NFL Draft Prep: RB Darwin Thompson

It seems every year during this evaluation process there is always that one prospect that blows up your previously methodically, mapped-out positional rankings. I thought I had my RB rankings almost certainly locked down to a tee. Maybe that wasn’t so true after all, however.

On Thursday, I saw on Twitter that a small 5’8” running back by the name of Darwin Thompson had declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. I hadn’t heard the name before then, although according to guys familiar with Utah State, he was a very good player. It turns out he was first-year Division 1 player who was a JUCO product. And in JUCO, he was described as a “cheat code” by his head coach more than once. Needless to say, this was the quietest, yet most hyped up player I had encountered throughout this process. So, I decided to delve into his tape, and what I found was this:

And to say I was impressed by that first impression was nothing short of an understatement. That play showcases maybe the best contact balance I have seen out of any tape. Even David Montgomery did not have this ridiculous level of contact balance, and to the say the least, Thompson’s tape was littered with plays like this. He looked like a man amongst boys out there at times.

Thompson’s game is a mix of elite contact balance, elusiveness, shiftiness, top speed, and then mixed in when a fantastic array of receiving ability. Not only did he kill opponents out wide in the slot, but he was an absolutely lethal force in the screen game that no one figured out how to stop all year long.

Plays like this to where he would get into the open field and break it were all too common on his tape. It was not just because the Utah State OL is full of maulers, but Thompson’s elite burst and ability to create for himself jump out on the tape. And with the ability to do that, Thompson maps out himself as more than just a scat back or change of pace back, but a lethal weapon instead.

However, the place that really surprised me was on the goal line, where Thompson proved to be all too effective because of his fantastic burst. The top tier burst he hits right off the hand off is a money play for Utah State inside of the five yard line

No one really knows who this guy is yet, but they should know who he is very soon. Oh, and he puts together every trait I had said into one big play for us all!

I didn’t expect a Tarik Cohen-clone to come in this class, but Thompson plays just like him. Straight down to the ferocious attitude he brings to the table, Thompson is a treat on tape. He is the little ball of energy every team could use, and as he transitions into the NFL, he should have no trouble carving out a role in the NFL and sticking.


Hello, I’m Nick Farabaugh and I’m an aspiring Sports Jounalist / Broadcaster / Football Scout. You will notice that I love three things in football: The Pittsburgh Steelers, the Draft, and the backstory of everything possible in the sport. I’m in the Devy department and love the draft and scouting players. I try my best to get all evaluations correct but I’m never perfect. I also write for SB Nation’s Behind the Steel Curtain and Blitzalytics. On both platforms I write about things different than on here. BTSC is a Steelers site, so it’s all Steelers. And Blifzalytics is more analytically driven content. If you need contact me, find me on Twitter @FarabaughFB or at my email

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