Hometown: New Orleans, LA
High School: Landry-Walker
Thompson is a versatile chess piece who primarily lines up in the slot and will benefit from the growing trend of wide receivers taking handoffs.
Born in 1998, Thompson is one of the oldest members of the 2023 draft class. He’s yet to master a single role in college football, but the former dual-threat quarterback has an incredibly well-rounded game. The Louisiana native is still built like a quarterback with a tall frame, long legs, and a muscular upper body, but he runs with the power and wiggle of a tall running back. Thompson lacks the speed and complete route tree to win at all three levels of the field consistently, but he makes up for that shortcoming with his ability to create yards after the catch on short and intermediate throws. Thompson has a large frame that cornerbacks love to target in press coverage, but his active hands and strength help him play through their attacks. In 2021, Virginia allowed Thompson to line up almost anywhere, including in the backfield for some reps in pass protection. He primarily took snaps in the slot in 2021 but still found a significant workload as an outside receiver. Thompson also spent nearly 50 snaps lined up in the backfield as a running back. The sixth-year college player has an exciting combination of wiggle and power, which led to him generating more than 630 yards after the catch and yards after contact combined in 2021. Thompson carries deceptive speed with his long strides, which allow him to quickly reach the defense’s third level as a ball carrier. He has the footwork of a scrambling quarterback, which leads to some nifty, sudden cuts. Thompson is a physical player who battles for yards after contact and finishes catches through contact. Defenders bounce and slide off his powerful frame. Thompson excels at finding holes in zone coverage. He has an impressive catch radius and naturally extends his arms to make plays outside of his frame. Drops occasionally pop up on Thompson’s film. He benefited from plenty of schemed touches and short passes in 2021. The converted quarterback lacks home run speed. His route tree is underdeveloped, and his ability to create separation on intermediate and deep routes is inconsistent. Thompson needs to play to his size and strength more often in contested catch situations and develop as a blocker. He runs high, which leaves him vulnerable to getting chopped down low. A decade or two ago, Thompson’s role in the NFL wouldn’t have been clear. However, players like Atlanta’s Cordarrelle Patterson and San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel have popularized using hybrid players with mixed skill sets in creative ways. This recent trend should prevent Thompson’s draft stock from suffering too much despite his “jack of all trades, master of none” style. He could fall down the board if NFL teams become concerned about his lack of a true long-term, but Virginia is working to solidify his wide receiver skills this season.
“Really trying to evaluate yourself and look at yourself and say what can I do to be better. Yes, he's done a lot of things, so it makes him [Thompson] good at a lot of things, but not necessarily great at something, so we're trying to refine his skills as a receiver. So he can be elite and be different in that regard.” -- Virginia Offensive Coordinator Des Kitchings on WR Keytaon Thompson
Thompson was a four-star recruit as a dual-threat quarterback from Landry-Walker High School in New Orleans, La. in the class of 2017. He was the No. 176 recruit according to the 247Sports Composite board, No. 85 for Rivals, and No. 158 for On3.com. Thompson was an unranked three-star recruit for ESPN with a 79 grade out of 100. As a high school senior, Thompson was the 2016-17 Football Gatorade Player of the Year in Louisiana. That season, he completed 198 of 331 passes for 3,825 yards, 46 touchdowns, and only five interceptions in 14 games. Thompson also carried the ball 152 times for 1,434 yards and 26 touchdowns. He completed the historic year by generating 457 yards of total offense and six touchdowns in a 2016 Class 5A state championship game victory. He was credited with 10,737 yards and 149 touchdowns during his high school career. Thompson was a three-year starter in basketball, winning Class 4A state championships in 2014 and 2015. He transferred from Mississippi State to Virginia in 2020 and transitioned to wide receiver full-time in 2021. Thompson’s college accolades include: 2017 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2018 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2021 ACC All-Academic Team, and 2021 Second-Team All-ACC (All-Purpose). He played with a cast on a broken hand in 2021. Thompson is working toward a master’s degree in higher education. He has one sibling and was born on Oct. 23, 1998.