Call me bizarre as an NFL Draft analyst — I like professional comparisons. Adore them. Spend means an excessive amount of time formulating them for prospects each draft season.
Of course, comparisons are all the time “stylistic” and never solely primarily based on issues like top, weight or faculty program. And as a result of I take them severely and achieve this many, many comparisons for prospects aren’t precisely superstars on the NFL stage.
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I’ll say, usually, the highest prospects in each class are universally in comparison with established stars. But even in the event you comply with the draft on an informal stage you already know — many first-round picks by no means attain star celebrity standing, and actually, “bust.”
With that thought in thoughts, let’s evaluate the consensus high prospects within the 2023 class to former notorious draft busts. Hat tip to Purple Insider’s Matthew Coller for this concept.
(VITAL DISCLAIMER: These should not my reliable comparisons for these prospects. It’s only for enjoyable.)
QB Bryce Young (Alabama)
Bust comparability: Zach Wilson
Pick and yr: No. 2 general, 2021 draft (Jets)College: BYU
Too quickly? Yeah, perhaps. But it is apt so I’m operating with it. Let me clarify.
Wilson was a bit greater than Young at 6-foot-2 and 214 kilos however, like Young, he had a narrow-shouldered body. The two quarterbacks completed their collegiate careers with an identical quantity of expertise and every had a aptitude for artistic ad-libbing and had been deceptively clean athletes operating with the soccer. Especially in Wilson’s ultimate, actually breakout marketing campaign at BYU, when he accomplished greater than 73.5% of his passes with 33 touchdowns to only three interceptions, the younger passer threw with pinpoint accuracy and anticipation to all ranges of the sector.
Wilson wasn’t pressured as continuously as Young was in faculty, but the poise avoiding strain and tranquility amid the chaos for each quarterbacks made them premier prospects of their respective lessons.
DT Jalen Carter (Georgia)
Bust comparability: Marcell Dareus
Pick and yr: No. 3 general, 2011 draft (Bills)College: Alabama
Carter and Dareus are shut stylistic specimens, three-down thumpers equally as disruptive as run defenders as they had been move rushers in faculty. They checked all of the containers groups need out of a marquee defensive sort out prospect.
The off-field issues run parallel, too. Dareus sadly misplaced many individuals near him throughout his early years and thru his time within the NFL, which possible had an have an effect on on him, and thereby shortened what ought to’ve been a protracted, productive NFL profession. Conditioning was an issue at instances as nicely. This comparability is not all dangerous as a result of Dareus was a first-team All-Pro in 2014 and performed within the NFL from 2011 to 2019.
But in a primary spherical with Cam Newton, Von Miller, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, J.J. Watt, and Patrick Peterson, Dareus fell in need of the lofty expectations that include being the No. 3 general choice within the draft. If Carter by no means maximizes his full potential as knowledgeable, it will possible be due to the “character points” we have heard about at size throughout this pre-draft course of.
QB Will Levis (Kentucky)
Bust comparability: Jake Locker
Pick and yr: No. 8 general, 2011 draft (Titans)
Thick, bodily, rocket-armed quarterback with decision-making and accuracy points who additionally boasts severe explosiveness as an emphatic runner when wanted. That’s the one-sentence scouting report on Locker and Levis. Now, simply because their video games will be defined with the identical fast description, that does not imply Levis is destined to be Locker 2.0, who flamed out of the NFL after solely 23 begins.
But if Levis flops after being chosen within the first spherical of the 2023 draft, it will resemble Locker’s wade into bust territory. Locker by no means may string collectively video games with good choices. He all the time trusted his arm an excessive amount of, and his accuracy was too scattershot. It would not really feel like Levis is as erratic, however the misses do seem on movie, and the athletic profiles and equally of their operating propensity cannot be ignored.
