Comparing the NFL stars of the past and present to the Class of 2024 college recruiting prospects

10 Apr, 2024, 10:00 ET

What current or past NFL players do the stars of the Class of 2024 college recruiting remind us of?

He 2024 NFL Draft is right around the corner, which means you’ll start to hear — if you haven’t already — a lot of prospects being compared to some of the best stars in the game. NFL present and past.

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Comparisons of draft evaluators NFL They are typically based on playing style, physical measurements, production, versatility and role, similar traits or some combination thereof. And those prospect-to-player comparisons are useful because they can give you a feel for how that player projects at the next level. They are not always accurate and do not necessarily suggest that the prospect will share the same level of success as the seasoned veteran. NFL (for better or worse).

Who does the quarterback remind us of? Caleb Williams? Who do wide receivers look like? Marvin Harrison Jr. y Malik Nabers? We asked 14 of our analysts from the NFL his prospect-to-player comparison of the favorite for this year’s crop. This is what they told us:

With a very high potential in the NFL, Marvin Harrison Jr. reminds many of DeAndre Hopkins’ playing style. Justin Casterline/Getty Images, Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Harrison displays the intelligence in route running, coverage identification, and high-end ball and body control skills that remind me of Hopkins’ style of play. With the flexibility to isolate on the outside or work from the slot, the Ohio State wide receiver possesses ability at all three levels and All-Pro potential. — Matt Bowen

Do you use your legs to buy time out of the pocket? Sure. Wilson threw 20 percent of his passes from outside the pocket from 2012 to 2021, and Williams (USC) scored 23 percent from 2021 to 2023. Does he combine excellent efficiency with elite explosive plays? Also. Wilson completed 65 percent of his passes for 12.0 yards per completion — well above the league average of 11.4 — in Seattle. Williams completed 67 percent of his passes on 13.7 yards per completion in college. Sure, Williams won’t have to wait until the third round to hear his name called; He possesses all the desired tools of a No. 1 overall recruit. — Bill Connelly

Legette (South Carolina) and Brown are curiously similar when it comes to body movements and playing styles. Both are well-built receivers — Legette is 6-foot-1 and 221 pounds, while Brown was 6-foot-1 and 226 pounds in 2019 — who have the strength to run through the tackles and the speed to outrun defensive for long gains. They both show tremendous ball skills to go over the top for contested balls, too. — Turron Davenport

Mitchell (Toledo) certainly has Lattimore’s physical profile; The NFL veteran was 6 feet and 193 pounds in 2017, and Mitchell is 6 feet one-eighth of an inch and 193 pounds. And, they have almost identical times, too. Lattimore ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds, while Mitchell clocked a 4.33. But, dig a little deeper, and Mitchell’s willingness to get in receivers’ faces at the line of scrimmage — he was by far the most aggressive and physical cornerback in the Senior Bowl this year — equals a lot of what Lattimore did in his time at Ohio State. — Jeff Legwold

Brees fell to the top of the second round in 2001 because of his 6-foot size and questions about whether his arm power had run out. Now? He’s a sure future Hall of Famer for the Class of 2026. Nix, my fifth-best quarterback in this class, is a little taller at 6-foot-2, but faces some of the same questions, especially coming off a Oregon offense that saw him throw fast and short. But, when I watch Nix shoot accurately, I see a lot of Brees’ marksmanship in him. — Mel Kiper Jr.

Verse, a former non-scholarship player for Albany, transferred to Florida State in 2022 and became a first-round pick. Like Hendrickson, he explodes onto the ball with fantastic first-step power and possesses the upper torso strength to shake off offensive tackles along the edge. Verse — and Hendrickson — also possess the quickness and flexibility to be top-line pass rushers from a defensive end alignment in a 4-3 scheme. — Matt Miller

Newton (Illinois) and Jarrett have initial quickness, active hands and instincts for breaking off blocks, locating the ball and making plays in the backfield. They don’t have enormous size — Newton is 6-foot-2 and 304 pounds, while Jarrett is 6-foot-2 and 305 pounds — but they play with excellent shoulder pads and can anchor against bigger blockers. Their physical hands and motors make them effective at rushing passers. — Steve Muench

McCarthy and Cousins ​​play with a high level of conviction and routinely make difficult passes from the pocket look easier than they should be. The former Michigan quarterback has his eyes and arm tied to his feet when it comes to when and to whom to throw the ball. — Dan Orlovsky

Laiatu Latu possesses some of the traits that have made Maxx Crosby a star in the NFL. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, AP Photo/John Locher

When it comes to quarterback pressure, there isn’t a better pure edge prospect in this class than Latu. At 6-foot-5 and 259 pounds, the former UCLA defensive end is similar to Crosby in size (6-foot-5, 255 pounds) and playing style. Both possess a variety of moves and can turn the corner to get to the quarterback, while boasting a motor that never stops. — Jordan Reid

At 6-foot-3, Thomas used his length and speed to lead the FBS in touchdowns with 17 for LSU. His 40-yard dash time at the combine of 4.33 seconds was faster than Higgins’ 4.59, and that should lead to a higher pick, but both have big frames and the ability to pile up touchdowns in and around the red zone. Like Higgins, who averaged nearly 20 yards per catch in his final season for Clemson, Thomas can consistently attack downfield. — Adam Rittenberg

Nabers (LSU) and Lamb both have the talent to dominate routes at all three levels, and change the rhythm to set themselves apart, and both needed to polish that route running somewhat coming out of college (Lamb as part of the 2020 class). They both have similar bodies, but Lamb is slightly taller than the 6-foot-2 Naber, standing at 6-foot-2. — Aaron Treasure

Sweat weighs 366 pounds and was impossible to block during his final season at Texas and during practice week at this year’s Senior Bowl. While he might not have Wilfork’s range, he did post a 1.8-yard time on the first 10 yards of the 40 at the combine, showing quickness. — Mike Tannenbaum

Beebe is an instant starter with the size (6-foot-3, 322 pounds) and power to enjoy a long and illustrious NFL career. Beebe is slightly bigger than Mankins was in 2005 (6-foot-4, 307 pounds), but the Kansas State lineman projects the same immediate impact and career length. — Pete Thamel

If you’re looking for a safety in this year’s class with elite range and coverage skills, the answer is Bullock. USC’s lanky safety patrols the middle of the field similarly to Williams, and Bullock has nine interceptions over the past three seasons, returning two for touchdowns. Although neither player is a significant force against the run, Williams has shown that this particular skill set can shine in the NFL. — Field Yates

2024-04-10 14:00:00
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