Texans front office executive leaves for Commanders

In a surprising move, KPRC2’s NFL and Texans insider Aaron Wilson broke the news that the Houston Texans’ Director of Team Development Dylan Thompson was leaving the organization to sign with the Washington Commanders. 

Wilson reports that the position with the Commanders is “for a similar role.” The reported lateral move comes as a bit of a shock due to several factors. Thompson is highly-regarded as seen by the recent comments of reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud and Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr.

That’s quite the endorsement for the resume. Here’s more on the former SEC and NFL quarterback’s background. 

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Texans front office executive leaves for Commanders

As a quarterback prospect, Thompson played his high school football at Boiling Springs in South Carolina. It’s less than a three-hour drive from my former high school in South Florence, in Florence, South Carolina.

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Despite both being called the “Carolinas,”  the passion for “ball” takes on different meanings north and south of the border. While I was living in Charlotte for a few years, college basketball was treated like the pastime. Whereas, growing up in South Carolina, college football was treated in this manner. 

Thompson excelled in both sports, receiving collegiate offers for each. He would go on to play for the South Carolina Gamecocks. Thompson sat behind Connor Shaw for the majority of 2011-2013. Shaw threw for 56 TDs and 16 INTs for the Gamecocks during his time there. 

Thompson saw spot action his first couple of years and threw 14 TDs and 5 INTs combined in 2012 and 2013. He started 13 games in his final season where he completed 60% of his passes for 3,574 yards 26 TDs and 11 INTs.

Like Shaw before him, Thompson went undrafted in the NFL. He signed with the 49ers and visited the Texans for the team’s preseason game in 2015.

Blaine Gabbert saw most of the action in Week 1 of the preseason, while Colin Kaepernick hardly played. Thompson got in the game and completed 4-of-6 passes for 15 yards and an interception.

After the game, I went to the visitor’s locker room and met with Thompson as I had previously become acquainted with him as a prospect while evaluating him pre-draft. He was polite, well-mannered and just seemed like a good kid. 

If you told me then that he would one day be a character coach and Texans’ director of team development, I wouldn’t be surprised as that appeared to be him to his core. Genuine, humble and comfortable away from the spotlight with his faith at the core of who he is as a man.

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Thompson’s career arc

After his time with the 49ers and, later, the Rams came to an end, Thompson headed back to South Carolina where he became the Director of Player Development for the men’s basketball team at Charleston Southern.

In the following years he would head back to the pros to become the character coach for the Detroit Lions. After three years in the Motor City, Thompson headed back south to become the Director of Team Development for the Texans.

Now, after three years in Houston, he’s headed to D.C. for what seems like a lateral move, from what’s been reported. 

Why would Thompson leave the Texans?

I guess the biggest question is: Why did Thompson depart? The young players like Stroud, Anderson Jr. and others have spoken glowingly about how he’s helped their transition to the pros, both on and off the field. 

Receiver Nico Collins has worked off to the side with the former quarterback Thompson since they both arrived in 2021 and continued into this offseason. Collins could be seen yearly, working on different types of catches to fine-tune his game.

While Thompson may not be the main reason why Collins blossomed into the talent that he’s become, it does illustrate his value in different facets. 

Three years in Detroit followed by three years in Houston. Maybe he felt his path had run its course in the bayou city and he was looking for a new challenge. It may have been due to business or personal. We may never know.

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What we do know is that the Texans lost a talent from their organization today and a great person. Washington deserves kudos for adding Thompson as he’s an ideal get if you’re looking to spread enthusiasm and character through an organization with plans on a culture change.

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