SALT LAKE CITY — Much like when he first arrived in Logan, former Utah State running back Darwin Thompson sounds ready to hit the ground running in Kansas City.
The 5-foot-8, 200-pound back was taken by the Chiefs with the final pick of the 2019 NFL draft’s sixth round Saturday as the draft's 214th overall selection. He quickly took to Twitter to share his enthusiasm with Kansas City fans.
“#GODSPLAN CHIEFS KINGDOM thank you for believing in me!!” he posted on Twitter.
Thompson quickly followed with, “I am coming for ya.”
Thompson made an immediate impact at Utah State in his lone season there in 2018. After transferring to Logan following a second-team junior college All-America campaign in 2017, Thompson found a place in the running back rotation and started nine games for the Aggies.
He had five 100-yard rushing games at USU and finished the Aggies’ 11-2 season with a team-best 153 carries for 1,044 yards, good enough for a 6.8 yard-per-carry average, and added 14 touchdowns.
He’ll take that kind of game to Kansas City in hopes of breaking his way into the Chiefs rotation, after declaring for the draft following his junior year. He joins a Kansas City team that advanced to the AFC championship game last year behind young star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
"This kid’s really put together. I think when you see him in the building, he’s a real rocked-up dude," Chiefs scout Trey Koziol said of Thompson in a press conference following the selection. "I thought he had really good strength, really good contact balance.
"He runs with a low center of gravity. That’s one of the things the guys at Utah State mentioned. He was pound for pound probably the strongest kid in their program, just in terms of his lower body strength."
Other running backs on the Kansas City roster include five-year veteran Carlos Hyde, who signed a one-year deal with the team in March, Damien Williams, Aaron Ripkowski and Darrel Williams. Kansas City’s leading rusher from last year, Kareem Hunt, was released late in the 2018 season following a domestic violence incident.
At least on paper, it appears Thompson could find a way to make an impact early in his career.
Koziol sees Thompson as a nice change-of-pace back option for Kansas City. Thompson was also adept in the passing game for USU, catching 23 passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns.
"He’s obviously a little bit undersized, but in terms of his twitch and his burst, (he's) that change-of-pace guy who can get out and make moves in space," Koziol said. "He is a big-play threat. He always was a big-play threat for them at Utah State. It gives us a little bit different dimension in terms of the passing game and guys who can operate out in space, too."1 comment on this story
Thompson is the fifth Utah State running back to be selected in the NFL draft since 2012. He joins Robert Turbin (2012, fourth round, Seattle), Michael Smith (2012, seventh, Tampa Bay), Kerwynn Williams (2013, seventh, Indianapolis) and Devante Mays (2017, seventh, Green Bay).
Thompson told SB Nation before the draft that he believed playing the spread at Utah State would benefit him as he transitions to being a pro.
“Just imagine Barry Sanders in today’s offense. He would kill the game,” he told Christian D’Andrea.
“That’s what I plan on doing.”