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Eagles Rookie Profile: Six things to know about DeAndre Thompkins

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Get to know one of Philadelphia’s UDFA signings.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Penn State v Washington Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles signed Penn State wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins as an undrafted free agent following the 2019 NFL Draft.

The odds are stacked against Thompkins making the final roster but he’s a player to watch this summer. After all, the Eagles reportedly gave him the third highest amount of guaranteed money out of all their UDFA signings. Philly also has an opening at punt returner that Thompkins could fill.

In order to learn more about Thompkins, I reached out to SB Nation’s Penn State blog: Black Shoe Diaries. Nittany Lions writer Jared Slanina was kind enough to answer my questions.

1) Can you sum up what his college career was like?

Thompkins became Penn State’s punt returner as a freshman, but ultimately lost his job after a few mishandled catches. he was able to fix that issue, and would go on to become an electrifying return man later in his career. By his sophomore season, he was seeing plenty of time at receiver where he was became known for his big-play potential as a deep threat. His numbers were solid but not eye-popping as there were only so many passes to go around for him and several other pass catchers who are now in the NFL, including Chris Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton and Mike Gesicki. The 2018 season was supposed to be the year where Thompkins became a primary weapon in the Penn State offense, but it just didn’t quite work out. Thompkins had the opportunities, but was plagued by a bad case of “the drops” that he just wasn’t able to work through throughout his senior year.

2) What are his strengths?

Thompkins has all the physical tools you would want in a receiver who is a smidge under 6’0’’. He’s explosive, an excellent route-runner and knows how to get open. He also was a dangerous punt returner with outstanding explosiveness and vision. It was very common for him to pick up 10-15 yards with no room to run, and when he had some space, he could make one cute and be gone.

3) What are his weaknesses?

If Thompkins was able to hang on to the ball, there’s no doubt he would have been drafted. He’s an outstanding athlete can also provide value as a returner. He just dropped too many balls his senior year. It’s not so much that he has poor hands- he’s proved otherwise earlier in his career. It seemed to be a case of the yips he just couldn’t overcome. He dropped a couple passes right off the bat and couldn’t get out of his own head. Fortunately, it’s a fixable problem, and if he is able to overcome it, could end up sticking around the NFL for a while as he has a broad skillset.

4) Are you surprised he went undrafted?

No. There were too many drops last season for any NFL team to feel comfortable using a draft pick on him, despite his upside.

5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?

Not to sound like a broken record, but it will come down to his hands. If he continues to drop passes on a regular basis, he won’t make the first round of cuts. If he can fix it, I could see him making the roster and even becoming an explosive return man in the NFL.

6) Anything to know about him off the field?

He’s an easy guy to cheer for. Known as a hard worker and excellent teammate who would do anything he can to help the younger guys in his position group.


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