Pro comparisons are always a source of tension when it comes to the NFL Draft. While each prospect is unique in their own right, using comparisons to pro or former pro players can give an idea into what their projection at the next level could look like.
At the same time, comparisons are rarely 1:1, meaning there will always be slight differences. Often times, pro comparisons will be “ceiling” comparisons, meaning best case scenario for prospects. This can give the perception of prospects unrealistic expectations.
So when I’m tasked with giving pro comparisons, I attempt to find players who:
- Fit a similar physical profile
- Fit a similar athletic profile
- Project into a similar role, with similar traits
- Can be used as a realistic projection of production
I went into Senior Bowl week having scouted all of the wide receivers who would be competing. The position is one of the few that Senior Bowl practices are actually more telling than game film.
Wide receivers will receive just as many targets during a 1 on 1 period as an entire game during the season. Then, there are the additional targets and reps during 7 on 7, team periods and individual drills.
Having learned more about each of these players throughout the week, I now feel comfortable giving them fair pro comparisons.
Jakobi Meyers - Brian Hartline
Hartline was a productive player for a number of years who fit in nicely as a second wide receiver option. Hartline came into the league a little on the thin side, but had refined and explosive cuts. Meyers fits this profile, as a versatile player with excellent footwork.
Tyre Brady - Mohamed Sanu
Another taller player with excellent feet, Brady is a solid player with the potential to play in the slot or along the boundary. With a combination or route running and vertical ability, he reminds me of the current version of Mahomed Sanu.
Penny Hart - Richie James
An undersized, versatile slot receiver who can fill a lot of roles, Hart gives me Richie James vibes all over again. With electric feet and flexible hips, Hart has the same special teams ability as James.
Keelan Doss - James Jones
I was pleasantly surprised about the refinement in Keelan Doss’ release moves against press coverage. He’s fluid and excels vertically, which is exactly how James Jones operates for so many years in the Packers offense.
Deebo Samuel - D.J. Moore
Deebo Samuel is one of the more unique prospects in the group, as his combination of physical profile and explosiveness isn’t normally seen. Athletically, he’s most similar to a prospect from last year, D.J. Moore. They have similarities in their contact balance, route running ceiling and strength.
Travis Fulgham - Mohamed Massaquoi
Fulgham showed that he belonged at the Senior Bowl, showing traits along the boundary on the vertical plane. With size and a red zone presence, he has a similar play-style to the former Brown’s second round pick Mohamed Massaquoi.
David Sills V - Sidney Rice
Tall, a bit thin but with excellent body control and a vertical jump, Sills V has the footwork to beat press coverage. While Rice May have been a bit more explosive than Sills V, physical profile and play-style wise, there are plenty of similarities.
Gary Jennings Jr. - Robert Meachem
Jennings Jr. has size and vertical ability, and was productive throughout his time at West Virginia. At nearly the same height and weight, Meachem filled a similar role during his time in New Orleans.
Terry McLaurin - Nate Burleson
This comparison is probably my favorite, as Burleson was a well-known and productive commodity for years. At just over 6’0 and 200 pounds, Burleson was a consistent separator who could dominate with his lateral agility. From what I saw out of McLaurin during the week, he’s destined for a lengthy career.
Anthony Johnson - Jermaine Kearse
Johnson is a reliable possession wide receiver with a combination of size and functional athletic ability. With physicality and consistent route running, it’s easy to see a future for Johnson because of his possession traits.
Jaylen Smith - Sammie Coates
Smith is a plus athlete with excellent size, and had some success as a vertical threat during his time at Louisville. However, his production never matched his potential, which feels exactly similar to the projection of Sammie Coates.
Alex Wesley - Steve Breaston
Wesley checked in at over 190 pounds, and has longer legs despite being just around 6’0 tall. With excellent long speed, he fits the physical and athletic profile of former Cardinals speedster Steve Breaston.
Hunter Renfrow - Wayne Chrebet
Reliability, consistency, etc., Renfrow will be a possession receiver at the next level for the next decade. While likely limited enough to never be a top receiving option, he will fit beautifully into the depth chart of whichever team drafts him. Consistent, smooth route running despite a lack of size, he fits into the Wayne Chrebet mold of receiver.
Andy Isabella - Travis Benjamin
Isabella has a rare combination of speed and quickness, though he’s undersized and underweight. His best route running comes down the field, but his ball skills can be somewhat questionable. His athleticism and future role reminds me of former Browns and current Chargers slot receiver Travis Benjamin.