QB C.J. Stroud (Ohio State)
Bust comparability: Sam Bradford
Pick and yr: No. 1 general, 2010 draft (Rams)College: Oklahoma
Another choice that wasn’t a colossal bust. Sam Bradford received Rookie of the Year in 2010 and led the NFL in completion proportion in 2016. He tried almost 3,000 passes and threw for over 19,000 yards as knowledgeable.
But Stroud and Bradford are clearly comparable — each extremely correct, principally pocket passers with some mobility, however relative to their eras, should not high-caliber, scrambling varieties. Like Bradford, it is unlikely Stroud will have the ability to lean on his legs as a final resort when protection is ideal or safety breaks down. And the shortage of mobility led to a lot of Bradford’s accidents within the NFL; he merely could not get out of the way in which of large defensive entrance gamers and linebackers as usually as he wanted to. Of course, Stroud would not enter the NFL with the harm historical past Bradford had at Oklahoma, but regardless of a long-held thought that athleticism and scrambling symbolize the strongest correlations to quarterback accidents within the NFL, it is truly the absence of these attributes.
QB Anthony Richardson (Florida)
Bust comparability: Vince Young
Pick and yr: No. 3 general, 2006 draft (Titans)College: Texas
Certainly not as massive and sculpted as Richardson, Young was in all probability a extra feared runner when coming into the NFL after his illustrious, national-title successful profession at Texas. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard speeding seasons and scored 37 touchdowns on the bottom with the Longhorns. Preposterous numbers.
Young would not have Richardson’s arm expertise both. Like Richardson, although, it was the wanted growth as a passer that gave many pause about Young’s capability to mature right into a franchise quarterback within the NFL and finally performed a key on-field function to his downfall on the skilled stage. There had been possible different, exterior, off-field elements that led to Young bouncing across the league earlier than early retirement. He by no means grew to become a rhythmic, dependable passer. Had he, the 2006 Rookie of the Year possible would’ve had a protracted profession because the chief of the Titans group.
RB Bijan Robinson (Texas)
Bust comparability: Trent Richardson
Pick and yr: No. 3 general, 2012 draft (Browns)College: Alabama
Richardson was the person in faculty. Flat-out, unequivocally, the person. After consecutive seasons reaching the 700-yard mark at Alabama within the early-ish Nick Saban years, Richardson erupted in 2011 with almost 1,700 yards and 21 touchdowns at shut to five.9 yards per try. He was compact, seemingly sculpted from stone, elusive, highly effective, and decently quick. In a category that noticed Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III go No. 1 and No. 2 general, Richardson was universally lauded as an excellent choose by the Browns at No. 3 general.
After a powerful rookie marketing campaign, Richardson’s lack of between-the-tackles imaginative and prescient reared its ugly head. Injuries did not assist the developmental course of both. Soon he was traded to the Colts and as soon as he ventured into the bust woods, he by no means returned.
Robinson feels quite a bit safer than Richardson, proper? RIGHT?! No, he’s. But there are putting similarities between their frames, their collegiate careers and the adoration of them by the overwhelming majority of draft analysts.
EDGE Will Anderson (Alabama)
Bust comparability: Derek Barnett
Pick and yr: No. 14 general, 2017 draft (Eagles)College: Tennessee
Barnett was hardly a dud in Philadelphia. With the Eagles he registered two seasons with over 40 pressures and had 6.5 sacks in 2019 as a 23-year-old. But there are simple parallels to be drawn between Barnett and Anderson. Both had been younger, extremely embellished, ultra-productive SEC move rushers who entered the NFL proper at about 6-foot-3 and 260 kilos with a slower-than-expected 40-yard sprint time at their respective mix.
Anderson was a lot sooner (4.60) than Barnett (4.88). That issues. Their types on the sector had been comparable in faculty. Barnett received with misleading velocity and bend across the nook and an NFL-veteran array of move rush strikes. That’s the guide on Anderson as nicely. If issues go south — and accidents would nearly assuredly must think about for this to occur — Anderson’s NFL profession may conceivably seem like Barnett’s in 4 or 5 years.
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