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Prospects Matched to Pros Based on Combine Measurements

by Bobby Sylvester | @bobbyfantasypro | Featured Writer
Mar 5, 2019

The next Frank Gore may be in this year’s draft class

The NFL Combine is over so it is time to dive head first into NFL Draft mode. While a player’s metrics can’t tell us everything, it does help craft the picture of a player’s potential upside and style of play. One way to digest the results is to compare them to players we’ve seen play in the NFL. Today, I’ll draw up 10 comparisons of the most relevant skill players in this year’s draft. A few players like Josh Jacobs and Marquise Brown didn’t participate in the athletic portion of the combine, and I left Hakeem Butler off this article because his size makes him such an outlier. If you want to do some sniffing around on other players, I conducted most of my research on which makes the process significantly easier.

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Damien Harris (RB) vs Stevan Ridley

  • Size – 5’10”, 216 lbs to 5’11”, 225 lbs
  • Forty – 4.57s to 4.65s
  • Bench – 16 reps to 18 reps
  • Broad – 121″ to 118″

Takeaway: This was a tough match to find, as most of the names in his comps were players like Jonas Gray who fizzled out without much to show for or Kenneth Dixon, who hasn’t given us a large enough NFL sample to judge. The point here is that while Harris may be the top back on most people’s big boards, he is nowhere near the same level as the top backs from the last few seasons in terms of athleticism.

David Montgomery (RB) vs Alex Collins

  • Size – 5’10”, 222 lbs to 5’10”, 217 lbs 
  • Forty – 4.63s to 4.59s
  • Bench – 15 reps to 18 reps
  • Broad – 121″ to 113″

Takeaway: You may have seen some try to make Montgomery into another Saquon or Fournette. The truth of the matter is that his closest comps were players like Collins, Terrance West and Corey Clement. That type of slower athlete can excel in a certain role, but Montgomery is by no means a can’t miss prospect. Instead, expect him to be used like another one of his comps, Rashaad Penny.

Darrell Henderson (RB) vs DeAndre Washington

  • Size – 5’8″, 208 lbs to 5’8″, 204 lbs
  • Forty – 4.49s to 4.49s
  • Bench – 22 reps to 24 reps
  • Broad – 121″ to 118″

Takeaway: Henderson’s comp list is littered with all kinds of useful fantasy assets from pure pass-catchers like Duke Johnson and Jacquizz Rodgers to explosive backs like Marlon Mack and DeAngelo Williams. Washington was the closest comp, however, and plays a very similar style to Henderson. Whether he lands in a better spot than Oakland’s trainwreck offense will make or break his fantasy relevance.

Benny Snell (RB) vs Frank Gore

  • Size – 5’10”, 224 lbs to 5’9″, 217 lbs
  • Forty – 4.66s to 4.58s
  • Broad: 119″ to 109″
  • 3-Cone: 7.07s to 6.91s

Takeaway: When Snell ran his slow forty, the jeers were endless. What did you expect though? He is a plodding workhorse with elite vision and balance. Does that remind you of a certain sure-fire Hall of Famer? No one is going to be excited about Snell since he isn’t designed like Kalen Ballage, but the kid can play football. He fits the mold of these “surprising” running backs like Alex Collins and BenJarvus Green-Ellis who rack up fantasy points from mere volume.

Alex Barnes (RB) vs David Johnson

  • Size – 6’0″, 226 lbs to 6’1″, 224 lbs
  • Forty – 4.59s to 4.50s
  • Bench – 34 reps to 25 reps
  • Vert – 38.5″ to 41.5″
  • Shuttle – 4.10s to 4.27s

Takeaway: Barnes was the big running back gainer at the combine and you can see why based on his comp. He possesses a rare combo of size, power and quickness. Prior to the combine, Barnes may have gone undrafted but now he may rise all the way to the third round. Granted, the combine can’t measure vision or balance, but the names matched with his metrics have plenty of Pro Bowls between them.

D.K. Metcalf (WR) vs Kenny Britt

  • Size – 6’3″, 228 lbs to 6’3″, 218 lbs
  • Forty – 4.33s to 4.49s
  • Bench – 27 reps to 23 reps 
  • Vert – 40.5″ to 37″
  • Shuttle – 4.50s to 4.47s

Takeaway: You were expecting to see Julio Jones or Calvin Johnson? That may have been the case if Metcalf has skipped the agility drills. But he didn’t, and in fact, Tom freakin Brady beat him in those. So instead, we’ve got a long list of athletic freaks who never did much in the NFL like Chris Conley and Donte Moncrief. Don’t be surprised if he goes in the top 10 of the NFL Draft and you can believe in the hype if you want but I won’t be with you.

A.J. Brown (WR) vs Quincy Enunwa

  • Size – 6’1″, 226 lbs to 6’2″, 225 lbs
  • Hand Size – 9.7″ to 9.5″
  • Forty – 4.49s to 4.45s
  • Bench – 19 reps to 19 reps

Takeaway: This was the easiest comp among all the players in this article. In fact, these two play a pretty similar game too. Both are physical receivers who fit ideally in an offense where they can get the ball in their hands with quick routes then create after the catch. Enunwa hasn’t been a true number one wideout, but is certainly an impactful weapon for an NFL team. Brown strikes me the same way which is why I give him a 2nd round grade.

N’Keal Harry (WR) vs Kevin White

  • Size – 6’3″, 228 lbs to 6’3″, 215 lbs
  • Forty – 4.53s to 4.35s
  • Vert – 38.5″ to 36.5″
  • Broad – 122″ to 123″
  • Bench – 27 reps to 23 reps

Takeaway: This is not a knock on Harry. Remember, White didn’t bust in terms of performance. He broke his leg twice and his collar bone another time. Rather, this is to give you an idea of the type of receiver Harry is. Remember all the hype after White’s insane combine metrics. That could have been Harry were it not for Metcalf sucking all the oxygen out of the room. Harry is the #1 receiver on my big board and should give us a look at who White may have become were it not for all the injuries.

Miles Boykin (WR) vs Andre Johnson

  • Size – 6’4″, 220 lbs to 6’2″, 230 lbs
  • Forty – 4.42s to 4.40s
  • Vert – 44″ to 39″
  • Broad – 140″ to 132″
  • Shuttle 4.07s – 4.10s

Takeaway: Oh boy, here we go. You thought Metcalf had an incredible combine, eh? Boykin was the star and it wasn’t even close. In fact, I could have used Calvin Johnson as a comp since his metrics matched better, but from watching the tape again, Boykin reminds me much more of Johnson. This freak of nature will get Jeff Janis type hype over the next few years, and we will see if finally having a competent quarterback at the NFL level can lead to some production.

Noah Fant (TE) vs Jordan Cameron

  • Size: 6’4″, 249 lbs to 6’5″, 254 lbs
  • Forty: 4.50s to 4.53s
  • Bench: 20 reps to 23 reps
  • Vert: 39.5″ to 37.5″
  • Broad 127″ to 119″
  • Shuttle: 4.22s to 4.03s

Takeaway: This one may make you cringe. After all, Fant’s combine was absurdly impressive and your memories of Cameron are, let’s just say, less than ideal. Cameron actually blew up as a third year tight end, as you’d hope he would, catching 80 balls for 917 yards and 7 scores. At that point, concussions ruined his career, otherwise he might still be among the better fantasy contributors. He is still the same age as Travis Kelce if you can believe it! I imagine Fant taking some time to break out, unlike a George Kittle, and hopefully in Fant’s case, he can stay healthy throughout his career.

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Bobby Sylvester is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Bobby, check out his archive and follow him @BobbyFantasyPro

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