5 Clones of Present Day NFL Players in 2014 NFL Draft
5 2014 NFL Draft Prospects with Clones Already at the NFL Level
Trying to find the next big thing is always the goal in the NFL, and personnel guys along with general managers are looking to find impact guys from the college game who could translate that talent to the big stage immediately. Though that’s difficult to do most of the time, occasionally a kid coming out of school will just slap you upside the head with a skill-set that makes you go “wait a minute...”
Usually that’s a good thing when comparing players and most of the guys on this list are getting favorable reviews as a result of their links to the NFL. There are rare occasions, however, where players will remind scouts of a former draft choice gone wrong that may cause them to have some serious hesitation before going down that road again.
Evaluating players on an apples-to-apples basis is much easier than comparing a kumquat to a watermelon. If you have a wide receiver like Calvin Johnson he’s obviously not going to bear any resemblance to a guy like Tavon Austin from a year ago just to give an example.
These things seem to go without saying, but sometimes GMs can see things through rose-colored glasses rather than as they actually are. That’s a quick way to earn a ticket out of town via pink-slip by making too many of those misguided evaluations, so it’s imperative that the personnel guys around the league have their objective eyes on.
Some of the guys on this list may surprise you while others will be easy to recognize in a heartbeat why they are associated with who they are. Without further delay, here are five aspiring NFL talents heading into the 2014 NFL Draft and their near identical twins at the next level already.
5. Tajh Boyd, QB
Pro Comparison: Troy Smith
Okay, so technically Troy Smith isn’t a “present” day NFL player, but he was a very recent one with a Heisman Trophy winning pedigree. Though Tajh Boyd never took home any hardware of that magnitude, he is still a battle-tested senior leader who is undersized coming into the league. With Smith at 6-foot, 225-pounds and Boyd at 6-foot-1 225-pounds, the size comparisons are easy to make. Add in their propensity to scramble occasionally along with their erratic accuracy and you have yourself a true doppelganger – and that’s not a good thing. With Smith now paying his bills via the CFL, perhaps Boyd isn’t the sound investment everyone thought he would be at the onset of this past collegiate season.
4. Jadeveon Clowney, DE
Pro Comparison: Julius Peppers
Alright, this one’s fairly easy given the freakish nature of both individuals coming out of college and their similar builds. Julius Peppers was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft behind David Carr who went to – ironically enough – the Houston Texans. There’s no doubt they’ve regretted that decision as Carr has been a relative vagabond while Peppers is still terrorizing quarterbacks around the league. Jadeveon Clowney could suffer a similar fate this spring if the Texans choose to start over at quarterback rather than taking the best overall player on the board. At 6-foot-7, 287-pounds Peppers is nearly a perfect clone of the 6-foot-6, 274-pound Clowney, and you can bank on their impact at the NFL level being pretty much identical as well.
3. Kony Ealy, DE/OLB
Pro Comparison: Aldon Smith
So the obvious connection here that’s irresistible is the Missouri one, but where a guy goes to school has no bearing on his level of production at the next level. This is the one rare case on the list where the college prospect in Kony Ealy at 6-foot-5, 275-pounds is actually larger than the pro comparison of Aldon Smith who stands 6-foot-4, 265-pounds. There’s an undeniable similarity in that regard, and Smith’s first two years of full regular season production with 33.5 sacks and five forced fumbles at the NFL level will have scouts drooling over Ealy. Though the aspiring Ealy only totaled eight sacks and 14 tackles-for-loss during his 2013 campaign at Mizzou, there’s no doubt the potential is through the roof for an absolute impact player rushing the passer.
2. Keith McGill, CB
Pro Comparison: Brandon Browner
There are bound to be NFL teams looking to duplicate the success the Seattle Seahawks have seen in their sizable secondary this offseason. One of their cornerbacks in Brandon Browner stands at 6-foot-4, 221-pounds which has already drawn some comparisons to a Senior Bowl participant from Utah by the name of Keith McGill who is 6-foot-3, 214-pounds. Neither of these guys will wow you with speed or athleticism, but their adequate measurables in those areas allow their sheer physical size to thrive in coverage. This kid could be a hot commodity currently thought of as a third-round pick who may rise come draft time.
1. Jace Amaro, TE
Pro Comparison: Rob Gronkowski
It’s a copycat league in the NFL, and just like many teams like to piggyback on the Seahawks’ success in the secondary a number of clubs are on the lookout for the next great difference-making tight end. Rob Gronkowski is the quintessential blueprint for what teams want at the position these days, and he has a doppelganger in this year’s draft class with Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gronk is pretty much a carbon copy of the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Amaro, and both guys are impact receivers. There’s no doubt the numbers for Amaro are somewhat inflated in the wide open Tech offense, but 106 catches for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns is impressive at any level of football.