Sometimes, it's really difficult to get a sense for how a player will translate in the NFL. One thing that many people use to visualize how a player looks, either from a build/frame standpoint, a play-style standpoint, or both, is to make comparisons to players in the pros. So let's do that.
I've come up with 25 early-round players that I think the New York Giants could be interested in and pro comparisons for each. The order in which they are presented does NOT mean anything. It is simply the order in which each prospect popped up in my head. Also, when you see these comparisons, they BY NO MEANS IMPLY TALENT LEVEL. So by comparing, say, La'el Collins to Trent Williams, that doesn't mean I'm saying that Collins will be as successful as Williams is in the pros. It simply means that the play-style and the frame that Collins has reminds me of Williams. That's all. Consistency, proper development, and motivation play a huge part in how these college players will end up doing in the pros.
So with that said, let's start, leading off with everybody's favorite prospect, of course:
Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa
Pro Comparison: Marshal Yanda
Similarities: Both are former Iowa Hawkeyes and both are devastating run blockers. Yanda can play both guard spots as well as tackle in a pinch, and I can see the same for Scherff. Both have trouble with speed and can open their hips too early, but otherwise are technically sound players who have incredible punches that can blow up defensive linemen.
Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Pro Comparison: D'Brickashaw Ferguson
Similarities: Neither dominates opponents but both are simply effective in the way they play consistently. Smooth, long athletes that are position blockers, not drive blockers. They use their hands effectively to guide defensive linemen away from the QB and have plus footwork for players their size. Equally effective getting down the field and are assets in the screen game for that reason. You know what you're getting with these guys, and that's consistent, above average play. Put him in there and forget about it.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Pro Comparison: Reggie Wayne
Similarities: The most impressive thing about Cooper is the intelligence he displays. Like Wayne, will open up earlier and modify route if the QB is in trouble to present themselves as better targets. Understands field depth and is a sharp route runner. Long speed missing a gear and catch radius could be better, but nobody worked the intermediate field like Reggie.
Kevin White, WR, WVU
Pro Comparison: Julio Jones
Similarities: Potential dominant "X" receiver. Can stretch on posts and seam busting routes. Will outfight anybody for the ball and will come down with it at least 66 percent of the time. Powerful vertical game. Average route runner that will need to expand tree, but matchup nightmare no matter where he lines up.
La'el Collins, OT, LSU
Pro Comparison: Trent Williams
Similarities: Will hit you and you'll fall. Then he'll hit you again and bludgeon you into submission. Collins doesn't have the same wide base that Williams does, but he can succeed anchoring anyway. He's got fantastic upper body strength, and he leans into his blocks to maul his targets to the ground. Reason why Trent Williams' nickname was "Silverback." Collins has the same demeanor. Best finisher in this class.
Devante Parker, WR, Louisville
Pro Comparison: DeAndre Hopkins
Similarities: Otherworldly catch radius and body control. Remember Hopkins' catch against Prince Amukamara that got taken away? Smooth players with plus athleticism. Parker is two inches taller than Hopkins, but they run with similar acceleration and have inconsistent top gears. Not quick twitch players and can't play in the slot, but will succeed consistently in one-on-one or even two-on-one situations on the outside.
Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Pro Comparison: Sheldon Richardson
Similarities: Richardson, who was a much better gap shooter in college, transformed into a powerful, disruptive run defender in the pros. They both are nasty at the point of attack, with vicious initial punch that can jar opponents. Both instinctual players and can get skinny to weave their way to the RB. Brown is heavier but carries the weight in a similar frame to Richardson. The effort can wane at times, but in a DT rotation, shouldn't be an issue.
Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
Pro Comparison: Johnathan Hankins
Similarities: Two massive, squatty big men who played tremendous amounts of snaps and would wear down towards the end of games. Shelton is a bit more inconsistent than Hankins against the run, but both can two-gap as well as provide plus pass rush from the interior. When they want to, they can dig in and anchor, but are much better getting low and using natural center of gravity to get under OL, twist and leverage, and disrupt.
Bud Dupree, DE, Kentucky
Pro Comparison: Robert Quinn
Similarities: Terrifying explosion off the snap and closing speed. Bend is inconsistent for Dupree, but hip flexibility is elite. Quinn can win with leverage. Sometimes struggles to disengage. Dupree much more inconsistent version because he just doesn't use his hands at all. Doesn't know how to finish but he'll intimidate offensive linemen off the edge with pure speed. Once he learns how to extend his punch, he could be a terror.
Dante Fowler Jr., DE, Florida
Pro Comparison: Tamba Hali
Similarities: Fowler has longer arms than Hali does, but plays a similar style of relentless football. Incredibly high energy, with great burst off the snap, and really active and polished hand work. Hali can rush from multiple spots and stances and that highlights similarities between he and Fowler.
Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami
Pro Comparison: Cordy Glenn
Similarities: Both are mammoth tackles with surprisingly good footwork. Glenn is a bit more of an athletic freak, but Flowers is no slouch. An aggressive run blocker that takes no prisoners, Flowers' girth allows him to push around smaller defensive linemen. Like Glenn, he's not exactly fat, but he just looks huge. Glenn's footwork allows him to play left tackle. The one problem Glenn had in college was balance, and he'd lose technique and start to lunge a bit. You can see some of that in Flowers.
