Prospect comparisons are the absolute worst part of draft season. No one will ever project perfectly onto an already established pro player, and with each NFL name comes a series of biases about team, temperament, and career path. For this exercise, I tried my hardest to rely on what I’ve seen on tape and at the combine- and to stay realistic about each guy’s potential. For size and combine reference, I looked at MockDraftable.com. Every selection was my own doing, so yell at me on Twitter if you don’t like it. Remember that every comp should really be a range of names, and virtually anyone can boom or bust.
Christian Watson- Marquez Valdes-Scantling
To be honest, it’s hard to not see this one. Watson is a small school prospect with incredible height and speed who never truly elevated to elite status over low-level competition and struggles with drops. MVS, who was taken by the Packers in the 5th round in 2018 after much less pre-draft buzz, matches those positives to a T and has had his own very un-clutch moments of the dropsies. Moreover, Watson is frequently mocked to the Packers to replace MVS or to the Bears to fill that role in the transferred Green Bay system.
George Pickens- AJ Green
Credit to Sports Illustrated
Hear me out, hear me out- George Pickens would be surprisingly similar to AJ Green… if he had played three full college seasons at the level he’s shown. He would also be an unquestioned top 10 pick like Green. But injuries, on the field fights, and some rust have kept his name in the second round. Read that again… Nebulous lower body injuries? On the field fights? Rust keeping a great player down? The Georgia Bulldogs? That all screams AJ Green to me. Obviously, this is a lofty projection, but I can see it. Pickens and Green both have the full gamut of X receiver traits- all Pickens has to do is be healthy enough to show them
Alec Pierce- DJ Chark
Pierce is 6’3, runs a true 4.4, and makes crazy out of frame catches. He also struggles to separate and had never been the focus of a high-level defense’s attention until the Natty semi-final, when he had 2 catches for 17 yards. This looks like a Chark career path to me- tantalizing physical traits that never amount to more than a good #2, with injury concerns lingering to boot.
Tyler Smith- Kyle Long
A familiar name for all you Bears fans out there. This was a fun Mock Draftable find and it really fits- Smith and Long are both guard-tackle hybrids (who should be guards, to be clear) with plus athletic traits. They both have a nasty streak when finishing defenders, and both play high from their time at tackle. I’m shocked that I haven’t heard this comp more often in general- this may be because Smith is a riser, but then again Long shot up boards and ended up in the first round as well. A lot of draft comparisons seem to be simply saying who a guy looks like- and for some it’s hard to separate the immediate physical appearance from the on the field similarities.
Bernhard Raimann- Jason Spriggs
Ex tight end? Check. Good movement ability and developing strength? Check. This comparison was almost too easy- and when I checked their Mock Draftables I was shocked at how well the numbers bore out my perception. Spriggs, a former Bear, is not Austrian like Raimann, so minus one for difference in football background. One would hope Raimann has a better career.
Dohnovan West- Jonotthan Harrison
Light zone interior o-lineman whose best position is center. Serviceable and will hang around the league for a while as an adequate starter.
Kaiir Elam- Carlton Davis
This one was hard. I knew this is the comparison they have over on The Draft Network and wanted to organically find one myself. I couldn’t however- Elam is a similar build and has similar flaws (grabby, injury) as Davis did coming out. In the last three years, Davis has taken an incredible step from a good press zone prospect to a top-10 man and zone corner in the league- an interesting note given how many guys project the grabby Elam as a man corner even though he’s currently clearly better in zone. If Elam takes the same step, which I believe he will, this comp is near flawless. Elam’s just a little taller.
Coby Bryant- Iman Marshall
A hard comp- corners like Bryant tend not to stick, but I think Bryant’s tenacity will keep him around the league. Marshall has admirable filled in on an elite Ravens secretary, keeping pace in both man and zone as a taller corner.
Martin Emerson- Brandon Facyson
The only difference here is Facyson is better in man, largely because he’s faster. Emerson is a great projection to zone teams that largely run Cover 2 (which is the Bears now) for his good eyes, plus length, and decent pedal. He’s not fast and he’s not agile though- a real problem if you want to be scheme diverse.
Chad Muma- Drue Tranquil
A do-it-all linebacker who has the makings of a long term starter, though not the ceiling of one. Tranquil would be on a lot more radars if his career hadn’t been shifted by an ankle injury in 2020. Tranquil earned a 70+ PFF pass coverage grade in 2020, and I think Muma should at least see the field early as a pass down backer due to his eyes and agility at his size.
Leo Chenal- Brian Cushing
A missile coming down field, the comparisons between the ultra-strong Chenal and the former DROY Bran Cushing pop on tape. Both are limited in the pass game but more than make up for it when it comes to their acceleration, hit power, and read skills. Both also really flashed as blitzers, overpowering lineman that had fifty pounds on them. Chenal is perhaps more of a pure MIKE than Cushing, but this is an easy film comp for a player I grew up watching right down to the Sharpie writing on the arms.
Brian Asamoah- Jerome Baker
Another all too easy comparison. Both are undersized linebackers who should ideally be in WILL but can excel at MIKE on blitz heavy teams because of their skills in man and crazy acceleration. They’re also MockDraftable clones of each other. Asamoah is, if anything, a better coverage player than the newly extended Baker- he really understands his zone responsibilities in a way more reminiscent of a safety than a linebacker.