|NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Clemson DT Brandon Thompson||04.01.12 at 6:12 pm ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2012 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Defensive tackle
Weight: 310 pounds
Achievements: All-ACC second team (2011)
What he brings: Generally regarded as the top defensive tackle in the 2012 draft, Thompson is heralded for his burst off the snap and his good lateral agility that helps him chase down the quarterback. He is a strong anchor for the defensive line but doesn’t have the bulk to stand up well against a double-team. He needs to learn to use his hands effectively, but his strength and ability to move quickly on the rush make him an effective player. Thompson could play as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 system or as a defensive end in a 3-4 formation. He is an evolving player and started to blossom in the second half of his junior season, making 43 of his 56 tackles on the season in Clemson’s final seven games.
Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1
Notes: Thompson was nicknamed “Yams” because of his huge thighs that can clog rushing lanes. He won the 2010 Strength Training Award among Clemson defensive tackles and has a 450-pound bench press. Thompson finished fourth on the Tigers with 77 tackles and tied for the team lead in quarterback hurries with 18. He was third on the team with 2.5 sacks.
Video: Here’s Thompson against Boston College.
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