Top Prospect-to-Pro Comparisons for the 2024 NFL Draft Class

The 2024 NFL draft is just around the corner, which means you’re about to start hearing (if you haven’t already) many prospects be compared to some of the best past and present NFL stars.

NFL draft evaluators’ matches are typically based on style of play, physical measurements, production, versatility and role, similar traits or some combination of those. And prospect-to-player comparisons are helpful because they can give you a sense of how prospects project to the next level. They aren’t always exact and don’t necessarily suggest that the prospect will share the same level of success as the NFL player (for better or worse). But comps are useful to get an idea of a player’s style of play.

Who does quarterback Caleb Williams remind us of? Who are good matches for top wide receivers such as Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers? We asked 14 of our NFL analysts for their favorite prospect-to-pro comps for this year’s draft class.

Harrison displays the savvy route-running traits, coverage awareness and high-end ball skills/body control that remind me of Hopkins’ style of play. With the flexibility to isolate on the boundary or work out of the slot, the Ohio State receiver has three-level matchup ability and an All-Pro upside. — Matt Bowen, NFL analyst

Uses his legs to buy time outside of the pocket? Check. Wilson threw 20% of his passes outside the pocket from 2012 to 2021, and Williams (USC) came in at 23% from 2021 to 2023. Combines excellent efficiency with elite playmaking? Check. Wilson completed 65% of his passes at 12.0 yards per completion — well over the league average of 11.4 — in Seattle. Williams completed 67% of his passes at 13.7 yards per completion in college. Granted, Williams won’t have to wait until the third round to hear his name called; he has all the tools you would want from a No. 1 pick. — Bill Connelly, college football reporter

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Legette (South Carolina) and Brown are eerily similar when it comes to their body movements and style of play. Both players are well-built receivers — Legette is 6-foot-1, 221 pounds, while Brown measured 6-foot, 226 pounds in 2019 — who have the strength to run through tackles and the speed to pull away from defenders for long gains. They both display tremendous ball skills to go up and make contested catches, as well. — Turron Davenport, Titans reporter

Mitchell (Toledo) certainly has the physical profile of Lattimore; Lattimore was 6-foot, 193 pounds in 2017, and Mitchell is 6-0⅛, 193 pounds. And they have almost identical timed speed numbers, as well. Lattimore ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash, and Mitchell ran a 4.33. But dive in a little deeper, and Mitchell’s willingness to get right in the wide receiver’s wheelhouse at the line of scrimmage — he was by far the most aggressive, physical cornerback at the Senior Bowl this year — mirrors much of what Lattimore did in his time at Ohio State. — Jeff Legwold, Broncos reporter

Brees dropped to the top of Round 2 in 2001 because of his 6-foot size and questions about whether his arm strength was tapped out. Now? He’s a lock for the Hall of Fame in 2026. Nix, my fifth-ranked quarterback in this class, is a little taller at 6-2, but he has some of the same questions, especially coming from an Oregon offense that saw him throw quick and short. But when I watch Nix throw with precision, I see a lot of Brees’ accuracy in him. — Mel Kiper Jr., NFL draft analyst

Verse, a former walk-on at Albany, transferred to Florida State in 2022 and transformed into a first-round pick. Like Hendrickson, he comes off the ball with fantastic power in his first step and has the upper-body strength to rock back offensive tackles off the edge. Verse — and Hendrickson — also have the quickness and bend to be premier pass-rushers from a 4-3 defensive end alignment. — Matt Miller, NFL draft analyst

Newton (Illinois) and Jarrett have the initial quickness, active hands and instincts to slip blocks, locate the ball and make plays in the backfield. They don’t have great size — Newton measures 6-2, 304 pounds, and Jarrett is 6-0, 305 pounds — but they play with good pad level and can stack bigger blockers. Their physical hands and motors make them effective pass-rushers. — Steve Muench, NFL draft analyst

McCarthy and Cousins play with a high level of conviction and routinely make difficult throws from the pocket look easier than they should. The former Michigan quarterback has his eyes and arm tied to his feet on when and where to throw the ball. — Dan Orlovsky, NFL analyst

When it comes to pass-rush repertoire, there isn’t a better pure pass-rusher in this draft class than Latu. At 6-5, 259 pounds, the former UCLA defensive end is similar to Crosby in stature (6-5, 255 pounds) and playing style. They both have an array of moves and can bend and corner to get to the quarterback, while also playing with a motor that never stops. — Jordan Reid, NFL draft analyst

At 6-3, Thomas used his length and speed to lead the FBS in touchdowns with 17 at LSU. His combine 40-yard dash time of 4.33 seconds was faster than Higgins’ 4.59 and should lead to an earlier selection, but both have big frames and the ability to rack up touchdowns in and around the red zone. Like Higgins, who averaged nearly 20 yards per catch in his final season at Clemson, Thomas can consistently attack defenses down the field. — Adam Rittenberg, college football reporter

What to know for the 2024 NFL draft

• Mock drafts | DraftCast: Top prospects
• Rankings: Kiper | Miller | Reid | Yates
• QB Hot Board | First-rounders | Comps
• Position ranks | Full order | Read more

Nabers (LSU) and Lamb both have the talent to dominate routes at all three levels and change tempo to get open, and both of them needed some improvement in running crisp routes coming out of college (Lamb was in the 2020 class). The two have similar frames, but Lamb is slightly taller than Naber’s 6-foot stature at 6-2. — Aaron Schatz, NFL analyst

Sweat is 366 pounds and was unblockable at times during his final season at Texas and during this year’s Senior Bowl practices. While he might not have the range of Wilfork, he did have a 10-yard split of 1.8 seconds at the combine, showing his quickness. — Mike Tannenbaum, NFL analyst

Beebe is a plug-and-play immediate starter, who has the size (6-3, 322 pounds) and power to have a long and illustrious NFL career. Beebe is a bit bigger than Mankins was in 2005 (6-4, 307 pounds), but the Kansas State lineman projects to have the same immediate impact and lengthy career. — Pete Thamel, college football reporter

If you’re looking for a safety in this year’s class with elite range and coverage skills, the answer is Bullock. The slender USC safety patrols centerfield akin to Williams, as Bullock had nine interceptions over the past three seasons and returned two for a score. While neither player is a significant force against the run, Williams has shown how this type of skill set can thrive in the NFL. — Field Yates, NFL draft analyst

2024-04-08 11:00:00
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