Wildcats Draft Profiles: Skylar Thompson is Kansas State’s best draft bet

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Feb 3, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; West quarterback Skylar Thompson of Kansas State (7) looks for an open receiver during the East/West Shrine Bowl at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas State Wildcats do not have a standout prospect in the coming 2022 NFL Draft. While several players have late-round grades, quarterback Skylar Thompson is one to watch.

Quarterback Skylar Thompson has had one of the more memorable tenures as a Kansas State Wildcat. He joined the program in 2016 and saw his final snap come in 2022. Sure, the COVID-19 pandemic extended his time at the school, but Kansas State fans were more than happy to welcome him back. He capped off his time with a memorable performance in the TaxAct Texas Bowl, leading the Wildcats to victory over the LSU Tigers and earning himself MVP honors.

But, not every college career can last forever. Thompson will be 25 before the next NFL season, making him much older than many of his draft-prospect colleagues. But, he certainly left his mark on the Wildcats. His 40 starts and 24 career wins as a starting quarterback are the most among all Kansas State quarterbacks since at least 1990. Also, he is the only player in school history with 6,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a career. Kansas State is known for dual-threat quarterbacking, including school greats Collin Klein and Michael Bishop, but Thompson stood above both in many marks.

Similar to the Wildcats moving on to transfer quarterback Adrian Martinez, Thompson had to move on. He logically started testing the draft waters following the 2021 season. He and defensive back Russ Yeast competed against each other in the 97th East-West Shrine Bowl. Thompson came in for the West squad after halftime and threw a touchdown pass and a beautiful fade pass for the 2-pt conversion on his opening drive. He then led West down for the game-winning score later in the game.

All in all, Thompson ended the game with 6-of-9 passing for 76 yards and a touchdown along with three rushes for eight yards in a 25-24 victory by his West squad.

Thompson’s standout performance was just the boost his draft stock needed. He is currently one of only 15 quarterbacks invited to this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. The combine, held in Indianapolis from March 1-7, is the best pre-draft prospect showcase. Getting invited alone is a stamp of approval, while a good combine performance elevates one’s draft stock drastically.

With that said, Thompson is the only Kansas State player invited to the combine. That alone tells how shallow this year’s Kansas State draft prospect pool is. NFL Draft Buzz has only five Wildcats rated as draft prospects. They are:

  • Skylar Thompson, QB, Kansas State
  • Josh Rivas, OL, Kansas State
  • Khalid Duke, DE, Kansas State
  • Nick Lenners, TE, Kansas State
  • Russ Yeast, DB, Kansas State

Out of that list, Thompson is the one who stands out, by far. How could Thompson translate to the next level, drafted or not?

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