When I scouted in the NFL, I often compared draft prospects with current or former NFL players. It's a fun exercise, although not always fair. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the "Jim Brown reminds me of so-and-so" comp. No draft prospect is going to mirror that Hall of Famer's dazzlingly successful career. So, with that in mind, here are 20 notable draft prospects and the first NFL player who popped into my head as a comparison. Each prospect shares some characteristics with his NFL comp.
The NFL Draft is scheduled April 23-25 in Las Vegas.
Fromm has somewhat of a popgun arm and will need to go to the right system. But he sees the field well, gets the ball out on time snap after snap and, most importantly, he is deadly accurate — just like Pennington, who had a 66 percent completion percentage in 11 seasons in the NFL. Fromm had a 63.3 percent completion percentage at Georgia — 67.4 percent in 2018.
Let's be ABSOLUTELY clear: I'm not saying the soon-to-be first overall pick of the Bengals is going to become the best quarterback of all time and win multiple Super Bowls. Burrow does, however, have very Brady-like characteristics. He is a better runner than the future Hall of Famer, but don’t underestimate just how great Brady’s feet are within the pocket. Burrow has that ability, too. He also has the remarkable accuracy that Brady has routinely displayed over his career. Burrow completed 76.3 percent of his passes last season for the national champs.
Prescott is a better passer now than when he came out of school, but even back then, he was ahead of Hurts with his accuracy and especially his timing. That being said, both are as tough as can be and similar as runners; in three seasons at Alabama and one at Oklahoma, Hurts rushed for 3,274 yards. Hurts has that mentality to succeed in the pros that Prescott showed from Day 1 with the Cowboys.
Tagovailoa (6-foot-1), a lefty, and Brees (6-0), a righty, are short, compact quarterbacks. Both have outstanding feet as well as rare touch and accuracy. Tagovailoa has a long way to go to reach Brees’ understanding of the position, but there are striking similarities with how he and the Saints' star throw. Tagovailoa completed nearly 70 percent of his passes in three seasons at Alabama.
These guys are old-school, prototypical running backs with great feet and exceptional long speed for their size. Neither was an accomplished receiver coming out of school, but like Jacksonville's Leonard Fournette, who also fits this mold, those skills could develop early in their NFL careers. Chubb rushed for 1,494 yards for the Browns last season. Taylor, who is 5-foot-10 and 226 pounds, has the potential to be a 1,500-yard back.
Built low to the ground like Jones-Drew, Edwards-Helaire (5-foot-8 and 209 pounds) is a short strider with amazing "foot frequency" — that's scout jargon for "he really moves." Edwards-Helaire is the better receiver of these two, but receiving wasn’t a huge requirement for Jones-Drew during his time in the league from 2006-14. Hey, and these guys each have hypenated last names!.
Moss didn’t run well at the combine (4.65 in the 40), but it really doesn’t matter. Like Barber, who rushed for 4,780 yards during his seven-year NFL career, Moss is extremely difficult to tackle. He has uncanny balance and power and enjoys dishing out punishment, also like Barber. Defenders are in for a long day against this type of running back.
Few athletes move like the Jeudy and Beckham, both of whom have the ideal silky-smooth athleticism. Each explodes out of his breaks, and they excel at catching passes at the highest point. Like Beckham, Jeudy — who ran a 4.45 40 at the combine — may be one of the best wide receiver prospects to enter the league over the past decade.
These guys excel at making contested catches in traffic. Both have rare ball skills and body control. Neither is super-speedy — Lamb ran a 4.5 40 at the combine — but neither has to be. Lamb, who had 3,292 yards receiving in three college seasons, is great after the catch. He averaged 19 yards a reception at Oklahoma, and may be a tad more explosive than Hopkins, a star for the Texans.
At 5-foot-11 and 194 pounds, Reagor isn’t big, but he is powerful and can break tackles after the catch or in a Deebo Samuel-like fashion when given the ball behind the line of scrimmage. Harvin, who played for the Vikings, Seahawks, Jets and Bills during his nine seasons in the NFL, was ahead of his time in this regard. For a short stretch, he was one of the most dominant weapons in the league. Reagor, who had 2,248 yards receiving in college, might be the most underrated player in the draft.
This doesn’t sound like a favorable comparison because Patterson, who played for the Bears in 2019, has not put it together as a wide receiver. But watch his highlights from college and you will see great similarities to Shenault, who had 1,943 yards receiving at Colorado. Both thrive with the ball in their hands and have similar body types and movement skills. Shenault, who is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, is also more developed as a route runner than Patterson.
Like Cook, Okwuegbunam is fast in a straight line, as evidenced by his outstanding 4.49 40-yard dash time at the combine, by far the best time among tight ends. Okwuegbunam, however, isn't a stellar route runner. That's where he must significantly improve, especially on quick-hitting routes, if he is to have the kind of impact Cook had last season with the Saints (43 catches for 705 yards).
Whoa! Is this another one of those “Reminds me of Jim Brown”-type comparisons? Derrick Brown and White, a Hall of Famer, share one characteristic for sure: power. Like "The Minister of Defense," Brown simply throws huge human beings around on the field. He can wreck game plans, and he's very, very large (6-foot-5 and 326 pounds).
These two have the great traits you look for in an interior defensive lineman: long arms, fluidity and the ability to abruptly change directions. Oh, and they are both huge — Kinlaw is 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds; Jones, a star for the Chiefs, is 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds. Talk about similarities!
These guys are eerily similar. Like Peppers, who had 159.5 sacks during a stellar 17-year NFL career, Young may be the second overall pick in the draft. Also like Peppers, Young is a big-time producer — he had 30 sacks in three seasons at Ohio State.
Both of these former LSU linebackers can really run and play in space. Jones isn't top of mind for many fans. But when the Falcon is on his game, he is an elite coverage llnebacker who plays just about as well as anyone in the open field. Queen profiles similarly and will make his impact off the ball rather than in the opposing backfield.
Baun is a Bill Belichick-type of player. He can rush off the edge. He can drop into coverage. He plays the run well. He is fundamentally sound. He plays a true linebacker spot as well as up on the line of scrimmage. Like Van Noy, Baun fits into the Patriots defense perfectly.
Like Urlacher, a Hall of Famer, Simmons could have an instant impact in the NFL. Urlacher was a safety in college and even returned kickoffs! I don't see Simmons returning kickoffs in the NFL, but I see his sideline-to-sideline speed — he ran a 4.39 40 at the combine — helping him wreck offenses. Like Urlacher, who starred with the Bears, Simmons (6-foot-4 and 238 pounds) has great size for the position.
The key word with these guys is "versatility." Each can aid the back seven of a defense in myriad ways in coverage and run support. That is extremely important in today’s NFL. Also, McKinney has an on-the-field presence and leadership that reminds me of Jenkins' command of the Eagles' defense.
These two have similar long-armed, well-built body types that are ideal for the Cover 3 scheme that Seattle made famous with Sherman at left cornerback. Like Sherman, who starred with the 49ers last season, Diggs is also a student of the game. Dang, Alabama was loaded in the secondary.
You'll receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams.
Emailed daily. Always FREE!