Report: Darian Thompson Sick During Combine

Boise State safety Darian Thompson brings down Hawaii running back Paul Harris, left, in the first half at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Joe Jaszewski/Idaho Statesman/TNS)

The poor performance by Boise State safety Darian Thompson has us buzzing, but according to Tony Pauline, there is an explanation for it. Pauline writes that Thompson was sick during the Combine and lost seven pounds, says a source.

That latter part is accurate. Thompson weighed in at 215 pounds during the Senior Bowl but came into the Combine at 208. He timed poorly across the board, running a 4.69 40, a 32.5 inch vertical, and a 9’10” in the broad. His web on mockdraftables.com isn’t pretty.

Thompson3

Is this an excuse pushed by an agent? It’s possible but again, there is a clear weight loss here. Either way, it makes his Pro Day very important.

History is not in favor of players with Thompson’s times. Earlier, I posted all combine safeties since 1999 who ran 4.69 or worse. Let’s show the list again.

Thompson1 Thompson2

I charted the draft position of those 44 players. Here are the results.

Undrafted: 33
6th-7th: 5
4th-5th: 4
2nd-3rd: 2
1st: 0

Though Thompson is going to get drafted, those aren’t promising figures. Some of those safeties were successful in college, too. Dwayne Slay forced eight fumbles in 2005 and named the AP’s Big 12 Player of the Year,

He was even rated as a first round pick at one point by Mel Kiper Jr. An excerpt from the Lubbock-Avalanche Journal

“Toward the end of the regular season, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. moved Slay onto his “Big Board,” – a ranking of the top 25 senior prospects for the NFL draft.”

After poor workouts, running a 4.78 at the Combine and jumping 32.5 inches at 216 pounds, similar numbers to Thompson, he went undrafted and never made a 53 man roster.

There are, as always, exceptions to the rule. The most notable is Kenoy Kennedy, the highest pick of this group, selected by the Denver Broncos in 2000. He ran a a 4.71 and jumped just 33.5 inches but was taken by Denver in the second round. He wound up starting 99 games over an eight year career.

However, it’s dangerous to go hunting for exceptions and ignoring the bigger picture. Thompson figures to be one of the more hotly debated players in Steelers’ Nation until April’s draft.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Rusted Out

    “Sick” I thought was slang for did well

  • Steel Your Face

    When’s the Bronco’s Pro Day?

  • Brian Tollini

    March 31st.

  • Rusted Out

    Those numbers are pretty bad. Is there any evidence that he would perform so poorly prior to the combine? Prior 40 times? Let him recover from his illness and see what he can do at his pro-day.

  • steelburg

    Not buying it. His production appears to be a product of playing against poor competition not to mention that the majority of this years receivers are slow this year. I was a fan of Thompson intitally but there is no way he goes in the first 2 rounds after today.

  • Alex Kozora

    We knew he wasn’t a super athlete and a little stiff-hipped. But I don’t think anyone expected him to tank like this. An illness would explain it.

  • vasteeler

    If this is indeed true, why wouldn’t he back out of the drills? This is difficult to believe bcuz agents get fired over things like this if they indeed knew he was sick and still encouraged him to participate jeopardizing a possible round 1 paycheck

  • Ike Evans

    We will see his pro day…..man, this is the HARDEST year to figure our who we are taking

  • Alex Kozora

    No doubt Ike. This is getting tough.

  • Alex Kozora

    Because he was there and wanted to compete. “I’m sick” isn’t a great excuse.

  • SteelersDepot

    all eyes will be on his pro day

  • Ike Evans

    Im never an advocate of trading back but…….this may be the year if a deal can be made

  • vasteeler

    I don’t disagree but it’s his agents job to declare that information to the media before he participates in any drills

  • PaeperCup

    I believe it. Just watching him play, he has skills. And today’s performance doesn’t come close to the results we seen all year.

  • PaeperCup

    Lol. He was sick and bad

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I hope he does well at his pro day. It’s weird because what do you want? For a guy to play good or test well? One bad showing shouldn’t be the nail in the coffin.

  • SteelersDepot

    he better run down wind. Like I wrote in my first mock, I don’t think he’s a top 40 player. Looking like I might be right.

  • SteelersDepot

    a comment on my mock 1.0:

    NonnaYourbiz • 7 days ago

    “no way the Boise St S is there in 2, and seems odd regardless of talent to draft a guy named “Jihad””

  • Matt Manzo

    Kinda sad! But a proper reflection of the U.S. Still a lot of ignorance and not a lot of football knowledge.

    That’s why you’re the best! I remember when all there was, was AOL and the Post Gazette!

  • harding36

    The problem with the sick excuse is that these numbers back up the film. He looks slow on tape against bad competition. He looks stiff in coverage. The numbers, while worse than expected, back that up.

