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Colts 2016 player preview: Outside linebacker Ron Thompson

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts will report to training camp on July 26 with their 90-man roster, which will be cut down to 53 players by the end of the preseason. To pass the time until camp, we’re taking a look at every player on the Colts’ 90-man roster. Today, we’re looking at outside linebacker Ron Thompson.

Who is he?

One of the more notable undrafted free agents signed by the Colts this offseason, the team gave Ron Thompson a $15,000 signing bonus – a large number for an undrafted player. He earned it both due to his collegiate performance and the Colts’ desperate need for a pass rusher. Thompson played in 37 games at Syracuse (starting 24) and recorded 87 tackles, 12 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. He left school early and was projected to be drafted after leading the team in sacks in 2015 with seven, but he wasn’t selected. Thompson though the Colts were the best fit for him (what pass rusher wouldn’t?), so he decided to sign with Indianapolis shortly after the draft.

What is his role?

Thompson is transitioning to a 3-4 outside linebacker role with the Colts, and furthermore undrafted agents always are a long shot to make the roster. But Thompson displayed good pass rush skills at Syracuse, and that gives him a real shot to stick around in Indy. It’s no secret that the Colts pass rush is lacking, and they particularly are in need of younger players to develop. They didn’t invest any picks in the first six rounds in the position and didn’t sign anyone in free agency, so that gives Thompson (and other undrafted rookies like Curt Maggitt, as well as seventh round pick Trevor Bates) a better chance. If Thompson can show something – anything – in training camp and preseason that suggests he could continue to develop into a pass rush threat, don’t be surprised to see the Colts keep him around on either the active roster or practice squad.

What are his chances?

Like every pass rusher on the roster, all Ron Thompson needs to do is show he’s worth developing in order to stick around.