Shaq Thompson makes case to play offense for Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson pleads his case to play on offense.
The Carolina Panthers drafted linebacker Shaq Thompson in the first-round (No. 25 overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. During his rookie campaign Carolina enjoyed their best year in franchise history, winning 15 regular season games before advancing to the Super Bowl and coming up short against the Denver Broncos.
Expected to be groomed as the heir to Thomas Davis, many expected Thompson to take over once the career Panthers linebacker decided to retire. However, each had alternate plans as Davis recently exited Charlotte during the offseason, earning an opportunity with the Los Angeles Chargers after not being re-signed by the only team he’d known throughout a 14 year career in the black and blue.
Entering 2019 the Panthers have high expectations for Thompson, who is expected to see an increase in his playing time with new opportunities. As Carolina shifts from their traditional 4-3 defense to incorporate more 3-4 fronts, the Panthers linebacker is adjusting from playing on the outside to taking snaps within the tackle box.
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A seamless shift is anticipated but Thompson recently discussed the differences with “Good Morning Football” on the NFL Network, in addition to addressing his potential to playing on the offensive side of the football.
Before entering the NFL, Thompson was a two-way player for Washington University earning 512 yards of offense and two touchdowns on his way to winning the Paul Hornung Award for being the most versatile of all collegiate players. A fact he apparently isn’t going to let offensive coordinator Norv Turner soon forget.
According to Thompson, he asks Turner daily, “just let me get a rep, just one rep to show you my skill set?” The fifth-year linebacker also suggests his time to shine is when he acts as a running back for younger defensive players on scout team hoping to help aid in their development.
Thompson currently wears jersey No. 54 and barring a change, his current role is expected to remain the same … but seeing him get an opportunity would be fun to watch.