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Seahawks Draft Picks 2017: The upside and downside of Tedric Thompson

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Utah v Colorado Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

With the fourth selection on day three and the Seattle Seahawks seventh selection overall, the team went back into the secondary to select safety Tedric Thompson from the University of Colorado. Coming into this year’s draft, depth was an issue on Seattle’s defense’s backend and now they’ve added a player at every spot; Shaq Griffin at cornerback, Delano Hill at strong safety and now Thompson at free safety. Thompson, a three-year starter at Colorado, earned Second Team All-PAC 12 honors in his final year there.

The Upside

After adding a backup for Kam Chancellor yesterday, the Seahawks added an Earl Thomas backup today in Thompson. A rangy centerfielder with great ball skills, Thompson led the FBS in pass breakups in 2016 with 25, to go along with his seven interceptions. In four seasons at Colorado, Thompson averaged one pass breakup a game and ended his career with 13 interceptions, averaging a tidy 18.5 yards per interception return. A free safety with range and ball skills is exactly what Seattle needed to add, and they’ve done just that.

Over his last few seasons at Colorado, Thompson became their best chess piece in the secondary, lining up single-high, in the box and in the slot. With Thomas and Chancellor playing nearly 100-percent of the snaps on a weekly basis, versatility will be a great way to see the field early on for Thompson.

The Downside

Surprisingly - seeing as he was drafted by the Seahawks - the biggest knock on Thompson was his poor tackling ability. Seattle values run defense from their secondary defenders as much as any team, but as long as they saw a willingness on film I would imagine the team feels confident they can coach him up.

Although Thompson figures to be a backup for Thomas to begin with, he isn’t nearly the freak athlete Thomas was coming out of Texas. Thompson is 95th in his class in terms of SPARQ score and his measureables do leave a lot to be desired, illustrated by Mock Draftable’s terrific spider graph for him below:

https://www.mockdraftable.com/player/tedric-thompson

In the top-50 percentile for defensive backs in just bench press and hand size, Thompson’s numbers don’t pop off the screen the way we’ve become accustomed to for Seattle draft picks. Luckily, a lack of athleticism doesn’t show up on film when he’s making a play on the football:

Or breaking on the football:

Overall, Thompson is a promising prospect that can fill in at any number of spots, and the Seahawks have to be happy with the versatility he will bring from the jump.