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Scouting Jets offensive lineman Tom Compton

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Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With the new league year underway, we’re going to break down each of the Jets’ new additions in detail. We continue today with former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Tom Compton.

The 29-year old Compton is listed at 6’5” and 308 pounds and is a former sixth round pick. Compton has started 29 games in his NFL career, including 14 for the Vikings last year. He spent his first four years in Washington and a year each in Atlanta and Chicago.

Background

Compton was recruited to South Dakota where he put together a solid career, starting 43 games over four years. He was an honorable mention all-GWC selection as a freshman and then was a first-teamer in each of his last four seasons.

As a senior, Compton was an FCS all-American and the GWC offensive lineman of the year, earning a spot in the East West Shrine Game.

Compton was drafted by Washington in the sixth round of the 2012 draft but failed to make their roster out of camp in his rookie year. However, he was added to the practice squad and then placed on the active roster in December, although he didn’t play.

Compton made his NFL debut in 2013, playing in 15 games and seeing some action as an extra offensive lineman.

In 2014, Compton was given the starting right tackle job in the middle of the season and started the last nine games of the year. However, in 2015 he returned to a reserve role.

In 2016, he signed a one-year deal with Atlanta and again spent the year in a reserve role as the Falcons went all the way to the Super Bowl.

He signed for the Bears at the start of the 2017 season and started five games, including the first two games of the year.

Last season saw Compton with a new team for the fourth season in a row and he started a career-high 14 games after a preseason injury to Nick Easton.

The Jets signed Compton to a one-year contract last month.

Now let’s take a look at what Compton brings to the table, divided into categories.

Measurables/Athleticism

Compton posted a solid set of numbers at his combine workout, with above average to good numbers in every category apart from the bench press, where he just posted 20 reps.

He has decent size but below average length.

Usage

Compton has experience at four of the five offensive line positions, but has never played center. He started two years at right tackle and two at left tackle in college, then started his first nine games at the NFL level at right tackle in 2013. He’s also seen plenty of preseason reps at left tackle and some regular season action there as an injury replacement.

From 2015 onwards, he started to see action at guard, starting two games at left guard and three at right guard with the Bears in 2017. His 14 starts last year were all at left guard.

He’s also been used as a jumbo package tight end.

Pass Protection

Compton has managed to hold up in pass protection when called upon as an emergency back-up but has some issues when relied upon as a full-time starter. In 2013, he gave up six sacks in nine games at right tackle and in 2018, he gave up seven in fourteen games at left guard, which was the fifth highest total in the league for a guard.

Compton has lapses in pass protection because he lacks length and can be overpowered even when he gets his hands on his man, but one issue he has is that he can let his man get too far upfield before engaging him.

His footwork is generally good but he can struggle to recover when someone has a quick first step, as he does here.

Run Blocking

Over the course of his career, Compton has graded out as an average blocker most of the time.

Compton isn’t regarded as a dominant run blocker, but he displays good enough technique that he can move people if he gets his hands on them.

He takes pretty good angles, which makes him effective at picking up blocks in space. He can also move seamlessly from one assignment to another.

Compton also has the mobility to block on the move, although he does sometimes have a tendency to over-rely on cut blocks when he has a chance to pick up a block cleanly.

Screen Blocking

Compton also has the athleticism to contribute in the screen game by getting out in front, as he shows here.

In addition to making the initial block, Compton will also hustle down the field in an effort to find someone else to block.

Footwork/Technique

By far Compton’s worst game of last year was against the Rams, as he simply couldn’t cope with Aaron Donald’s speed. This quickness advantage enabled Donald to keep Compton from getting his hands on him.

While Compton usually moves his feet well, he has a tendency to lunge if he loses a leverage advantage and this can affect his balance and make him susceptible to bull rushes.

Aggressiveness/Physicality

Compton battles hard to stay on his blocks to the whistle and displays plenty of hustle when on the move. However, he’s not the kind of player you’d single out for his nastiness.

Compton has had 15 penalties in his career, including four for holding. He’s never had a personal foul. The six penalties he had last season were the most he’s ever had in one year.

Special Teams

Compton was employed as a blocker on the kickoff return unit in 2015 with Washington and 2016 with Atlanta, but otherwise his special teams contributions have just been as a blocker on field goals and extra points.

Washington had a couple of touchdowns on kickoff returns in 2015, as Compton made his block on this 99-yard return by ex-Jet Andre Roberts.

Instincts/Intelligence

Compton is considered to have good smarts, which is obviously a factor in his excellent versatility.

He shows good awareness on this play as he loses the battle at the point of attack so readjusts to drive his man upfield and out of the play instead.

While he doesn’t seem to have many on-field mental lapses, Compton has been called for eight pre-snap penalties, including five false starts.

Attitude

Compton is a popular teammate, was a team captain in college and doesn’t have any off-field concerns. His high school coach has lauded his incredible work ethic.

As noted, he doesn’t necessarily have a nasty side, although he gives good effort and shows frustration when he makes a mistake.

Injuries

Injuries haven’t been a major problem for Compton. However, he missed two games last season with a sprained MCL. He also had a shoulder issue later on in the season, but did not miss any time. He suffered a concussion at the end of the 2017 season.

Scheme Fit

Compton has shown a good ability to pull and block on the move in power sets, but also had some impressive zone blocking plays in the running game, so should fit into the Jets’ system well. In pass protection, he can hold up in a quick passing game, but could be a liability if required to stay in front of his man for longer periods of time.

In 2017, Compton played for offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, who is now in the same role for the Jets, so he has a good chance to make a swift transition and the staff presumably sees him as a fit.

Conclusions

Compton’s best asset is his ability to play either tackle spot and either guard spot, which could make him a valuable reserve. He’s not a great option as a starter but has plenty of experience of standing in over the course of his career.

On the basis of his film, Compton seems capable of being reliable as a run blocker but has some issues in pass protection. Although he will have played on five teams in five years if he makes the Jets, it’s interesting to note that he’s only ever been cut once - at the end of his rookie preseason, after which he ended up on the practice squad and made the roster later in the year anyway.

Compton isn’t a lock to win a roster spot, but Jets fans will hope he can prove himself to be a more reliable reserve than Brent Qvale has been over the past few years. Dieugot Joseph, Jordan Morgan and Ben Braden will also be battling for bench roles.