    It was always clear that he could play downhill (though I thought his tacking angles seemed off at times). The question was whether he was athletic enough to cover. And he’s not. The reason that list of safeties is so bad is that no WR’s are that slow in the NFL. Seriously, even if Thompson is a 4.65 guy, that is the very outer edge for a db in terms of speed. At 4.65 or worse, there are almost no WR’s he can run with. Add the stiff hips, and he can’t cover any wideouts in the league. He’s actually slower than Dupree (4.56) and Shazier (sub 4.4) by a wide margin. The steelers are really value speed and athleticism, and he has neither. They overlooked the lack of those qualities in Jarvis Jones; doubt they make the same mistake again.

  • Taylor Williams

    We’re taking a linebacker like always.

  • Matt Manzo

    You’ve gotten to pat yourself on the back a few times this year! Bravo!

  • Ike Evans

    Lol….i could see that but who? Spence, ogbah, lawson and guys like that may be gone…….shilique calhoun maybe? This should be interesting

  • Frank Cordaro

    I still think highly of Thompson and hope he does well at his pro day, but half of me thinks thats BS…as an example I know theres some that dislike Mitchell but you didn’t hear anything from him with 2 torn groins played the year old…but if Thompson sick will the same thing happen…also I like that Killebrew.

  • Alex Kozora

    They get mad if you don’t compete. Fun story. Geoff Schwartz on his podcast didn’t bench the year he came out. Sitting with the rest of the injured OL not going.

    Offensive line coach of some team comes over and gives them a lecture about how they have to work hard in the NFL. To a group of injured players. It’s a weird culture.

  • Spencer Krick

    This.

  • Rusted Out

    Sounds like the Corps… you’re a shitbag for being injured as if that somehow makes you weak. Caveman logic. Probably fitting analogy.

  • Tom Jackson

    Well probably gotta wait a good 2-3 years finding that out so kind of an early take there. Lol

  • Tom Jackson

    Hm 4.7 is shocking I gotta say. His whole combine was very bad numbers-wise. It’s pretty weird that he would go through every drill feeling sick and being highly effected by it. Sounds like a good old excuse to me but I guess his Pro Day has to show the whole story.

    Although I guess it has an outside chance to be true. He did do everything so poor not only athletic drills, the Bench Press was bad (12) even with his short arms. If it’s true though we will know on his pro day for sure because he didn’t set the bar high on any drill he did. But for now I don’t buy the story.

  • vasteeler

    Lol that’s funny, I can see how some would say they aren’t tough enough for not competing while sick/injured but I don’t think it’s fair, it’s crazy how 1 scouts opinion can start massive rumors or cause a player to slide

  • Sdale

    I guess I look at it this way VA. He gets points for trying to compete while sick at the combine and IF the poor performance/times are due to that, he’ll time/perform better at his pro day and all the Scouts can/will re-adjust their grade accordingly. It’s not like these guys only have this one chance anymore.

  • LucasY59

    I want him to test bad so he doesnt require a higher draft pick, and then play well for the Steelers after they draft him (would not expect him to be available in the 3rd, but If he is, that should be good value)

  • LucasY59

    I’m always an advocate for it (if they can get a favorable value in the trade) and am excited it might actually happen (and this year where the value of having a couple extra 2nd-4th rd picks might be the highest with lots of depth at positions of need, and lack of 1st rd talent to make it hard to trade out)

  • JNick

    The silly thing is that it isn’t a game. They are sick/injured and sitting out a competition where putting up bad “numbers” can drop your status, regardless of whether you are sick/injured. Like Rusted said….caveman logic.

  • steelburg

    I agree. I’m not just thinking a small trade down in the 1st a trade out of the 1st round complete wouldn’t bother me. Just as long as we get a high 2nd and a extra 2nd or 3rd.

  • PittsburghSports

    Don’t forget your Steelers Digest subscription and checking the sports section of the paper for transactions.

  • PittsburghSports

    Oh come on guys. It’s like this every year lol. Pro Days and Visits will start soon and the list will narrow.

  • Ike Evans

    Not for me….i usually have some kinda idea by now

  • SteelersDepot

    We’ll find out on draft day.

  • PittsburghSports

    I suppose that could affect his numbers, but by that much? I mean he almost brought up the rear in every category. What would being healthy gain him like 1/10th of a sec at most? What about all that stiffness in the field drills? I know you and Jon have been talking this guy up forever(Jon had him as the 17th overall pick in his recent mock!), but is it possible you just over-evaluated him? I talked to Jon on twitter, before the official numbers came in, and he was still saying that on film he was a 1st rd pick. I said he looked horrible in the field drills too though, and was tight and all over the place. His response “I didn’t have any issue with him in drills, thought he was fine”. I mean, c’mon, I’m sure he’d retract that now that the numbers show he was at the bottom of every category. Clearly his bias was affecting his judgement.

    He is a Safety, and it’s super hard to watch them on film and judge. At least for me it is. Steelers need a Safety. Does that make us like the Safeties more than we should and lead to an over-evaluation? Is there anything on film that supports this lack of athleticism? When Mayock came out with his list of top Safeties I was in agreement with it, having Thompson 3rd behind Karl Joseph, and to a lesser extent behind Von Bell. You can see the difference in athleticism with Karl Joseph on tape. It’s just apparent the ground he’s able to cover.

