It’s NFL draft month, which means you’ll be hearing a lot of comps for the top prospects in the 2023 class. These matches are typically based on the way prospects play the game, their physical measurements, their production, their versatility and role, similar traits or some combination of those lines of thought.
Prospect-to-player comparisons are useful because they give fans a sense of a player’s style of play. They aren’t always exact — and in most cases they don’t suggest the prospect will share the same level of success as the NFLer, for better or worse. But they can be helpful in better understanding prospects and how they project to the next level. So we asked 15 of our NFL analysts for their favorite comp in this year’s class.
It’s rare that we can compare a prospect to a future Hall of Famer, but I think this edge rush pairing fits. Anderson (Alabama) is 6-foot-4 and 253 pounds with a stunning first step, powerhouse hands and an awesome motor. And when Miller was coming out of Texas A&M, he measured at 6-foot-3, 246 pounds and wowed scouts in space with his speed. Anderson — my No. 1 overall prospect — has the same traits to be a league-leading sack artist. — Matt Miller, NFL draft analyst
The arm strength, the build, the gunslinger mentality — I see a lot of Stafford in Levis, my second-ranked quarterback in this class. Stafford threw 33 picks in three seasons at Georgia, often because he tried to squeeze passes into tight windows. He and Levis (Kentucky) both can make rare throws, but that also leads them into mistakes. — Mel Kiper Jr., NFL draft analyst
It’s the upper-tier physical tools and playmaking traits at the QB position that stand out for me. Just like we saw when Allen was coming out of Wyoming, Richardson (Florida) has a powerful frame and outstanding arm strength, with the ability to produce on designed rushes and scrambles. — Matt Bowen, NFL analyst
See why Anthony Richardson has become a top draft prospect
Check out the highlights that make Anthony Richardson one of the most exciting prospects of the 2023 NFL draft.
Robinson’s stop-start ability, tackle evasion skill and versatility in both the run and passing game will give him a chance to quickly become one of the better players at the position in the NFL. The Texas running back’s vision and contact balance are both special — and very reminiscent of Tomlinson. — Jordan Reid, NFL draft analyst
It’s hard to find a comp this close. I see the same explosiveness, suddenness and closing speed on tape, and they both have this relentless, gritty mentality to their pass-rush toolboxes. Plus, they are essentially the same build. Smith (Georgia) is 6-foot-2, 238 pounds with 32 5/8-inch arms … Reddick measured at 6-foot-1, 237 pounds with 32 3/4-inch arms at the 2017 combine. In the lead-up to Reddick’s draft, there were questions about how his size would translate to the NFL and where he would play, but he has become a dominant pass-rusher at the next level. You’ll hear similar questions around Smith, but I see a prospect who — like Reddick — will be able to make an impact in the NFL. — Todd McShay, NFL draft analyst
I see Young as a combo of Burrow and, in a cross-sport twist, Stephen Curry. The game around him seems slow down to how fast and sudden he moves within it. Young (Alabama) never panics with the football in big moments, and he’s a true floor general at quarterback. — Dan Orlovsky, NFL analyst
At 281 pounds, Kancey is a little lighter than Jarrett was at the 2015 combine (301), but the traits are the same for these defensive tackles. They both have really strong short-area quickness, really good hands and a quick first step. And watching the tape, both Kancey (Pitt) and Jarrett are excellent at tracking the ball down the line of scrimmage. — Marcus Spears, NFL analyst
Like Alexander, Witherspoon is a feisty, aggressive, in-your-face cornerback who wants to mix it up with receivers. Alexander came out of Louisville slightly bigger (196 pounds vs. Witherspoon’s 181) and faster in 2018, but Witherspoon reminds me of him because they’re both sticky man-coverage corners with really good ball skills. Witherspoon (Illinois) also shares Alexander’s thirst for blowing up wide receiver screens and helping out against the run. — Turron Davenport, Titans reporter
These are two big, physical corners who can play press coverage and excel at the line of scrimmage. There’s a high ceiling for Gonzalez (Oregon), who thrives in the run game and can make plays on the ball. — Pete Thamel, college football reporter
Mauch and Jensen are both players you’d want as a teammate but also hate to play against. They block to the echo of the whistle and look to bury defenders on every snap. Both played offensive tackle at small schools, though Mauch (North Dakota State) played at a much bigger program than Jensen (Colorado St-Pueblo). Mauch has a better chance of staying at tackle in the NFL and should get drafted earlier than Jensen (sixth round), but he could also move inside and develop into one of the better interior offensive linemen in the league. — Steve Muench, NFL draft analyst
I covered the Titans for the first six of Rolle’s 11 seasons in the NFL and used to question even his listed weight of 175 pounds. But he was a versatile, instinctive and physical cornerback despite being outweighed by almost every receiver he covered in a career that included 31 interceptions over 149 career games. Forbes is that guy in this draft, at 6-foot-1 and 166 pounds. He finished his Mississippi State career with 14 interceptions, had two seasons with at least five and returned six for touchdowns. — Jeff Legwold, Broncos reporter
Prescott has been a productive top-12 quarterback in the NFL despite not having one real dominant trait. And I think Hooker (Tennessee) will have a very similar career. He has really good size at 6-foot-3, 217 pounds, arm strength and accuracy. While other quarterbacks in this class will get more hype, Hooker could ultimately be a 10-year starter in the NFL. — Mike Tannenbaum, NFL analyst
Hendon Hooker’s NFL draft profile
Check out the best highlights that contributed to a stellar college career for Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker.
Like Mack, Schmitz profiles as a pure center in the NFL. He has a combination of physical and cerebral traits to anchor an offensive line for a decade that is akin to Mack’s toolbox. Mack thrived for many years under coach Kyle Shanahan in a zone-scheme offense, and I think Schmitz (Minnesota) could also have a lot of success in a similar scheme. — Field Yates, NFL analyst
They have similar builds — Addison is 5-foot-11, 173 pounds, while Lockett measured 5-foot-10, 182 in 2015 — and both rely on their speed, footwork, crisp route running and excellent ball skills to produce at a high level. And like Lockett, Addison (USC) is a reliable target who also can stretch defenses and gain valuable yards after the catch. — Adam Rittenberg, college football reporter
Kincaid (Utah) reminds me of Andrews in the way he can get upfield and contort his body to make contested catches. Neither would be categorized as a blazer on a track, but they are both plenty fast in the open field. Kincaid is smooth running routes and making things happen, much like Andrews. — Jeremy Fowler, NFL reporter