Every year the NFL finalizes its list of Combine invites and every year there are some baffling prospects left out. In my humble opinion, that’s the case with Utah State running back Darwin Thompson.
I had an interesting experience with Thompson while doing film work for another prospect. During my initial evaluation of Utah State tight end Dax Raymond this 5’8”, 200-pound (school listing) running back kept scoring. I’m not talking about vulture scores either, we’re talking big play after big play. In all, he totaled 255 yards from scrimmage and 3 total touchdowns against San Jose State.
I looked him up and found out who he was. Within minutes I also discovered he was not invited to the NFL Combine. A likely cause of that is his single year of FBS production, which totaled 1,395 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was a JUCO transfer and lit up the box score when he got the chance in 2018.
Watching Dax Raymond & I see this dude torching so I look 'em up.. turns out it's Darwin Thompson, who declared for the draft.— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) February 4, 2019
- JUCO transfer (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M)
- 1-year FBS production (16 TDs, 1,395 scrimmage yards)
- Second-Team All-Mountain West selection pic.twitter.com/swJKwRjidx
What makes his Combine snub disappointing is that there’s serious buzz about the numbers he can put up. I’ve seen reports that he’s hit 40-inches in the vertical jump, which points to his short area explosiveness. He works hard in the weight room too and made it onto Bruce Feldman’s “Freak List”. His exclusion is a bummer because I want to see if his athleticism, in terms of burst and long speed, against lower level competition was just a mirage.
Before you see his size (which needs to be confirmed) and throw out some names, let me stop you. He’s not Darren Sproles. He’s not Tarik Cohen. I don’t think he’s Donnel Pumphrey either. He might be more like Tyler Ervin, a fourth round selection who stuck around as a returner for the Houston Texans for a few years. Maybe he’s not any of them. Maybe he’s just Darwin Thompson. What that means is still to be determined, but I’m interested in finding out.
Darwin Thompson is such a blast. Contact balance for a RB that small is wild pic.twitter.com/gIuFhRmqdt— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 11, 2019
I have a fifth round grade on Thompson after going through his film. I believe that film grade matches the area in which he’ll be selected in the NFL Draft. There are concerns but there’s a lot to like about his game. His small frame is built to make life difficult for tacklers and he breaks a plethora of tackles. He’s also a threat in the receiving game, where he’s a threat to take screens to the house. The Philadelphia Eagles would be wise to do their due diligence on him.