top 10 prospect comparisons to NFL pros

We asked 10 NFL analysts on ESPN to offer their favorite comparison between a 2022 Draft prospect, current or former NFL player

is approaching the 2022 NFL Draftwhich means that they will begin to hear comparisons between the best prospects of the current crop, with current players or already retired from the NFL. Those matchups could be based on the way the prospects play, their physical measurements, their production, their role and versatility, similar traits or some combination of any of the above. But, in any case, evaluators of the draft of the NFL Players coming out of the college ranks are often compared to established professionals to put a name and a face to what they bring to the table.

Comparisons are an easy way for fans to get an idea of ​​a player’s style of play. But, they are not always exact, and in most cases, they do not suggest that the prospect will share the same level of success in the NFL, for better or worse. Simply, they help to better understand the prospects, and how they are projected to the next level.

So, we asked 10 of our analysts from NFL Draft in ESPN your favorite comparisons for this year’s class. Some have probably already heard them, but others might offer a new way of looking at a particular prospect, and what to expect from him Sunday to Sunday in the future. We start with one of the best quarterbacks this year.

Pickett has an unstable, backyard style of play. The Pittsburgh quarterback consistently gets himself out of bad situations with speed and creativity. And, when he’s on the beat, Pickett is highly functional. That equates it to the way Romo, a longtime quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, practiced the game. –Dan Orlovsky.

A dynamic prospect with big play skills, Wilson can stretch defenses vertically, or create after the catch. And, with the high-level ball skills he demonstrates on video, the wide receiver from Ohio State can win isolated matchups. In a pro offense, expect to see Wilson used like Diggs with the Buffalo Bills, as a three-tier target with flexibility inside and out. –Matt Bowen.

Lloyd is a complete player at inside linebacker, as Warner has been for the San Francisco 49ers. And, his collegiate and measurable output are nearly identical.

During his career in Utah, Lloyd had 256 total tackles, 16.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, five interceptions, eight passes defensed and three touchdowns. And, during his four years at BYU, Warner recorded 264 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, seven interceptions, 13 passes defensed and two touchdowns.

At this year’s scouting combine, Lloyd was 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds with a 33-inch wingspan and a time of 4.66 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Meanwhile, Warner was 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds with a 32-inch wingspan and a 4.64-second time in the 40-yard dash during the 2018 event.

Lloyd can slow down the run, make plays on the ball in pass coverage, and chase down the quarterback. And, the ability to impact the pass defense as an inside linebacker makes Lloyd an easy comparison to Warner for me. –Todd McShay.

Gardner is a long and sudden cornerback, and he didn’t give up a single touchdown this season in Cincinnati. We had Cromartie on the New York Jets roster when I was general manager, and the bodies and physicality of this pair of cornerbacks are nearly identical. Gardner must be an elite cornerback in man-to-man coverage in the NFL, just like ‘Cro.’ –Mike Tannenbaum.

Nelson was a really, really good wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, and Pierce has similar physical qualities. He stunned with a 4.41-second 40-yard dash and a 40.5-inch vertical jump at the scouting combine, and the Cincinnati wide receiver can work any route and break tackles after the catch. Perhaps Green Bay can steal Pierce with one of their two picks in the second round. –Mel Kiper Jr.

Ekwonu is a tough player with uncanny ability in the running game. Like Wirfs did with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of Iowa, he projects as a fantastic first-day offensive tackle who is arguably better in the running game, starting out, than in the passing game. Ekwonu’s potential — thanks to qualities like quickness, balance and strength — make him possibly the best tackle of the pack. –Matt Miller.



The Wolfpack alum enters the draft with high marks for his blocking abilities in the running game.

Both cornerbacks were known for their production in college. Stingley had a stellar season as a genuine freshman at LSU that included six interceptions, while Lattimore had four interceptions in his final college campaign before the New Orleans Saints took him in the first round of 2017. Stingley has a finely tuned technique. as a cornerback for personal coverage, but he’s also smart with his eyes and instincts in zone coverage. Ability isn’t the issue, availability is: He has missed 13 games over the past two seasons. If Stingley can recapture his pre-injury form, he has the talent to become a Top-5 cornerback in the NFL. –Jordan Reid

Both defensive tackles are massive — Davis is 341 pounds, and Vea (Buccaneers) was 347 pounds when he entered the 2018 NFL Draft — anchors against the running game with the strength to dominate in one-on-one matchups and take up double-blocking. I don’t think any of them will ever become a double-digit sack producer, but that stat can be overrated. The ability to push the pocket makes it difficult for quarterbacks to get into their shots, and can force them to use double-blocks, effectively creating one-on-one matchups for each other. — Steve Munch.

I was covering the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) in 1996 when they drafted Runyan, a powerful offensive tackle with an aggressive attitude, in the fourth round (109th overall). He ended up playing 14 NFL seasons. Penning, at 6-foot-7, 325 pounds, has the same physical tools as Runyan, and his willingness to finish plays with attitude are notable traits in every game he’s played for Northern Iowa. But Penning won’t have to wait. until the fourth round to hear his name. –Jeff Legwold

Both tight ends have the ability for yards after the catch. Their skill sets show up because of how offensive coordinators have used them, with both of them catching passes out of the backfield and even getting the ball on carries. Like Smith of the New England Patriots, Okonkwo of Maryland will present problems in the NFL with his size against defensive backs and his speed against linebackers. — Nougat Davenport.