Undrafted WR Deonte Thompson Speeding Toward Roster Spot in Baltimore

Sigmund BloomNFL Draft Lead WriterJune 19, 2012

Photo courtesy of Mitch Stringer - US Presswire
Photo courtesy of Mitch Stringer - US Presswire

How does a receiver with timed speed in the 4.3s and decent size at 6'0" and 198 pounds go undrafted? Florida Gators fans will tell you that Deonte Thompson's name was mud around Gainesville after his numerous drops and overall inconsistent play. He actually had his lowest yardage and touchdown totals of his career in his senior season, leaving Thompson with little momentum as he attempted to make it in the NFL.

Thompson got a free-agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens after going undrafted, and by all accounts, he is making the most of it.

First in OTAs, Thompson earned the "Most Heads Turned" award from CSNBaltimore writer John Eisenberg. Eisenberg specifically called out Thompson's "nice hands" and noted that he had hooked up with starting quarterback Joe Flacco "several times."

Baltimore Sun writer Jeff Zrebiec joined Eisenberg in calling Thompson a "player to watch come training camp" after OTAs concluded, opining that it wouldn't surprise him if Thompson ended up being a "keeper."

According to Matt Vensel of the Balitmore Sun, Thompson didn't slow down in minicamp. Head coach John Harbaugh conceded that Thompson (and sixth-round pick Tommy Streeter, a fellow speedster) had "made big strides" in a short time with the team after a practice that saw Thompson catch a pair of long touchdowns in 11-on-11s.

CBS Sports' Jason Butt concluded that Thompson was "poised to compete for a roster spot" after making a lot of "standout plays" thus far in his short career. Butt expects that Thompson will end up on the Ravens' practice squad "at worst."

It's easy to dismiss news in May and June because the players aren't in pads, and coaches like to make their draft picks look good. When various writers single out an undrafted rookie, you know that there's some fire underneath that smoke. In this particular case, the fire is coming from Thompson's speed, and for once, his ability to consistently catch the ball.

He has a lot of catching up to do after a disappointing collegiate career, but luckily for Deonte Thompson, that doesn't take long when you run in the 4.3s.