Who Is Skylar Thompson? Backup QB To Start for Miami Dolphins in Playoff Game

    The Miami Dolphins selected QB Skylar Thompson out of Kansas State in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft, and the rookie is set to start a playoff game.

    When the Miami Dolphins drafted Skylar Thompson in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the selection was no doubt seen as little more than an opportunity to bring in a developmental prospect to compete for a back-end roster spot in training camp. Now, Thompson is set to start the most important Dolphins game of the past five-plus years. How did Thompson get here, and what can Dolphins fans expect from the rookie QB?

    Miami Dolphins To Start Skylar Thompson on Wild Card Weekend

    Thompson, a seventh-round selection out of Kansas State, will start Miami’s first playoff game since the 2016 season: a sentence that is certainly not what head coach Mike McDaniel or Dolphins fans expected to read back when breakout starter Tua Tagovailoa was tearing the league apart en route to a 3-0 start back in September 2022.

    The Dolphins have been fighting through injuries at the quarterback position all season long, most notably with Tagvoailoa, who suffered multiple concussions over the course of the year. The former first-round pick out of Alabama most recently was placed in concussion protocol following the team’s Week 16 loss to the Green Bay Packers and hasn’t yet progressed far enough to return to football activity.

    MORE: Tua Tagovailoa Injury Update

    Veteran backup Teddy Bridgewater has missed snaps due to injuries of his own, including a stint in concussion protocol and, most recently, a dislocated pinky finger. Bridgewater suffered the latest injury during Miami’s Week 17 loss to the New England Patriots, pushing Thompson into the lineup for an ugly Week 18 victory over the New York Jets.

    Against the Jets, Thompson connected on 20 of 31 passing attempts for 152 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions against a stingy New York secondary in an ugly defensive slugfest that saw Miami barely eke out an 11-6 victory. His dual-threat rushing ability and propensity for making off-schedule plays make him a capable reserve QB in a pinch, but he’ll need to be better to have any chance of taking down the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs.

    Thompson’s Career History

    A four-star recruit from Independence, Missouri, Thompson received offers from nearly a dozen collegiate programs, including Wake Forrest, North Dakota State, Iowa State, and Kansas State. He ultimately joined the Wildcats before redshirting his freshman year and was named co-winner of the team’s Red Raider award winner for excellent contributions on the scout team.

    In his sophomore year, Thompson won the starting job, a role he retained when healthy through five straight seasons. Injuries followed him throughout his collegiate career, as he was forced from action due to issues with his ribs, ankle, and an upper body ailment that required surgery.

    His time at Kansas State saw him become one of the most decorated quarterbacks in program history. He’s the only K-State QB to amass over 6,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards, his six career fourth-quarter comeback drives tie a school record, and his 40 starts and 24 wins are both the most for a Wildcat quarterback since 1990.

    MORE: NFL Mock Draft Simulator

    Thompson was also a Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Semifinalist (2021), was named to the Maxwell Award Watchlist (2021), the Manning Award watch list (2021), and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list (2021), and was named First Team Academic All-Big 12 (2021).

    After declaring for the NFL Draft, Thompson was projected to be selected in the final rounds or highly sought after as a priority undrafted free agent. He was set to turn 25 just two months after the draft, making him one of the oldest prospects available. Thompson was eventually plucked by the Dolphins in the seventh round with the 246th pick, the team’s final selection of the draft that year.

    He signed a four-year, $3.74 million deal with the team and entered training camp behind Tagovailoa and Bridgewater on the depth chart.

    Heading into the preseason, many roster projections had Thompson set to be among the team’s final roster cuts, possibly with a chance to join the practice squad. But a wildly impressive preseason, including a league-leading five touchdown passes, forced McDaniel and general manager Chris Grier to keep Thompson on the active roster for fear of losing him to another team.

    Ahead of roster cuts, McDaniel spoke to Thompson’s outstanding preseason play, explaining, “I think he’s opened eyes with the way he’s played, and you know, it’s made that situation very tricky in terms of whether or not you can try to have [him] on [the] practice squad or keep them on the 53.”

    Of course, that tricky situation led to Thompson sticking around and playing meaningful snaps for Miami in 2022. Now, he’ll have a chance to prove he was definitively worth that extra roster spot in a Wild Card bout against the divisional rival Bills.

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