One of the strongest posit Atlanta Falcons strongest position groups, in regards to its starters, is at linebacker. The combination of Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun and Mykal Walker has the potential to flourish under new defensive coordinator Dean Pees. This offseason, the Falcons gained depth at the group with the addition of Brandon Copeland and Barkevious Mingo, and also undrafted rookies Dorian Etheridge and Erroll Thompson.
As part of my UDFA Q&A series, I had the pleasure of speaking with the latter. Thompson attended Mississippi State University. The 6’0, 239 lbs linebacker recorded 96 tackles, three sacks and an interception during the 2020 season. Like many other rookies added this offseason, Thompson served as a team captain for two seasons. One fascinating thing about Thompson joining the Falcons is he’s one of three players in this UDFA class from the same school, as he will also be joined by his college teammates Kobe Jones and Marcus Murphy.
How would you describe your time at Mississippi State and joining your college teammates Kobe Jones and Marcus Murphy on the Falcons?
It was pretty fun. I made a lot of memories. I played for a few different head coaches and a different defensive coordinator every year except for one year. So, kinda a little different to adjust to new coaching staffs, but I feel like it kinda helped me for the most part for down the road.
It’s pretty cool just for us to have the opportunity to do something we’ve always dreamed of and do something we’ve always talked about while in college. It’s awesome just to be back together. We’re enjoying the process.
Did you receive any other offers? What made you ultimately decide to join the Falcons?
I had like 8 or 9 offers. What made me want to join the Falcons is I feel like they value me as a player. I talked to coach Smith on the phone, after the draft and everything. He told me I have a chance to come in and compete. I just felt like Atlanta was the best fit for me, personally.
Have you discussed what your role will be with the Falcons’ staff?
Definitely at MIKE. Just being that run-stopping guy, kinda the enforcer “tough guy” on the field.
Growing up, did you have a favorite team and/or player?
Not so much teams, but I had a few favorite players. I grew up as a running back so LaDainian Tomlinson was definitely my favorite player when I was little.
Have you modeled your game after anyone?
Yes, definitely. Devin White... Bobby Wagner... those two guys there; Devin White being the younger guy doing his thing. Bobby Wagner being the older, veteran guy — I like to watch him.
What motivated you to make it to the NFL?
There’s definitely a lot of motivation factored in there. I feel like it’s something my family has always put on me, since I was a child. Since I was a child, I’ve been working for it. I always felt like my family kinda expected it out of me. So, not so much all skill but definitely there’s been motivation to make it because there’s been pressure on me to do it.
What do you want Falcons fans to know about you?
Man, I’m just a pretty mellow guy. I’ll come in and let my work speak for itself. I am what I am — just a guy who is going to come in and give his all, everyday. I’m just excited to get to work.
Thompson is a very interesting undrafted rookie addition as he’s entering a linebacker group where he absolutely has an opportunity to make the final roster. It’s kind of cliche, but from the film I’ve watched, such as that shown above, Thompson is a thumper who enjoys hitting people.
The Draft Network describes Thompson as:
Erroll Thompson is a top-heavy, old-school, thumper type of MIKE (middle) linebacker. Thompson loves physicality and would stick his head in barbed wire if that was the case to get to the ball. Fearless with sticking his head in the action, he brings lots of physicality to ball-carriers and it’s often that they are knocked cleanly backward when experiencing hits from him. In his game, there’s little hesitancy with his pursuit to the ball. When diagnosing plays cleanly, he flies to the ball as quickly as possible. Seen as the leader of the defense, he’s often seen relaying calls, checks, and helping others who are misaligned on certain plays prior to the snap.
Like with all the rookies, I’m excited to see what impact Thompson will make given a proper rookie mini camp and preseason this summer. Unlike in years past, the new coaching staff will likely give undrafted guys more of an opportunity to prove themselves, as this team has holes and could use affordable contributors. Considering the Falcons only have Deion Jones and Mykal Walker under contract for the long haul at the position, there’s opportunity for Thompson to land a long-term job here.
Thompson has agreed to come on The Falcoholic Live in the near future to answer fan questions and speak more about joining the Falcons, so stay tuned for that!