think will actually happen to Ced? It sounds like he could go anywhere from the 5th round to not be drafted at all. In some ways, being a UDFA is not the worst thing in the world as it allows you to pick your team and where you think you can have the best impact . Several teams are interested in Thompson for sure, and I could easily see one of these teams taking him late in the draft.
Thompson made an impression on Vikings coach Mike Zimmer during his pro day and with the Vikings needing safety help it would not be a shocker to see the Vikings draft Thompson. He also would be one of the first calls the Vikings would make for a UDFA if he squeaks all the way through. However, other teams have definitely shown major interest, especially the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants. Both are also in severe need of safety help. In fact, Thompson got an entire article on him in the Miami Sun-Sentinel, not exactly something you would expect from a late round potential pick.
My prediction? Thompson goes in the 7th round to the New York Giants, but we shall see.