When looking at prospects, a lot of people like to compare them to current or former players to get an idea of what skill set they will bring to the table. I thought I’d go through some of them today.
When looking at Locker, I see a lot of Donovan McNabb. He’s got a strong arm but lacks the tight window accuracy. It could hurt him (and has hurt his stock) but its accuracy is good enough that in a scheme like Washington’s he could thrive. He’s got McNabb’s early career mobility, which is somewhere between a Steve McNair and Donovan, but it will be used to buy himself time or even keep defenses on their toes with some scrambling when the pocket breaks down.
I see a lot of Terrell Suggs and Demarcus Ware when I look at Smith. He’s a pure pass rusher now, but he’s got some very elite moves. He’s quick on the snap, but undersized, which means he relies on that quickness. He needs to bulk up a bit and ensure that he works on preventing linemen from getting their hands on him. He won’t be running any stunts up the middle because he’ll get swallowed up in those goliaths, but working on the edge he can be a terror in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme.
Tom Brady and Kurt Warner. He’s probably somewhere in between these two. Mentally I would characterize him as being in Brady’s weight class, but no rookie is. His mobility is why I see him as these two guys. His got a cannon arm, so if they can keep the pocket clean he’ll deliver the ball down field. He’s got a big frame to take the hits and his accuracy is also solid. He’ll need a team with a stout line that knows if they get beat he’s probably going down, and that line has to have the confidence not to wilt under that pressure of being perfect.
Deion Sanders is a name that comes to mind, but even he wasn’t as physical as Peterson has the potential to be. His size is a tremendous asset for him against these NFL receivers and if he gets some good coaching in press coverage he can really be a shut down guy. I compare him to Sanders because he’s got great return skills both from kickoffs and from interceptions. He finds the ball well, not great, but that can be worked on through positioning. He’s got good catching skills so I don’t worry that he’ll be like AFL corners who are corners simply because they can’t catch.
Calvin Johnson. Green has great body control in the air and sure hands. He’s got a great speed and size to really scare corners in the NFL. He’s not quite as polished as Calvin was coming out, but he’s pretty close. There’s no reason not to think he won’t be elite at the next level and if the rumors of the Cardinals thinking about taking him and pairing him with Fitzgerald are true, then they’ve got the potential to be a scary aerial team down the road.
Haloti Ngata is probably a better, more polished version of Dareus, but their combination of run stuffing and pocket crushing is very similar. Ngata came out with a lot of the same versatility as Dareus, he was thought of as a 3-4 nose tackle, or either position in the 4-3 scheme. Dareus has experience in the 3-4 at college as both a defensive end and a nose tackle. His pass rush skills are solid, definitely above average for an interior linemen, and his size and strength make him stout against the run, a characteristic that Nick Saban loved.
Casey Hampton comes to mind. Phil Taylor doesn’t have a lot of pass rushing moves, but he’ll demand double teams every play. He’s got massive size but could use some work with his hands to get off blocks better. One guy will struggle on him, but two can lock him up. Still, in a scheme like Pittsburgh that relies on securing 1 v 1s on the outside he could be a great fit.
Maybe a poor man’s Mathews. His split certainly suggests great quickness and agility, but I don’t see the same talent. It’s hard not to see Clay Mathews in him though because he can become an elite pass rusher, but he’ll need more work than Mathews did coming out.
Todd Heap is a decent comparison. They may have the same injury concerns and won’t wow you with speed, but they find ways to get out and do the little things required of a tight end in the NFL. Rudolph’s speed is probably better than Heap’s was coming out so he could have a higher ceiling in terms of being a receiver.
Quinn is a tough pick. He fits as a 4-3 end for me, but he has the potential to stand up and play as an outside rusher. I see potential to end up as a Jared Allen type end, but as a linebacker I struggle finding comparisons. Maybe James Harrison because of the size – speed combination. When its all said, he can get after a quarterback at the next level.
He looks like a faster Jamal Lewis, or a Peyton Hillis. He’s not quite as quick as Adrian Peterson or he could draw some of those comparison (not as fast either) but he’s got the build to be a bruiser inside the tackles and with a strong line he can put up numbers like Hillis did last year.
Looks a lot like a Chris McAlister because of his size and physicality. He will be up in your face from the line of scrimmage onwards and he has the speed to keep up. Doesn’t appear to have the ego McAlister had that always kept him from the upper echelon of corners, but the talent is certainly there as a press man corner.
Reminds me of Malcolm Jenkins, which is to say a lesser Jenkins. He’s got good size, but doesn’t quite have the man coverage abilities. He could be a safety or corner at the next level, but he shouldn’t start day one or he won’t cut it as a corner. He needs some time to develop his skills.
Strong physical guard in the view of Logan Mankins or Alan Faneca. Both of them were stout in the run and good pass blockers. Watkins skills as a pass blocker need developing but if he’s put on a run first team he’ll have time to develop them.
(More to come)