Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
The Panthers war room has just been notified they are on the clock. Ron Rivera looks around in dismay as his obvious choices of Jaelen Strong, Melvin Gordon, and Lael Collins have all come off the board. The needs of the Panthers are simple this year: Get some big bodies to protect Cam Newton (who was sacked some 40+ times in 2014) and draft as many Offensive weapons as possible. Last year Kelvin Benjamin was taken in the 1st rd and showed promises of being a terrific NFL WR. Rivera's first thought is to draft a speedy, pure hand WR to compliment Benjamin and offer Cam additional passing options. Unfortunately most of the 1st rd WR talent has been plucked already. "Perhaps a RB?--he notions, Todd Gurley seems fully recovered and could be an excellent weapon for Newton." Rivera quickly dismisses that thought, as the only RB that would be a sensible pick in the 1st (Gordon) is now headed to Detroit.
What to do, what to do....Rivera scratches his head, looks at his OC Mike Shula who nervously begins shifting papers and rattling off names. The clock continues to tick down and time is running out. Shula rattles off name after name. "What about Ereck Flowers? That kid has a high ceiling and could help the OL! Or perhaps Ogbuehi!?.....Hell we can't go wrong with either of those guys."
Rivera pauses and thinks for a minute; both options seem logical and could pair well with Trai Thomas to shore up the OLine. However offensive lineman is deep this year and there are still good prospects on the board to be had in rd2. "Perhaps we should trade back and gain some more picks" he shouts. He glances at the clock; time continues to tick down, as he notices DC Sean McDermott in a corner with a devilish grin on his face. "The hell you smiling at? We're at our wits' end trying to figure who to pick!" McDermott rises to his feet, spits his Skoal tobacco spit into his empty Mountain Dew bottle and confidently says a name. "Shaq Thompson...that's right, Shaq ‘Mother-effin' Thompson! The kid can do it all--RB, LB, and hell even Safety"
The room goes silent as all 3 men exchange looks of shock and awe. Everyone had been thinking of ways to build the offense and help Cam. But what do you do when your top Offensive options are no longer on the board? You strengthen your greatest strength—The DEFENSE!
Shaq Thompson has been defined as a physical, versatile, freak of nature athlete that has played both LB positions, RB and Safety. He is projected as a SS in the NFL, drawing comparisons to Seattle's Kam Chancellor. Last year the safety position of the Panther's upper tier defense was led by veteran Roman Harper and rookie starter Tre Boston. Harper who showed signs of life towards the end of last season, has his better days behind him, and will likely be out of Carolina by 2016. Tre Boston is a young product out of UNC entering his 2nd season in the league. He has the ability to be serviceable when healthy and shows great potential. Shaq Thompson can be an immediate impact player in the secondary to give the Panthers a solid, fear inducing, hitter beyond the LB corp. Speaking of LB corp, Thompson's versatility could allow McDermott to switch up and package together undoubtedly the league's most potent LB trio of Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, and Shaq Thompson giving opposing OC's nightmares weekly.
Here are his measurements via Mockdraftable.
1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (slickpablovick) - Jameis Winston, QB, FSU - [Explanation]
2) Tennessee Titans (mchiodo) - Leonard Williams, DE, USC - [Explanation]
3) Jacksonville Jaguars ("Snax") - Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, UF - [Explanation]
4) Oakland Raiders (kylebruneault) - Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama - [Explanation]
5) Washington Redskins (BigTimeTMZ) - Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon - [Explanation]
6) New York Jets (4thand26) - Kevin White, WR, WVU - [Explanation]
7) Chicago Bears (rohan915) - Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson - [Explanation]
8) Atlanta Falcons (GMinTraining) - Danny Shelton, DT, Washington - [Explanation]
9) New York Giants (Grandpapa Joe) - Landon Collins, S, Alabama - [Explanation]
10) St. Louis Rams (deg0ey) - Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa - [Explanation]
11) Minnesota Vikings (ablesser88) - Trae Waynes, CB, MSU - [Explanation]
12) Cleveland Browns (djcunningham) - DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville - [Explanation]
13) New Orleans Saints (del.champion) - Shane Ray, DE, Mizzou - [Explanation]
14) Miami Dolphins (drc242) - Jalen Collins, CB, LSU - [Explanation]
15) San Francisco 49ers (SleepingDuck) - Randy Gregory, OLB, NU - [Explanation]
16) Houston Texans (JaviYL) - La'el Collins, OT, LSU - [Explanation]
17) San Diego Chargers (StoneColeKiller58) - Bud Dupree, OLB, UK - [Explanation]
18) Kansas City Chiefs (jimmyrustler) - Andrus Peat, OT, Standford - [Explanation]
19) Cleveland Browns (NowWhat?) - Malcom Brown, DT, Texas - [Explanation]
20) Philadelphia Eagles (sports00fan00) - Jaelen Strong, WR, ASU - [Explanation]
21) Cincinnati Bengals (Zach_The_Gamecock) - T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pitt - [Explanation]
22) Pittsburgh Steelers (KJ Brophy) - Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon - [Explanation]
23) Detroit Lions (KamiKazeJEDI) - Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin - [Explanation]
24) Arizona Cardinals (ItownBallers22) - Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA - [Explanation]
25) Carolina Panthers (AndyMcNabb) - Shaq Thompson, LB, UW - [Explanation]
26) Baltimore Ravens (dceagles) -
27) Dallas Cowboys (kamjam) -
28) Denver Broncos (WubbaLubbaDubDub) -
29) Indianapolis Colts (ei78) -
30) Green Bay Packers (Nka727) -
31) New Orleans Saints (SwoopThereItIs) -
32) New England Patriots (naderg43) -