The Kansas City Chiefs used the second of two sixth-round picks on Utah State running back Darwin Thompson, who is an intriguing prospect that could stick.
RB Darwin Thompson
Utah State • 5’8” • 200 lbs.
(report powered by the KC DRAFT GUIDE, published on 4/8)
EXPECTED DRAFT RANGE: Day three
BACKGROUND: Junior college transfer and was second-team All-American his sophomore season. His uncle, David Thompson, played running back for the St. Louis Rams from 1997-99. 2018 second-team All-Mountain West.
STRENGTHS: Thompson is a small and shifty running back. He makes sharp lateral cuts and is elusive in space. One of his best traits is that he gives defenders a small target to hit, even though they don’t have much to anyway. He avoids giant hits because of this and is able to force missed tackles after contact because he keeps himself clean. Thompson showed some ability as a pass catcher and route runner. His change of direction should come in handy as he develops his route-running abilities. He has natural hands and is dangerous on swings as he’s hard to bring down. Averaged over 15 yards per catch in his only season at Utah State.
WEAKNESSES: Thompson enters the NFL with vision questions. He too often missed opportunities in zone concepts that were apparent and could’ve led to more productive touches. He gets swallowed by blitzing defend- ers in pass protection and no amount of technical work will allow him to overcome his ability to be trusted with those responsibilities. Will never be a guy who is going to run away from people as his long speed is average to below average.
HOW HE FITS WITH THE CHIEFS: Thompson brings traits to the table that are not on the Chiefs roster currently such excellent change of direction and elusiveness in space. He is not the well-built, powerful back but wins by making people miss. He shows some ability in the passing game that could be intriguing to the Chiefs and that will likely be a big part of how he carves out a role on an NFL team. If the Chiefs want a running back with more pass catcher traits, you could see Thompson thrown into the mix on day three of the draft.
PLAYER COMP: Tarik Cohen
Reaction: Darwin Thompson is a fun pick this late in the draft. He’s electric in space and made people look silly in the Mountain West. I gave him a Tarik Cohen comp in the KC Draft Guide, and I could see him sticking. The biggest question for me is the contact balance. It looks great against lesser competition, so if it shows up against bigger players in tighter spaces, Thompson has a role.
Thompson possesses pass-catcher traits that could be a nice addition to the Chiefs offense. He’s not the big back the Chiefs typically covet, but he is a change of pace that could be a legitimate value this late. Thompson would be interesting to watch out on swing routes, where he can operate against smaller defenders. I’m excited to see him at training camp.
Chiefs 2019 NFL Draft picks (six picks)
- Round 2: Pick No. 56 overall — Georgia WR Mecole Hardman
- Round 2: Pick No. 63 overall — Virginia S Juan Thornhill
- Round 3: Pick No. 84 overall — Western Illinois DT Khalen Saunders
- Round 6: Pick No. 201 overall — South Carolina CB Rashad Fenton
- Round 6: Pick No. 214 overall — Utah State RB Darwin Thompson
- Round 7: Pick No. 216 overall — Illinois C Nick Allegretti
Selection time limits
- Day 2: Round 2 (seven minutes per pick) • Round 3 (five minutes per pick)
- Day 3: Rounds 4-6 (five minutes per pick) • Round 7 (four minutes per pick)
- (Compensatory picks = four minutes)
Grade the pick of Utah State RB Darwin Thompson at 214.
This poll is closed