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Comparing Top 15 NFL Draft Prospects to Their Pro Counterparts

Comparing Top 15 NFL Draft Prospects to Their Pro Counterparts

NFL Draft Prospects
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With the 2014 NFL Draft inching closer, the hype for the top draft prospects is increasing at a quick pace. Everyone wants to debate where each player will land in the first round. However one of the more intriguing areas to focus on is which of the top 15 NFL draft prospects are comparable to which NFL superstar.

15. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix S – Ed Reed

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
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15. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix S – Ed Reed

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
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Ha Ha Clinton-Dix won’t match Ed Reed’s great style of play right out of the gate, but there’s no question that over time he will get there. Clinton-Dix has the speed and athleticism to cover the field in the bat of an eye. More importantly, he’s a big-time hitter, defends the pass at an exceptional level and constantly makes plays on the ball.

14. Aaron Donald DT – Geno Atkins

Aaron Donald
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14. Aaron Donald DT – Geno Atkins

Aaron Donald
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Aaron Donald has stated that his role model is Geno Atkins, which makes sense considering the two are very comparable in their style of play. The defensive tackle is unbelievably quick off the snap and has the ability to immediately put pressure on the quarterback. Like Atkins, Donald has the speed and strength that will allow him to be a dominant pass rusher at the next level.

13. Taylor Lewan OT – Ryan Clady

Taylor Lewan
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13. Taylor Lewan OT – Ryan Clady

Taylor Lewan
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Taylor Lewan has the height and large frame to play left tackle in the pros. Like Ryan Clady, his biggest strengths are his quick feet and ability to slide to prevent pass rushers from getting around the edge. Even though Lewan won’t initially be as good as Clady is when it comes to getting outside off the snap, he has the potential to get there one day.

12. Johnny Manziel QB – Tony Romo

Johnny Manziel
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12. Johnny Manziel QB – Tony Romo

Johnny Manziel
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Johnny Manziel proved that he could make plays inside and outside of the pocket. It’s his maneuverability that allows him to move the chains. Manziel can be compared to Romo due to both players coming up with jaw-dropping plays while moving around in the pocket. People can say what they want about Romo, but there’s no denying his intense work ethic. Manziel is exactly the same way in that sense.

11. Eric Ebron TE – Jermichael Finley

Eric Ebron
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11. Eric Ebron TE – Jermichael Finley

Eric Ebron
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Eric Ebron will be a part of the unique class of tight ends that play like wide receivers. Like Jermichael Finley, Ebron is incredibly athletic and he will create mismatches all over the gridiron. Whether it’s lining up as the prototypical tight end or out wide, he will be able to use his solid hands and toughness to make the necessary plays. On top of that, he will be an even better blocker than Finley is.

10. Mike Evans WR – Marques Colston

Mike Evans
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10. Mike Evans WR – Marques Colston

Mike Evans
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Mike Evans can be compared to Marques Colston in the sense that he’s a legitimate deep threat with great hands. Evans’ size and strength will allow him to get separation and come down with the ball. He’s a player who teams will rely upon to come up with the big catch with the game on the line.

9. Teddy Bridgewater QB – Russell Wilson

Teddy Bridgewater
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9. Teddy Bridgewater QB – Russell Wilson

Teddy Bridgewater
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There are 31 teams that regret not selecting Russell Wilson in either of the first two rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft. There’s no way Teddy Bridgewater falls out of the first round, but other than that, he’s very comparable to Wilson. Bridgewater has the intelligence, athleticism and accuracy outside of the pocket that will make him a top-notch quarterback at the next level.

8. Justin Gilbert CB – Richard Sherman

Justin Gilbert
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8. Justin Gilbert CB – Richard Sherman

Justin Gilbert
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Justin Gilbert has a long ways to go to be mentioned in the same breath as Richard Sherman. However, like Sherman, Gilbert’s athleticism is through the roof. In fact, no other player in the draft can compare in that department. Gilbert’s acceleration and coverage skills will give him the opportunity to be one of the best in the league. Not to mention, his athleticism allows him to make plays on the ball and take it to the house.

7. Anthony Barr OLB – DeMarcus Ware

Anthony Barr
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7. Anthony Barr OLB – DeMarcus Ware

Anthony Barr
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Anthony Barr compares to DeMarcus Ware mostly because of his exceptional speed. Even though the comparison basically stops there for now, Barr has the potential to be just as good as Ware over time. In order to do this, the outside linebacker must hit the weight room hard and build up his strength.

6. Jake Matthews OT – Matt Kalil

Jake Matthews
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6. Jake Matthews OT – Matt Kalil

Jake Matthews
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Matthews isn’t the most athletic offensive tackle, but he’s enough so to be compared to Matt Kalil. Matthews’ strengths are his quickness and his long arms to keep good space between defenders and him. His diversity allows him to excel in run and pass block, which makes him a heavy favorite to be the first offensive lineman taken off the board.

5. Khalil Mack OLB – Clay Matthews

Khalil Mack
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5. Khalil Mack OLB – Clay Matthews

Khalil Mack
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Like Clay Matthews, Khalil Mack has an endless motor that allows him to stay after quarterbacks and close in quickly for the sack. His burst of speed off the line, ability to get off blockers and talent to line up anywhere along the defensive line makes him a legitimate threat on any team. Also like Matthews, Mack can use his impressive strength his quick hands to power through offensive linemen.

4. Blake Bortles QB – Andrew Luck

Blake Bortles
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4. Blake Bortles QB – Andrew Luck

Blake Bortles
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There are several NFL scouts who have compared Blake Bortles to Andrew Luck, and I couldn’t disagree. Bortles has the confidence and leadership skills that are necessary for a NFL quarterback to take his team to the playoffs and beyond. He has tremendous arm strength and his football intelligence is off the charts. Even though Bortles has stated he would compare his mental game to that of Tom Brady, his comparison to Luck is most accurate.

3. Greg Robinson OT – Joe Thomas

Greg Robinson
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3. Greg Robinson OT – Joe Thomas

Greg Robinson
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Joe Thomas has been one of the most dominant left tackles since joining the league in 2007. Greg Robinson is dominant in run blocking, but like Thomas, he has enough upside to excel in all facets of the game. I’m talking about a player who will be an above-average edge blocker for the next decade.

2. Sammy Watkins WR – Percy Harvin

Sammy Watkins
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2. Sammy Watkins WR – Percy Harvin

Sammy Watkins
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There are a few wide receivers that Sammy Watkins can compare to, but the most obvious one is Percy Harvin. His acceleration is the main reason for this as both players have different levels of speed. Watkins’ ability to burst into top gear at will is what will make him a legitimate threat at the next level.

1. Jadeveon Clowney DE – Mario Williams

Jadeveon Clowney
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1. Jadeveon Clowney DE – Mario Williams

Jadeveon Clowney
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The jury is still out, but many predict Jadeveon Clowney will be the top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. That’s just one of many things he has in common with Mario Williams. Like Williams, Clowney has the size, speed and rare athleticism that will make him a dynamic player in the pros. Whichever one of the teams with a top draft pick selects him won’t regret it, as he will become an immediate game changer.