Panthers news: Ron Rivera praises Shaq Thompson's 'versatility'
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Panthers’ Ron Rivera praises Shaq Thompson’s ‘versatility’

Shaq Thompson, Ron Rivera

Shaq Thompson is not exactly a household name, but the linebacker has been a regular on the Carolina Panthers defense since 2015, and just because he is not very well-known does not mean he is not appreciated.

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera loves having Thompson around, praising his versatility:

“One of the things we’ve seen in his development over the last couple of years is his versatility,” said Rivera, according to Brendan Marks of The Charlotte Observer. “Everything from having him line up in the nickel position covering receivers to doing some safety work for us, which you guys didn’t catch, which is good.”

Of course, with Thomas Davis around for Thompson’s first four seasons, he never really got a huge opportunity, but with Davis joining the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this offseason, Thompson may finally get a chance to shine.

The 25-year-old is coming off of a 2018 campaign in which he played 14 games and finished with 79 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Thompson, who played his collegiate football at the University of Washington, was originally selected by the Panthers in the first round (25th pick overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft.

He appeared in 14 contests during his rookie year, totaling 48 tackles and a sack. Then, the following season, Thompson participated in 14 games and registered 54 tackles, an interception, a couple of fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown.

The Sacramento native then proceeded to play in 14 more games in 2017, recording 57 tackles, a pair of sacks and a forced fumble.

Carolina won just seven games this past year.