With their first of two fifth-round picks in last week's draft, the Washington Redskins selected Florida State running back Chris Thompson to complement starter Alfred Morris by way of speed, burst and explosive home run ability.
Throughout his time in Tallahassee, Thompson suffered some pretty ugly injuries, including two broken vertebrae in his back and a torn ACL, which he's still recovering from.
But that didn't stop head coach Mike Shanahan or running back coach Bobby Turner from drafting him. The Redskins offense was in search of more speed on offense and some added versatility, and coaches believe Thompson fits the bill.
It's a safe bet Shanahan and the Redskins watched Thompson's game against Clemson last season, in which the 5'7", 194-pound running back rushed for a game-high 103 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns and led his team in receiving with eight catches for 79 yards.
Here, Thompson begins to the right of quarterback EJ Manuel in the shotgun formation. The play calls for a handoff left to Thompson.
The highlighted Clemson linebacker will read at the snap and attack accordingly.
Thompson receives great blocking off the snap and cuts back hard across his body to weave his way through traffic, making great use of his blocks and shifting through lanes.
After making the first would-be tackler miss (highlighted with yellow arrow), Thompson comes face-to-face with an able defender. By way of a sick head fake and natural elusiveness, Thompson leaves the defender reading his head while his lower body takes off on his next move.
This shot gives you a better angle of Thompson's shiftiness and what he can do to defenders in one-on-one situations in the open field.
Take note of the green ahead—the payoff for agility, quickness and balance through traffic near the line of scrimmage.
After demonstrating good acceleration to wheel downfield, Thompson comes in contact with his next potential tackler.
But this time, his defender has the advantage of using the sideline, and there's help breathing on Thompson's heels.
Rather than avoiding contact, Thompson turns another juke upfield in an attempt to wiggle between defenders.
Thompson is wrapped up at the 35-yard line, but he drags his defender for another nine yards.
Leading Clemson 42-31 with a little more than eight minutes to go in the game and positioned at the Tigers' 27-yard line, Florida State runs left out of the I with No. 24 as the fullback.
Thompson receives a great block from his tight end, No. 33, who helps to take a defender out of the way, in turn allowing the fullback to lead through the hole and take on his man.
As the fullback lays his block, Thompson bounces outside to the left in a flash—one of the strong suits to his game. The bounce allows Thompson to find space and use his wide receiver's forthcoming block downfield.
Not the greatest of blocks from the receiver, but it hardly phases Thompson. He once again reverts to his natural quick-twitch ability to change direction, get upfield and accelerate towards the end zone.
The play results in a touchdown, as foot races to the pylon are rarely won against Thompson.
When it comes to on-field production, Thompson is just what the doctor ordered. The Redskins needed more speed, and they found it. They needed a playmaker, and they got it. They needed a guy that could threaten to score on every touch, and they have it.
The only concern with Thompson moving forward is his durability. And that's the only reason you'll hear people question his fifth-round value.
But you have to pay to play. You have to roll the dice and see what you get, especially in the mid-to-late rounds.
If Thompson is healthy and can keep himself on the field, the Redskins cashed in very well.
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