Heeeeere's Jeremy!

  As the Packers OTAs have progressed, one of the most surprising stories has been the rapid ascension up the depth chart of Jeremy Thompson.


 

As the Packers OTAs have progressed, one of the most surprising stories has been the rapid ascension up the depth chart of Jeremy Thompson.

 

 

 

A fourth round draft pick out of Wake Forest (102nd overall) in 2008, Thompson saw limited action in his rookie season.

Thompson was inactive for the Packers first four games, but when Cullen Jenkins’ season came to an early end, Thompson stepped into the defensive end rotation. He eventually started 3 games, but was hampered for much of the last seven games with an assortment of injuries.

Thompson didn’t get a chance to show very much in 2008, but the Packers coaches thought he could be a contributor at DE in 2009 if he bulked up and added another 15 pounds to his 270lb frame.

Then of course, the defensive coaching purge hit Green Bay on Jan 5th, 2009. Soon after, new coaches and a new 3-4 defensive system were introduced.

In retrospect, it was the best thing that could have happened for Jeremy Thompson. He is now being asked to play a position the new Packer coaches feel he is a natural for.

Thompson changed his training regimen over the off-season, emphasizing speed and hip-flexibility drills. He also abandoned the need to put on more weight, instead focusing on becoming leaner and stronger at the same time. The end result was he actually dropped 10 pounds, while gaining speed, flexibility and strength.

Thompson has also been working extensively since January with linebackers coach Kevin Greene on techniques and tactics. He says every day Coach Greene will pick one aspect of his game that needs improving and work on it extensively. Greene has commented that he is “excited” by Thompson’s athletic ability.

Evidently, all these factors have sent Thompson rocketing up the depth chart. He was installed as the first team right OLB at OTAs even before 2009 #1 pick Clay Matthews III injured his hamstring.

There have been a multitude of positive quotes about Jeremy Thompson coming out of Green Bay. Mike McCarthy called him “a natural fit for this defense”.  Dom Capers said, “He’s made progress and, through just a short period of time we’ve been around him, has been encouraging. I think he has the ability to play the position.”

Capers also warned, however, not to read too much into who’s on the No. 1 unit during OTAs, because there will be significant competition for the job in training camp.

So as this relative unknown makes his bid for a starting spot over the much more high-profile Clay Matthews III and veteran Brady Poppinga, it left me wanting to know more about Jeremy Thompson.


Here are some additional nuggets of information you may find enlightening:

Thompson did play some linebacker in High School, as well as tight end, running back and wide receiver. He also earned four letters in basketball, three in track and one in tennis.   Natural athlete.

At Wake Forest, he was a two-time Academic All-ACC selection. Intelligent

As a senior at Wake forest, was a finalist for the NCAA National Sportsmanship Award.   Good Person

Played in 46 games with 32 starts for Wake Forest and finished his career with 111 tackles, 20½ tackles for loss and 8½ sacks. He also blocked two field goals and had two interceptions, one of which he returned for 86 yards and a touchdown.   Productive.

Although Wake Forest plays a 4-3 defense, they do often drop their defensive ends into pass coverage, like an outside linebacker. At times, he even lined up on the slot receiver.  Versatile.

So putting all these facts together, our quickie profile of Jeremy Thompson reads: Natural athlete, intelligent, good person, productive, and versatile. Sounds like “Packer People.”

Will all of this translate to a significant role for Jeremy Thompson in 2009? We’ll have a better idea after they put the pads on at the first mandatory mini camp June 22nd. Stay tuned…

For even more nuggets of information about Jeremy Thompson, check the end of my article here.

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You can find more of Jersey Al Bracco’s articles on several sports websites: NFL Touchdown, Packers Lounge, Packer Chatters , Jersey Al’s Blog and Bleacher Report.

__________________________

"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  Follow Al on twitter at @JerseyalGBP

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Comments (13)

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Alex Tallitsch's picture

June 18, 2009 at 08:23 am

Perhaps Kevin Greene is the guy we thought he was. This is refreshing to hear, but I still am not sold. Perhaps he found his fit... on a side note Al, I haven't forgotten about Brandon Jackson.

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Jersey Al's picture

June 18, 2009 at 08:30 am

OK, lets reprise. Brandon Jackson as a rookie was a disaster - completely overmatched, couldn't make a decision if his life depended on it. I did see improvement last year. He started just hitting a hole more instead of waiting to decide which hole to pick. He still has a long way to go, and will be a good backup, at best. Lumpkin on the other hand, in the limited time we saw him, looked like a natural. He runs hard, makes quick cuts, makes up his mind instantly and can leave the DBs on the ground wondering where he went. Now, I want to see more, but if what I saw last preseason was for real - he's the guy.

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Bobby.O.Shea's picture

June 18, 2009 at 08:38 am

he has a chance to be a player, but i still think that CM3 will be the starter when the regular season rolls around. McCarthy has to make the rookie earn it, which is all he's done his entire life.

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Jersey Al's picture

June 18, 2009 at 08:47 am

I think you're right, but it's always cool to find a hidden gem on your roster. Maybe in 2010, Matthews and Thompson are our starting OLBs. If Kampman decides to go elsewhere...

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Asshalo's picture

June 18, 2009 at 08:47 am

As Brian at RBC pointed out a little while ago, they're not wearing pads/hitting, meaning the most athletic people on the field will naturall stand out. I hope it's not that though. We need as many productive pass rushers as we can get

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Jersey Al's picture

June 18, 2009 at 08:50 am

Of course. As much as anyone, I've warned about getting too excited by what we see as they're running around in shorts. But, it was still good to hear about someone benefiting from the 3-4 move.

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Franklin Hillside's picture

June 18, 2009 at 09:37 am

Good point, Al. It's refreshing to hear of a player who is already on the roster that is tailor made for the position he is being put in.

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Greg C.'s picture

June 18, 2009 at 09:36 am

I remain skeptical because Thompson got lots of playing time last year and didn't do squat. But everyone seems to agree that this switch to the 3-4 will benefit him probably more than any other player on the roster. I would like to see him make an impact on special teams, at the very least. And it would be great to have him pushing Matthews and being ready to step in if someone gets injured.

Thanks for all the good info. I didn't know much about him.

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Jersey Al's picture

June 18, 2009 at 09:52 am

I would disagree, Greg, that he got lots of playing time. In Thompson's defense, he only appeared in 9 games. He only started in two, and had a variety of injuries that limited his play in many of those games. Also, at the 4-3 DE position, how many guys come in as rookies and are immediately productive? Few first-rounders, never mind fourth-rounders, have been able to do that. Rookie DEs usually need a couple of years to bulk up, learn techniques, etc.

So, I don't think we can necessarily criticize him for last year. Once Matthews is healthy, he probably wins the job, but Thompson could be a good backup and maybe next year be a starter if Kampman decides to walk.

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Asshalo's picture

June 18, 2009 at 04:36 pm

I wouldn't write a rookie year like Thompson's off at all. We knew when we drafted him he was very promising, but he would be a bit of a work in progress.

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MrBacon's picture

June 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Just remember, Ted Thompson traded up to get Jeremy.

Thompson saw something in him and Matthews to trade up, and based on his draft resume of having decent picks, with few bad ones (based on 1st rounds vs. 7th rounders), the worse these guys will be, will be nothing less than roleplayers. If healthy, both can make the pro bowl if they study hard, even make a all-decade team.

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Jersey Al's picture

June 18, 2009 at 03:16 pm

It was the first time TT had traded up. That was in my "more nuggets of information" link...

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MrBacon's picture

June 18, 2009 at 07:27 pm

Yes, just added more detail. :D

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