Prospect Comparisons

Written by Eric Stoner on April 12, 2011

DB Message Board Name: yourfavestoner


Patrick Peterson

Patrick Peterson – Charles Woodson

It’s tough to find a comparison for Peterson, as he’s one of the most physically imposing prospects at his position in the history of the draft. Former Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson was the last corner prospect to come close to Peterson’s ridiculous blend of size and athleticism at the position. The comparison comes from the roles in which they’re suited for in the NFL – especially in Woodson’s last two seasons in Green Bay. Peterson has some fluidity and technique issues, and is overly-reliant on his size and speed. A player with his rare blend of unique skills would probably be best utilized by moving him all around – matching him up with bigger split-ends in two receiver sets and using him as a rover-type nickleback in obvious passing situations.


Marcell Dareus – Sam Adams

Let me explain before you simply laugh this comparison off. A lot of people only remember Adams late in his career (in Oakland and Buffalo), where he was a slow, two-gapping defensive tackle who got so ridiculously big that he had small moons orbiting around him. What a lot of people don’t remember is the younger Sam Adams. The measurables between Adams and Dareus coming out are almost identical, and Adams was a pretty devastating pass rusher early in his career. They’re both short, squatty brickhouse types and, as Dareus slows down and gains weight with age, will continue to have a long, productive career by using his squatty, brickhouse frame to stay under offensive linemen and clog up running lanes.


Von Miller

Von Miller – Cameron Wake

I feel like comparing Miller to Wake is selling Miller somewhat short since Wake went undrafted and was forced to prove his worth in the CFL before becoming the NFL’s leading sacker this past season. However, the two were used almost identically in college and have a similar height/weight/frame. Miller, however, is much, much more explosive off the line of scrimmage, and has both an elite burst and elite top-end speed. A lot of people have been comparing him to recent Penn State/Buffalo draft bust Aaron Maybin, but I don’t see it. Maybin, literally, was nothing but speed, and his complete lack of work ethic stifled his chances of ever making it in the NFL. Miller shows a fairly good set of pass rush moves to work off of, and plays with far more natural strength and leverage than Maybin ever did in college. If you want to shoot for the stars with comparisons, Miller compares very well with the late, great Derrick Thomas, but I tend to try and be conservative with my comparisons.


AJ Green – Braylon Edwards

Nearly identical height/weight/speed and playing styles (long striders with ridiculous catching radii), and they’re both generally regarded as the best prospects in perceived weak classes. If Green applies more effort into being a good NFL player instead of focusing on his social and party life, he’ll be the player that Edwards was supposed to be. Not much to say here other than that.


Da'Quan Bowers

Da’Quan Bowers – Kenechi Udeze

I have more than my fair share of concerns with Bowers. On film, he doesn’t have an elite first step, relying more on closing speed than his initial burst. Also, like Udeze under Pete Carroll, the Clemson coaching staff moved him around often to get him matched up on inferior tackles, tight ends, and runningbacks although many view this as a positive as it shows he’s comfortable in multiple roles. However, he shares too many characteristics with Udeze, former Arkansas DE Jamaal Anderson, and former Penn. State DE Michael Haynes for me to feel comfortable listing him as a lights-out defensive end prospect. He’s not athletic enough to be a true pass rushing RE and I’m not quite sure if he’s strong enough at the point of attack to anchor the strong side of an NFL defensive line. We’ve seen way, way, way too many of these types of prospects wash out in recent years.


Julio Jones – Dwayne Bowe

Jones is another player whose flaws concern me. As evidenced by his 40 time, Jones has great straight line speed. The problem, however, is that his timed speed rarely translates on the field. While he is capable of making highlight catches, he still struggles tracking the ball while it’s in the air – leading to an equally frustrating number of drops. I wanted to originally say that Jones reminds me of a more athletic Reggie Williams, but considering how terrible Williams was in the NFL, I feel like that’s selling him way short. Dwayne Bowe works very well, as he’s a receiver who works the underneath and mid-range passing game, using his size and frame to shield defensive backs from the ball, and then using his strength and speed to rack up YAC (although Bowe plays much faster than Jones). They also both deal with frustrating drops.


