The 2022 NFL Draft is getting closer, which means you’ll start hearing comparisons between some of the best potential players in the class and current/former NFL players. These matches can be based on the way prospects play the game, their physical measurements, their production, their versatility and role, similar traits or a combination of those lines of thought. But regardless, evaluators of the NFL Draft often round up players out of college to certified professionals to put a name and face to what they bring in.
Comps is an easy way for fans to get a feel for the player’s playing style. But it’s not always accurate – and in most cases they don’t suggest that a prospect will share the same level of success as an NFLer, for better or worse. They are simply helpful in getting a better understanding of the possibilities and how they plan for the next level.
So we asked 10 NFL Draft analysts for their favorite companies for this year’s class. You may have heard of some already, but others may offer a new way of looking at a particular possibility and what we can expect to see from it every Sunday from now on. We start with one of the best midfielders in the class.
Beckett has an uneasy backyard style of play. Pittsburgh QB constantly gets himself out of bad situations with his speed and creativity. And when he’s in rhythm, Beckett works great. That likens it to the way Romo, the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, played the game. – Dan Orlovsky, NFL Analyst
From a dynamic perspective with playmaking attributes, Wilson can extend defenses vertically or build after hunting. And with the high-level ball skills he shows on the bar, the Ohio State receiver can win isolation matches. In the Pro Attack, look for Wilson’s deployment as Diggs (Buffalo Bills) as a three-tier target with indoor/outdoor flexibility. – Matt Bowen, NFL Analyst
Lloyd is a full quarterback, just like Warner on the San Francisco 49ers. And their university production and measurements are nearly identical.
During his Utah career, Lloyd had 256 total tackles, 16.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, five interceptions, eight breakout passes, and three touchdowns. During his four seasons at BYU, Warner scored 264 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, three forced assists, seven interceptions, 13 assists and two touchdowns.
In the rally this year, Lloyd measured 6-foot-3, 235 pounds with a 33-inch length and 4.66 seconds in a 40-yard dash. Meanwhile, Warner measured 6-foot-3, 236 pounds with a length of 32 inches and a speed of 4.64 during his 2018 combined workouts.
Lloyd can stop the run, play the ball in coverage and get close to the middle. And being able to influence passing defense as a full-back makes Lloyd an easy tool for Warner for me. – Todd McShie, NFL Project Analyst
Gardner is a tall and surprising linebacker, and he hasn’t given up a single touchdown this season at Cincinnati. We had a Cromartie on the New York Jets when I was a GM, and those two mainstays and physical traits are nearly identical. Gardner should have been a man-to-man coverage corner of the NFL’s elite, just like Crowe. – Mike Tannenbaum, NFL Analyst
Nelson was a really good receiver of the Green Bay Packers, and Pierce has similar physical traits. It stunned with a 40-yard dash of 4.41 seconds and 40.5 inches vertical when combined, and the Cincinnati pass-catcher could also run every trail—and break interferences after the hunt. Perhaps Green Bay could steal Pierce with one of his picks in the second round. — Mel Keeper Jr., NFL Draft Analyst
Ekwonu from NC State is a brave player with amazing running ability. Just as the Wirfs did for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he knocked out Iowa, expect to be a great offensive tackle on day one that will likely do better early in the running game than in the passing game. The Ekwonu’s upside – thanks to attributes like speed, balance and strength – makes it arguably the best handling in its class. – Matt Miller, NFL Draft Analyst
Check out footage from NC State OT Ikem Ekwonu as he prepares to be the top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Both of these monumental pillars were known to produce the ball in college. Stingley had a real outstanding freshman season at LSU that included six interceptions, while Lattimore had four picks in his final college season before being taken by the New Orleans Saints in the first round in 2017. Stingley has stark clean technique as a corner man but is also smart with his eyes. And his instincts to cover the area. Ability is not his ways with him. It’s his availability – he’s missed 13 games in the past two seasons. If Stingley can get back into his pre-injury form, he has the talent to finish fifth at the corner in the NFL. – Jordan Reed, NFL Draft Analyst
Each of these defensive tackles is huge — Georgia’s Davis weighed 341 pounds, Vea (Buccaneers) weighed 347 pounds when he entered the draft in 2018 — internal fillers who have the strength to dominate singles matches and occupy a double. difference. I don’t think either of them would be bulky bag manufacturers, but the bags can be overestimated. Their ability to pocket a payoff makes it difficult for quarterbacks to advance, and this can cause teams to multiply them, effectively creating head-to-heads for others. – Steve Muench, NFL Project Analyst
I was covering the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) in 1996 when they picked Runyan, a strong offensive tackle with a bad streak, in the fourth round (109 overall). He went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL. Penning, who is 6 feet 7, 325 pounds, has the same physical appearance as Runyan, and his toughness to play and willingness to finish playing with superiority were noticeable traits in every game he played for Northern Iowa. But Benning won’t have to wait until the fourth round to hear his name call. — Jeff Legold, NFL Nation reporter
Each of these tight ends have a dangerous catch-all ability. Their versatile skill sets show in how their offensive coordinators use them, with every pass off the field and even taking deliveries. Like Smith at the New England Patriots, Maryland’s Okonkwo will present NFL match problems with his size against their defensive backs and pace against their linebackers. – Toron Davenport, NFL Nation reporter