Broncos Sneak Into 7th Round, Snag Pair of Defenders


The Denver Broncos were thought to be done drafting for the day, but they made a move back into the 7th round to pick up a couple of defenders who fell a bit further than they anticipated, and they gave up a 5th round pick in next year's draft to Tampa Bay in order to do it

With the 225th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Broncos selected California defensive back/return specialist Syd'Quan Thompson.  Thompson is a smaller corner at only 5'9" 186 pounds, but that is right about the size of cornerback McDaniels has consistently brought into Denver, save for Champ and fifth round cornerback Perrish Cox.

Thompson plays a lot bigger than his size indicates, and is considered to be a top tier nickel cornerback prospect at the next level.  He has great quickness, can contribute on special teams, and is tough as nails.

With the 232nd pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Broncos selected Indiana defensive end Jammie Kirlew, who projects as a hybrid linebacker at the next level.  The Broncos are very thin at the hybrid linebacker/defensive end position, so this selection makes a ton of sense. 

While Kirlew isn't the most physically gifted player out there, he makes up for it with his non-stop motor, leadership, and being relentless.  He was an All-Big 10 performer for the Hoosiers, and one of the team captains.

Here is a scouting report of Thompson via CBS Sports:

Thompson is a feisty competitor who has been a staple in the Cal defense for years. He's provided the Golden Bears with a lockdown defender in the secondary the past four seasons and holds the school record with 52 career starts. Despite his size, he is a physical player who challenges any receiver he faces. He has a knack for getting in between receivers and the ball, setting a school record with 36 pass deflections.

The most surprising aspect of Thompson's game is his willingness to help out in run support. The aggressive cornerback is a solid open-field tackler who holds the edge and consistently prevents runners from gaining yards on the outside. He's not afraid to take on lead blockers or come up and hit running backs. His 258 career tackles (166 solos) tie for eighth on the school's all-time record list, a rare feat for a cornerback.

Thompson's physical and disciplined play makes him an ideal fit in a heavy zone-oriented defensive scheme or in a nickel role playing vs. the slot. He's very instinctive, reacts quickly, and has shown great durability for a smaller defender with his kind of aggressive play.

Thompson enjoyed a stellar prep career at Grant Union High School (Sacramento, Calif.). He was presented with California's Junior "Mr. Football Award" by CalHiSports.com in 2003 and earned first-team All-Metro League and All-State while rushing for 950 yards and 18 touchdowns and catching 15 passes for 360 yards (24.0 avg) and four scores. On defense, the cornerback registered 79 tackles and five interceptions.

As a senior, Thompson led his team to a playoff berth and a 9-2 overall record while earning second-team All-Metro honors from the Sacramento Bee. The two-way standout rushed for 1,136 yards and 13 touchdowns, and collected over 70 tackles and two interceptions. He was named a Prep Star and Super Prep All-American, and was invited to play in the Cali-Florida Bowl, an annual matchup between all-stars from California and Florida.

Thompson was given a four-star rating from Scout.com, who listed him as the nation's 13th-best cornerback prospect. Rivals.com also gave him a four-star rating, ranking him as the 13th-best athlete prospect in the country and the 21st-best prospect in California. He narrowed his decision to Arizona, California, Kansas State, Oklahoma, and UCLA before ultimately signing with the Golden Bears.

Thompson enrolled at Cal in 2005 and retained eligibility by redshirting his first season. The following year, he started all 13 games after Tim Mixon went down with a knee injury in the preseason and was honored as the team's Most Valuable Freshman. He finished sixth on the team with 60 tackles, while adding an interception, two fumble recoveries and two pass deflections.

He earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honors from The Sporting News. In the team's regular-season finale vs. Stanford, Thompson put Cal's first points of the day on the board by returning a fumble 15 yards for a touchdown, helping the Golden Bears to a 26-17 victory.

In 2007, Thompson again started all 13 games and finished fourth on the team with a career-high 78 tackles, including six tackles for loss, one interception with a 38-yard return, one forced fumble and a team-high 10 pass deflections.

Thompson had a breakout junior season in 2008, again starting all 13 games and earning first-team All-Pac-10 Conference honors. The cornerback made 70 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss and registered team-high with four interceptions returned for 128 yards and 14 pass deflections. He set a new school record and ranked fifth nationally with 18 total passes defended.

Cal's Most Valuable Defensive Back Award winner also set a school game-record with a Pac-10 season-high 108 yards in interception returns off of two picks vs. Washington State, including a 90-yard return that tied for the fifth-longest in school history. He earned Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week vs. Colorado State when he returned five punts for a Pac-10 season-high 131 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown return.

Thompson returned as a senior with lofty expectations after being named to the watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Award (top defensive player), Chuck Bednarik Award, (top defensive player), Thorpe Award (top defensive back) and the Lott Trophy (top defensive impact player of the year).

The shutdown corner started all 13 games for the fourth season in a row, setting a new school record for career starts, and earned first-team All-Pac-10 Conference honors while collecting 50 tackles, four tackles for loss, a team-high ten pass deflections and one interception which he returned 38 yards.

 

Here is a scouting report of Kirlew from CBS Sports:

Pass rush: Gives consistent effort during the play and throughout the game, attacking the quarterback until he releases the ball. Can beat tackles with power or speed; gets under their pads to knock them off balance or under the outside shoulder to turn the corner. Inside/outside spin move is effective in pass rush and to get off blocks outside.

Run defense: Plays low and in an athletic position to break down in space and stand his ground against pulling linemen or blocking fullbacks. Not great change-of-direction skills and must improve his flexibility and quick-twitch movement to switch to linebacker. Needs to use violent hands more consistently to defeat running back cut blocks and disengage from tackles. Aware of his containment responsibilities on the edge, maintains outside leverage to force play to the linebackers.

Explosion: Gets out of his stance and upfield quickly in passing situations. Has some pop getting into his man's chest when playing the run, but isn't big enough to knock him back.

Strength: Strong, well-built upper body with the ability to bull rush and also the hands to shed on the outside using leverage against taller tackles. Also strong in the lower half but still lacks bulk; can be handled easily in space by linemen and blown off the line by tackle-tight end combos.

Tackling: Explosive tackler who brings it hard every play. Good burst to the ball and has length and strength to wrap up ballcarriers and quarterbacks in the backfield. Will miss tackles in space with average change of direction ability. Active inside and hustles downfield to either sideline to make plays. Not an efficient running motion; arms far away from his side as he goes to the ball.

Intangibles: Team captain. High effort and character player who is a leader in the locker room and the community. Named to the AFCA Good Works team and nominated for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award and the Wooden Cup, awarded to a college and professional athlete making the greatest positive influence on the lives of others.

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