Blaine Gabbert

Blaine Gabbert – Alex Smith

Where do I even begin? Most know my feelings on Gabbert – I think he’s quite possibly the worst top quarterback prospect I’ve ever seen on film. He feels pressure that’s not there (ghost rushers), panics when his first read isn’t open, and generally plays like he’s afraid of defensive contact. Like Smith, Gabbert is lauded for his ability to break down defenses and coverages on a white board. However, that intelligence doesn’t transfer whatsoever once he’s steps on the field and has bullets flying in his face. He’s more gifted physically than Smith – he’s got a bigger frame and a stronger arm. Unlike some of the other quarterbacks in this class, though, I don’t think Gabbert’s flaws are correctable, as his flaws stem from his mentality on the field as opposed to simple hiccups in his mechanics. Ultimately, I think he ends up the same NFL player as Smith: the epitome of mediocre, with everyone making excuses for why he failed.


Ryan Kerrigan – Aaron Kampman

I’ve said over the past month that Kerrigan is way, way undervalued as a true defensive end and way, way overvalued as a 3-4 outside linebacker. The Packers tried to move Kampman to outside linebacker upon their switch to the 3-4 and the results were disastrous. Kerrigan (as a prospect) is a rich man’s Kampman in that he’ll be making an impact within two years, whereas Kampman took five years before he honed his craft enough to rake in double-digit sacks. They’re both high-effort players who understand leverage, use their hands well, and have far more athleticism than given credit for.


Jake Locker

Jake Locker – David Garrard

Both are stocky, strong, athletic, mobile passers who never quite developed as expected in college. Locker fans like to point out that had he entered the draft last year, he’d have been in the running for the top overall selection, and that he’s no worse now than he was a year ago. The fallacy with this line of thinking, however, is that Locker showed little to no progression after another season with purported quarterback guru Steve Sarkisian. His senior year wasn’t nearly as disastrous as, say, Jevan Snead, but the lack of progress is concerning. His flaws, however, are largely mechanical. Garrard had similar problems early in his NFL career. If a coach really works with him, gets him to stop throwing like a baseball player (i.e. take some heat off the fastball, then you’ll probably see his accuracy improve dramatically.


Muhammed Wilkerson – Marcus Stroud

A lot of people see Wilkerson as a two-gapping five technique. When I watch him on film, however, I see a long, athletic defensive tackle who uses those two attributes to blow by interior linemen and wreak havoc in opposing backfields. I think forcing him to hold up blockers and to read and react to pressure would be a gross misuse of his abilities. He’s at his best when attacking and moving forward, using his long arms to turn offensive linemen and then his quickness to split gaps with the room he creates.


Randall Cobb

Randall Cobb – Peter Warrick

Not as negative a comparison as it would seem, as I remain perplexed to this day as to why Peter Warrick never turned into the player everyone thought he’d be. I can think of two explanations: he went to Cincinnati during a time when it was a graveyard for young, promising careers. Secondly, expectations were raised far too high and he was overdrafted. He was expected to develop into a full-time WR, when he would have been much better off used in a specialized role as a slot receiver/returner/3rd down back like the Vikings have done with Percy Harvin has filled for the Vikings. Harvin has more quick-area explosiveness than both Cobb and Warrick, but the NFL continues into the age of specialization. He’ll likely never become a number one receiver, but a creative coach can devise a multitude of ways to get him the ball.


Christian Ponder – Tony Romo

Underrated athleticism, underrated arm strength, and underrated football intelligence – three similarities that Ponder and Romo share. I think Ponder is far more scheme-versatile than given credit for. He also throws with a decent amount of zip without having to put a lot of effort into it – an indication that the velocity on his throws will increase as he gets a stronger core muscle group (ab strength, trunk rotation, and hip flexibility). Part of the problem that Ponder didn’t develop as much as he should have is that he missed a lot of time due to injury in college. It’s a concern for the NFL, but it also means that he could have more potential than people give him credit for.


Eric Stoner

Eric has been writing for Draft Breakdown for two years now, contributing by writing scouting reports, cutting video, and blogging about college football and the NFL. He was raised by a football coach and, as such, was forced to cut tape and chart personnel at an age that violates California labor law. A legal assistant by day, Eric also writes for Rotoworld NFL Draft and the SB Nation Jaguars Blog, Big Cat Country.

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