In the fifth round, with the 154th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected RB Chris Thompson from Florida State. He's a solidly built player -- about 5'7" and 190 pounds. He's a speedster, clocking in at 4.4 in the 40, which is very fast for a running back. He was having a good season for the Seminoles when he blew out his left knee on October 20 and required arthroscopic surgery to repair his ACL. Prior to the injury he rushed for 687 yards and 5 TD and averaged 7.5 yards per carry doing it.
It wasn't the first serious injury for Thompson. His 2011 season was cut short after he broke a vertebrae in his back. He's worked his way back from one serious injury and now we'll find out if he can work his way back from another. His knee rehab is reportedly ahead of schedule, but they all say that five months before the season.
The NFL player Thompson reminds me of the most is Darren Sproles, who is also very fast, small, and very good out of the backfield as a receiver.
Here is the NFL scouting report on Thompson:
Dangerous runner/receiver combination in the backfield able to make the big play. Comfortable behind a fullback in I-formation, follows off tackle the cuts back inside. Capable swing pass receiver, looks the catch into hands, and utilizes a quick move to make a tackler miss in space. Definitely at his bets in the open field. Makes things happen if untouched at the second level, open footwork and makes tacklers miss with nice burst. Very patient on screen passes but tends to drift to the sideline. If the lane is there, he is a very decisive runner. Gives good effort when attempting to pickup blitzer, dives at inside leg.
WEAKNESSESLacks the size to be a bellcow NFL back, and has had problems staying healthy. Carries the ball in the wrong arm too often. First contact usually brings him down, loses footing and upended. Will not always get back to the line of scrimmage when contacted in the backfield. Small and lean frame. Can attempt too many moves in space. Runs like a receiver, striding instead of being efficient with his footwork. Can’t sustain in pass protection or mirror. Takes some really big hits, could be due to his upright stance. Has the most problems when initial line is stopped at the line of scrimmage. Has difficulties creating without some space first.
NFL COMPARISONAntone Smith
Two broken vertebrae in his back wasn’t enough to keep Thompson from coming back for his senior year. The diminutive but speedy back led the Seminoles in rushing in 2010 (845 yards, six touchdowns, also 19-155, TD receiving), but struggled with his back throughout his junior season even before suffering the major injury against Wake Forest. If he proves himself healthy enough to take hits after breaking off big runs using his track speed and elusiveness, however, teams will value him as a mid-to-late round change of pace back with return potential.
Here is a look at Thompson from last season before his knee injury.