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Converted Tight End Thompson Looks Smooth on First Day

Posted by Gary Glenn on May 11, 2012 – 9:26 pm

Some league analysts were skeptical when the Titans traded up 10 spots with Miami to select SMU’s Taylor Thompson in the fifth round (145th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft. But if Friday’s rookie practices were any indication, the college defensive end looked just fine playing tight end, a position he excelled at during high school.

The Titans liked Thompson’s size, speed, athleticism and hands as a tight end, despite not having any college film on him at the position.

On Friday, Thompson displayed the same traits the Titans saw during their pre-draft evaluation process, running smoothly on routes and catching every pass thrown his way.

“It was great. I felt very comfortable on offense. I’ve learned a lot the past few days and I’m just having a great time,” Thompson said of his first day. “I’m pretty familiar with what they’re running here. It’s similar to what Coach (June) Jones ran at SMU.”

Thompson was an All-State tight end in Texas in high school, but was needed as a defensive end at SMU, racking up 4.5 sacks as a junior when he was named first-team Conference USA.

Thompson told reporters why he switched back to tight end, despite playing 80 snaps per game at defensive end in college.

“We had a package that Coach Jones would run in practice. He never really ran it in the game. Since I came out of high school as a tight end he told me if I ever wanted to play in an all-star game as a tight end that he could probably help me with that,” Thompson said. “I figured if anything it could show that I’m an athlete, so I decided to do it.”

Thompson entered the draft as a defensive end, but had several teams interested in selecting him as a tight end, including the Titans.

Having played on defense in college, Thompson said he understands the mindset of his opponent.

“A huge thing in football is to understand the enemy,” Thompson said. “I have that athletic side of me that I can bring to offense. I can be an aggressive and athletic tight end to help make plays in the pass game and in the run game.”

The Titans hope Thompson can join Jared Cook as another play-making tight end within their offensive arsenal.

Thompson believes he can make big plays down field and help in the run game, even though he flew under the radar in the NFL Draft.

“It’s tough when teams didn’t have film on me,” he said. “That was my downside.”

For the Titans, it appears it worked to their advantage.

Posted in Blog | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Converted Tight End Thompson Looks Smooth on First Day”

  1. By sdaguilard on May 12, 2012 | Reply

    Just come out and play hard.GO TITANS!

  2. By NYCTITANSFAN on May 14, 2012 | Reply

    I like how the new staff is thinking outside of the box with things. I hope this works out. He has almost the exact same measurables as Rob Gronkowski.

  3. By addicted2football on May 17, 2012 | Reply

    I think this was a gamble that will be paying us HUGE dividends. Thompson may have played DE in college, but since he played TE in high school he obviously has an understanding of the position. Imagine how potent our offense will be in a 2 TE set with Cook and Thompson, Britt and Washington on the outside and CJ in the backfield, or a 3 WR set with Britt, Washington and Wright, either Cook or Thompson at TE and CJ in the backfield. Throw in a VERY mobile Jack Locker under center, and I see opposing DCs’ losing a LOT of sleep. GO TITANS!!!!!

  4. By addicted2football on May 17, 2012 | Reply

    ‘Jake’ Locker, lol. I can’t believe I typed Jack hahaha.

  5. By Tyler Rees on Jun 9, 2012 | Reply

    Don’t forget about Damian Williams! The kid is a BEAST!!!

  6. By K-Wash on Jul 21, 2012 | Reply

    Could he be the next Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez or Jimmy Graham? Stay tuned.

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