Darwin Thompson

Darwin Thompson

Scouting Report done by Mark Jarvis. See all his work at What’s on Draft. Support his work on Patreon.  See the full report here.

Comps – Low/Medium/High

I’Tavius Mathers (Low) – Duke Johnson (Medium) – Christian McCaffrey (High)

Ability to Create Yardage

Limited recovery ability once he loses his footing. Agility isn’t outstanding, but he can make most cuts work. Prefers jump cuts to sticking his foot in the dirt when functioning as a runner. More of a “survive by any means” runner than a “make you miss” runner. Disappears in the mix on interior runs. Reacts fast enough to avoid backfield penetration if his line falters. Has the requisite body control that teams are looking for in a back. Won’t quit until the whistle is blown; mind is always willing. Has no shortage of effort in his play. Unable to sell defenders on his movements and play deceptively. Attacks leverage points against defenders rather than meeting them center mass. Physical gifts suggest a high ceiling if he can end up reaching it. No feature back potential, but could be a great committee guy.

Speed

Running style isn’t explosive but he has acceptable burst in the first 5-10 yards. Comfortably gets to the linebackers and presses for big play potential. Can turn the corner on linebackers who don’t come in at proper angles. Stop/start ability is not outstanding, but his brakes work well enough to avoid rear-ending his own linemen. Speed towards the boundary is likely not going to be enough for avoiding snags. Does not own the burst to warrant bouncing everything outside. Shorter stride is overcome by roadrunner feet in the open. Maintains most of his momentum through changes of direction, as long as he isn’t contacted. Easily defeated most Mountain West defensive backs in a pure race, but his testing numbers will be a huge factor in his draft stock.

Power

Undersized frame is going to draw questions about ability to handle NFL power. Does not have room to add more weight and improve functional strength. Runs with some attitude even though he can’t outmuscle linebackers. Not a feasible option as a between the tackles ball-carrier in the pros. Drops his pad with timing and tries to get leverage against tacklers. Unable to shake off guys if they begin the tackle process; can’t run through wraps. Uses a stiff arm to keep distance and avoid clean shots. No pile pushing ability prevents him from gaining dirty yards. Usually stays on his feet through arm tackles if they don’t wipe out his lower half, although his balance is often disrupted by them. Drives his legs once he gets tangled up. Gets stopped dead in his tracks by harder hitters.

Vision

Takes what the defense gives him rather than seeking out big play opportunities. Follows his lead blocker well. Peripheral vision allows him to manage distance well. Downhill running style maximizes his skill set. Processing speed is sufficient. Easy adjustments laterally take him away from potential breakthrough. Changes lanes without any delay or second guessing; no hesitation once he reaches the line of scrimmage. Confidence doesn’t waver even when things aren’t going according to plan. Good feel for pacing his runs and keeping in time with blockers. Not a particularly imaginative runner, but if there’s a hole he’ll attack it. Hesitant to really open up his speed unless he gets a clear runway towards the endzone. Always goes for the shortest path, not necessarily the best one.

Pass Blocking & Receiving

Fleet-footedness allows him to mirror defenders on their way in; keeps square with his target and stays ready to adjust. Acceleration allows him to grab up first downs when targeted out of the backfield. Inexperienced working in the slot and should only be considered an option out of the backfield early on as a pro. Will get simply overpowered by pass rushers if he is forced to work one-on-one. With proper coaching and practice he should be able to shake off most linebackers in coverage. Decent hands catching ability. Comfortable reeling in passes that come in outside of his frame. Very active eyes as a pass blocker; ready to jump into action anywhere inside of the pocket. Timing and hand usage need improvement as a blocker.

Categories: 2019, RB
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