Few were not surprised when the Carolina Panthers picked Shaq Thompson at #25 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. Most of the guys people wanted or projected were gone by the Panthers pick. Todd Gurley shockingly went to the Rams, Andrus Peat went to the rival Saints, and hometown favorite DJ Humphries went one pick before to the Arizona Cardinals. As the Panthers pick came up, few thought that out of who was left it would be a “tweener” linebacker out of the University of Washington. A linebacker who is the size of a safety when the Panthers were in desperate need of a left tackle and a wide receiver?
Most of the shock came not from the player Carolina selected, but perhaps our familiarity with him. He’s a West Coast player, who played on a stacked defense, that Carolina fans just hadn’t seen much of. C3 set out to find out who the Panthers got in Shaq Thompson. Sure, the Draftniks went straight to Youtube and boned up his tape. Yea, Charlotte media piggy backed on the murmurs of the national media, but we wanted to get a deeper perspective of the player that Dave Gettleman showed a surprising amount of faith in, enough to reach by most accounts.
We reached out to Greg Bell, Seattle Seahawks beat writer and Director of Writing for the University of Washington, to get an inside perspective on Shaq Thompson. You’ll like what he has to say. This was a tremendous interview, one that will excite you as a fan and turn you onto some of the things that Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera saw that warranted a 1st Round Pick.
After an interview like this, you'll want to follow Greg Bell on Twitter @GBellSeattle
“A lot of NFL teams didn’t know what to do with him…Carolina did…I applaud their vision”
“He was going to be a safety when he first got to the University of Washington.” “What the Huskies wanted was Thompson’s athleticism to be closer to the line.”
“His speed, his ability to cover anyone...I saw him covering wide receivers.”
“In the NFL it will be a test of strength for him. They’ll put tight ends on him. If he’s anywhere close to the line of scrimmage they will try to get bigger guys on him.”
“You’re going to find a guy who’s always around the ball. He knows where to run, and he’s athletic enough to shed blockers.”
“Shaq promised his mom he would always graduate. He’s an A student.”
“Full season in Low Class-A with the Boston Red Sox organization playing outfield….The reason he gave that up is that he went 1-39 with 36 strikeouts if I remember correctly.”
“I’d be surprised if you weren’t very happy with Shaq Thompson.”