2016 NFL Draft: Exclusive interview with DE Ron Thompson

Oct 24, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers running back Chris James (5) makes a cut to get past Syracuse Orange defensive end Ron Thompson (13) during the first quarter of a game at the Carrier Dome. Pittsburgh won 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 24, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers running back Chris James (5) makes a cut to get past Syracuse Orange defensive end Ron Thompson (13) during the first quarter of a game at the Carrier Dome. Pittsburgh won 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports /

As the 2016 NFL Draft approaches, defensive end Ron Thompson out of Syracuse prepares for his journey into the pros. Here is an exclusive interview with him discussing his preparation and excitement heading into the NFL.

The annual 2016 NFL Combine is an opportunity for over 300 collegiate athletes to show the pros what they’re made of. The Pro Day for each of the respective collegiate athletes is an opportunity to improve on several metrics.

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Even though Syracuse University’s annual Pro Day is closed to the media and the public, I got the opportunity to interview Ron Thompson after his workout and here is what he had to say:

Q: What was the feedback when you submitted your name to the advisory board? What was the grade they gave you?

RT: “I didn’t actually get a grade back because I already knew I was going to be taken, I just didn’t want to wait and find out. I wanted to start the process: get an agent and start him working for me. I’ve been hearing great things about me getting drafted and hopefully I’ve built on that today (at my Pro Day) and made people more comfortable drafting me.”

Q: From your answer it seems like it doesn’t really matter to you when you get drafted am I reading that right?

RT: “Actually no it doesn’t, I just want my chance and when I get that chance I feel like I’m going to show people that I deserved it.”

Q: Would it shock you if teams asked you about standing up in a 3-4?

RT: “Oh no actually most teams don’t see me as a hand in the dirt four down defensive linemen. Most teams have said they see me as a 3-4 outside linebacker or even tight end. So I’m just willing to do whatever is going to get me to that next level and get me paid.”

Video via @RonCuse13: Former Syracuse DE Ron Thompson catches a pass during Pro Day: https://t.co/BqYTV2V9l3

— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) March 23, 2016

Syracuse football beat-writer for the Post-Standard Stephen Bailey tweeted out a video from Thompson’s Instagram of the versatile athlete running some routes. For a guy who hasn’t played the position in years, he looked pretty fluid out there on the football field.

Which will only add to his versatility and assuredly his draft stock. When Thompson was asked about particular teams he felt like had strong interest in him, a huge smile came across his face.

RT: “Well no… I can’t be saying that yet haha. I kind of have a feel, but I just want to leave it where it’s at. I don’t really want to say anything.”

Going back to the tight end comment earlier in the interview, Thompson expanded on what NFL teams have been talking to him about with his projection at the next level.

RT: “Most teams talk to me about defensive end and then they hit me with what about tight end? I reply with I’ll do it, again I’ll do anything that’ll get me to that next level and which ever will get me paid, I’ll do it.”

Feb 28, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Syracuse Orangemen defensive lineman Ron Thompson gets measured during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Moving the conversation towards Thompson’s performance at the combine and what drills specifically he looked to improve upon at his Pro Day:

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RT: “The main thing I tried to improve upon was the 40 time because I know I’m faster than 4.9 and the L-drill and I knew I was faster than a 7.4.”

Q: “How did you feel about the experience of the combine and your Pro Day, what did you take away from today?”

RT: “It was a lot more nerve racking at the combine because you’re performing in front of people you’ve never seen before. Also the dead silence kind of gets to you.”

Q: “How do you anticipate the transition from the collegiate game to the pros especially with the inevitable probability of going from 4-3 DE to 3-4 OLB?”

RT: “I don’t anticipate the transition being that hard because I feel like my whole life I’ve been making transitions. From putting my hand in the dirt to standing up I feel like I can do either-or and I mean it’s what NFL teams want me to do so it’s an adjustment I have to make.”

Q: “So finally Ron, how strong of a case is it that you had your best year in your last year with the Orange and that every season that you were here you improved your statistics exponentially?”

RT: “I mean that is pretty much what you want to do. Especially since I feel like this is pretty much my first year playing a position that fits my body because I played defensive tackle my first two years here. I feel like I showed what I could do this year and I’m only going to improve next year.”

An intriguing question that I’ve asked prospects before is do they have a team in the back of their heads that they’d like to go and I’ve heard a lot of different answers over the years, but Thompson revealed that he doesn’t care where he ends up as long as he gets a chance. Which mirrors his earlier comments on his disregard for the round he ends up getting selected in because all he wants is a chance to prove himself.

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Thompson is a very humble individual who has put in the work and is ready for the draft. He spoke to me after the interview and told me that he plans on being around the people who had something to do with him getting to where he’s at to watch the draft.