Bryce Thompson - CB, Tennessee
By the numbers:
5'11", 190 pounds.
2020: 36 tackles (2.0 for loss), two passes broken up and two interceptions in 10 games played.
Physicality is Bryce Thompson's calling card. He's comfortable in press-man coverage and uses his length to redirect opposing receivers near the line of scrimmage. He understands how to maintain good leverage and is disruptive at the catch point. Thompson is a willing tackler and capable run defender, navigating through blockers and wrapping up the ballcarrier.
Thompson brings plus ball skills to the NFL, as evidenced by his eight career interceptions. He monitors the quarterback's eyes, takes aggressive angles and tracks the football very well. His click-and-close ability is fluid, as are his hips. Thompson also displayed versatility at Tennessee, lining up in the slot and at free safety in addition to his usual boundary cornerback role.
Staying disciplined will continue to be a challenge for Thompson until he receives NFL coaching. He's grabby when losing the leverage battle, which won't play well given the five-yard window of contact moving forward. His eyes also wander a bit in zone coverage, where he spends too much time watching the quarterback.
Thompson's footwork at times, simply put, is sloppy. He gets impatient at the line of scrimmage, occasionally opening his hips or giving opposing receivers an indication of where he thinks they will go next. In order to have long-term success at the next level, Thompson needs to tighten up his footwork. While his hips are fine, his feet don't always coordinate with them. Being coached up for a year could do a ton of good for him as he refines the intricate parts of his game.
How Thompson fits with the Chiefs:
The cornerback position isn't a strength for the Chiefs, so adding at least one additional body to the secondary room remains a good idea. Thompson is a Chiefs-style cornerback who thrives in man coverage and can line up all over the defensive backfield. Versatility is a major plus with Steve Spagnuolo and if L'Jarius Sneed is shifted outside to play opposite Charvarius Ward, Thompson could possibly factor into the nickel cornerback situation. He's a good fit now and could be an even better one in due time.
Thompson is a physical, playmaking corner with a proven track record. With that said, he needs to clean some things up before becoming a regular, reliable contributor. He has the potential to be one of this year's biggest Day 3 steals due to his competitive nature and football smarts. Thompson grades out as a late fourth-round pick who will likely go later than that and eventually leave many teams regretting their decisions to pass on him.