Comparing draft prospects to NFL players, both former and current, is an annual tradition.
It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have the same kind of success at this level. Yet, the comparisons are made based on how similar the way the prospects play the game, their physical measurements, production, role, and traits.
Ahead of the 2022 NFL draft, Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield of Touchdown Wire revealed their top players at each position and gave NFL comparisons for each player.
Now that the draft is behind us, I went back to check out their comparisons for the top three players the Chargers landed.
Let’s take a look.
Johnson profiles well as an in-line and pull / sweep blocker, but it’s his ability to get downfield and just nuke defenders in space that sets him apart and reminds me very much of Evans, who may have been the best move guard of his era . At Evans’ peak, he was an indispensable part of Sean Payton’s offenses with his ability to hit (and kill) the second and third levels of defense, and I think that Johnson projects similarly with an outstanding combination of power and agility.
Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi’s system mirrors former Saints head coach Sean Payton’s, and new offensive line coach Brendan Nugent spent the past seven seasons with New Orleans. So seeing the Chargers grab Johnson, who has a similar physical profile and traits – footwork, hand technique, strength, and agility – as one of the best to play in Payton’s offensive scheme doesn’t come as a surprise.
Sneed, who the Chiefs selected in the fourth round of the 2020 draft out of Louisiana Tech, became a plus NFL cornerback after playing safety for the most part in his final season at Louisiana Tech. Sneed had more college reps at the cornerback than Woods did, but I wonder if the NFL team taking Woods might see him as somebody with more slot / outside attributes. Maybe I’m going too far outside the box, and maybe Woods will be a good speed safety in the NFL over time, but you never know.
I believe that Woods has the potential to be a really good one to play the free safety and erase a large portion of the field in this league and create turnovers with his range, athleticism and ball skills. However, he could also be used as a versatile corner with his movement skills coupled with his size and length. This was the case for Sneed, who moved from safety to corner and became an impact player for the Chiefs.
The Packers got a real steal with Jones, who they selected in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of Texas El-Paso. Jones became a crucial part of Green Bay’s offense with his slashing running style and receiving ability once Mike McCarthy figured out that Jones was pretty good. The Packers have also stressed the importance of putting power backs around Jones through time, which could be how Spiller’s NFL career works out – as a force multiplier in certain ways, and as a guy who needs to be part of a committee in others.
The comparison of Spiller to Jones is quite interesting, but they are stylistically similar. Both are quicker-than-fast running backs with good lateral quickness and home run ability. They are good at getting what is blocked for them and can make tacklers miss at the line of scrimmage and in the open field. Both are solid between the tackles, with good vision and they can push the pile. Furthermore, they possess receiving upside.