    At the very least I think this knocks him out of the first round, and I would be hesitant to take him before round 3 at this point. I mean, the guy says he’s sick, what else can you do but give him a pass for now. I does seem like an excuse though.

  • PittsburghSports

    Top 40 players will be picked between April 28th-29th. That’s 2 months away, not years.

  • PittsburghSports

    I got 7 guys at the top of my list for the 1st rd. Another 17 possible for the 1st rd. About 6 or 7 favorites for each of the next 3 rounds and another 15 or so possibles for each round. Same thing I do every year. That’ll get fine tuned in the coming months. It’s ever changing.

  • PittsburghSports

    We got 2 months, Alex. Pro Days. Visits. No one has a clue 2 months out. So far we have Senior Bowl and Combine rumors to work from, which don’t amount to much.

  • Ike Evans

    Cool

  • vasteeler

    I agree I think it’s even worse that his agent allowed him to be scrutinized in that manner, he could have stated the illness before hand and given proof, then he could have decided if it was still in his best interests to participate or gotten feedback from scouts about him possibly being a nonparticipant

  • PittsburghSports

    And Free Agency hasn’t even started lol. I had a bunch of RBs at the top of my list before we signed D Will.

  • Alex Kozora

    I’ve been very critical of Thompson. I think the fact that I posted all the info about the lack of success of guys who time like that indicate that. I still like his tape and I’m not going to do a complete 180. But I’m not saying my opinion hasn’t changed.

  • PittsburghSports

    Hey I feel ya. I thought Harlan Miller was the best CB in the draft before yesterday lol. I just saw something in him at the Senior Bowl. Quick feet, instincts or whatever. I’m not gonna do a complete 180 on him either, but clearly his numbers were awful, and I think it’ll affect his draft status. I know someone mentioned yesterday that Josh Norman ran a 4.66 at the combine, but I think his the drills went a lot better than Miller’s, but hey we never know until these guys get into the NFL.

    I think it’s a fair question though. We’ve had a huge need for a Safety for a few years now. Does that lead to us over-evaluating the class as a whole. That was a pretty sorry group yesterday. I knew it wasn’t great going in, but I’m questioning even spending a 2nd rd pick on any of those guys that participated. I still like Karl Joseph if he’s 100%.

  • Alex Kozora

    No, I don’t think it’s me over-evaluating to compensate for need. I don’t think about that when I’m watching tape. I just write what I see. There are plenty of safeties I’ve seen that I don’t peg high. Even guys I personally like, DeAndre Houston-Carson, who can become a valuable piece, but is a big work in progress, and I rated him lower than what the average person did.

    I do think Thompson has his status affected and is likely to fall out of the first. Like I broke down, no S with his time has ever been taken in the first.

  • Steel Your Face

    Thank you, sir!

  • PittsburghSports

    I actually thought DHC had a good day. He went from late/undrafted to possible mid-late rd pick in my list of players. He’s got a strange look to him, but you run a 4.54 and some team will give you a chance. Didn’t look explosive or test too well on the other drills though.

  • Tom Jackson

    Wait when you say he’s not a top 40 player thats some kind of mock for what happens? I thought your top 40 guys in the draft. I mean if it’s just your opinion on where he’s drafted it’s a loose statement anyway. Not like anybody of us would know right now.

  • Tom Jackson

    Well it’s not really going out on a limp to give out projected draft ranges for players. Nor reliable for us on the outside looking in so I thought he meant his Top 40 prospects in the draft. If it’s just a mock I could care less.

  • 2winz

    So Daryl Dixon from the Walking Dead used to play FS? :0 No wonder he was hesitant to tell people what he did before the zombie apocalypse..that 40 time lol xD

  • Matt Manzo

    I forgot about the transactions section!!!

  • Alex Kozora

    Yup, like I wrote (and you saw) I want my safeties to crack the 4.5’s. And he did. Needed some positive press. Also, I’m a sucker for that beard.

  • Alex Kozora

    lol, i was trying to look up the football player’s bio and I kept getting crossbows.

  • fu

    sua cravens caey naib definatley need em thoughts?

  • Ask Questions Later

    Outside of Ramsey and Elliott, is there anyone else that screams “wow?”

    Have not had a draft like this in years. Too difficult to tell who is gold or not currently.

  • Ask Questions Later

    Many teams are currently thinking about this as well. As I said, remove Bosa, Tunsil, Elliot and Ramsey and this class is not looking good. Even though the Steelers will not get of these players, still have to consider the lack of “wow” factor. Not too much to choose from afterwards (even someone like Stanley).

  • irene

    Watched some tape on Thompson, tackling and closing speed needs improvement. He is young, has a child and played in Big West conference (weak conf) He gets another shot on March 31, let’s see if he can improve. Right now he’s a 3rd round.

  • UrbanLegend

    Thompson ran a 4.50 at his pro day. Suck it.