T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Pro Comparison: Will Beatty
Similarities: Intelligent player with elite footspeed and bend. Technically proficient and excels at getting to the second level. Plus athleticism. Sometimes gets beat by speed and gets stuck on kickslide. That forces a weaker punch and causes holding, something Beatty has been guilty of. Underrated nastiness.
Laken Tomlinson, OG, Duke
Pro Comparison: Larry Warford
Similarities: Huge guard. Problems with balance but mauling, powerful pass protector that can drive players off the ball. Plays with abandon in the run game and can get underneath a defender's pads consistently and jack them up. Athleticism is biggest concern. Pass protection for both is above average for phone booth type players.
Trae Waynes, CB, MSU
Pro Comparison: Darqueze Dennard
Similarities: It might be because both were teammates but both have striking similarities. Pure man cover corners with precise technique, recovery speed, and some stiff hips. Both are physical during the route. Ball skills are average.
Vic Beasley, EDGE, Clemson
Pro Comparison: Barkevious Mingo
Similarities: High cut, thin legged explosion-based college DEs that will transition to stand up rushers. Functional strength an issue but the speed off the edge is like a whirlwind. Absolutely lethal change of direction ability and bend is best in the class.
Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State
Pro Comparison: Justin Tuck
Similarities: Long-limbed, well proportioned power edge with sand in his pants (different from ants in his pants). Powerful run defender that can set the edge with the best of them and disruptive as a pass rusher. Won't bend the edge but will rather try and collapse it or leverage his way free and into the quarterback. Plus athleticism and a motor that just won't stop.
Eric Rowe, CB, Utah
Pro Comparison: Devin McCourty
Similarities: Converted corner into free safety. Plus man coverage against tight ends and can hold own in slot. Good triangle numbers (6-foot-1, 205 pounds, 4.45) and good instincts in zone. Disruptive and tracks the ball well. Ball skills are average but terrific range in coverage. Aggressive blitzer and plays with intensity.
Derron Smith, FS, Fresno State
Pro Comparison: Rahim Moore
Similarities: Outstanding coverage safety with range for days. Playmaker with plus ball skills. Plays with arrogance and will try for big hits. Below average tackler due to thin frame and low weight. Athleticism is average for corner but on high end for a safety. Will have the odd hiccup in coverage at times.
Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Pro Comparison: Alterraun Verner
Similarities: Good-sized corner that is accomplished in press coverage. Smooth backpedal with fluid hips and great transition into trail position. Strong tackler and can play in both zone and man coverage, but ideally suited as a zone corner. Average long speed, but technically sound player. Probably going to be underrated.
Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
Pro Comparison: Taylor Lewan
Similarities: Prototype zone tackle. Athletic, long frame with a distinct mean streak that extends past the whistle. Gets penalized frequently. Swift and efficient moving at the second level and an accomplished pass protector with sweet feet. Anchors well and keeps center of gravity low. Might need to get a bit stronger.
Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami
Pro Comparison: Jon Beason
Similarities: The easiest comparison to make of them all. Aggressive, firebrand generals of the Hurricane defense that provide plus instincts, especially against the run, attacking style of blitzing, fundamental tackling but also are liabilities when pressed out of shallow zone coverage and when asked to disengage from blocks at times. Athleticism as well as frame are both concerns.
Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson
Pro Comparison: David Harris
Similarities: Well-proportioned, downhill linebacker that might be one of the best blitzing off ball linebackers in the draft. Powerful at the point of attack and can cover significant ground laterally as well. Hiccups in coverage, but has upside there. Like Harris, Anthony is a leader on the field. Could be best suited in a 3-4 scheme. Anthony is probably a bit more athletic than Harris was in his prime.
Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson
Pro Comparison: Geno Atkins
Similarities: Disruption is production, and Jarrett was productive. Undersized, square, and bowling ball-ish, the frame comparison shows a distinct similarity. First step is elite, just like Geno Atkins' calling card and he follows up with a jarring punch that knocks OL off balance and causes havoc up front. Like Atkins, seemingly only a fit for a 4-3 1 gap scheme.
Clive Walford, TE, Miami
Pro Comparison: Dwayne Allen
Similarities: Both are two-way tight ends with comparable sizes. Both are good in-line blockers with average athleticism but plus catch radius and body control. Won't stretch a team vertically but will be able to provide mismatches against most linebackers mid-range. They'll get some movement in the run game and that will ultimately allow them to stay on the field over specialists that can only catch or block but not both.
Shane Ray, EDGE, Missouri
Pro Comparison: Jarvis Jones
Similarities: Shares the same awesome jump off the snap as Jones, but also the concerning lack of athleticism. They have similar angular builds with smallish frames. They are both powerful at the point of attack and have underrated speed. Both aggressive, heat-seeking missiles, but struggle if they can't win initially. Will need specific scheme to succeed.