2014 NFL combine survey: Prospects identify their best pro comparison
INDIANAPOLIS — Comparing players is always a dicey endeavor. No two players are exactly alike, and yet every year, as the draft draws nearer, we connect the dots, saying Player X is the next coming of Player Y, and so on.
This year we went straight to the source, asking the prospects at the combine in Indianapolis who they think is their best pro comparison.
Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State: “Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch. I see them running out of shotgun, spread plays … I’m watching the to see how they play. My running style is violent. Not too many times I’m trying to make you miss — I’m trying to run through you.”
A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama: “I don’t think you can compare anybody to anybody. I don’t understand how you can do that. Everybody’s different. But when it comes to similarities, from body type to how we were talked about coming out of college, I think Tom Brady. I think we play the game the same way.”
David Yankey, G, Stanford: “Justin Blaylock with the Atlanta Falcons was a guy that I met a couple of years ago and think he’s a really good guard in the NFL. And even though he’s a Stanford guy, David DeCastro is coming on really strong with the Steelers and he’s someone I played with, learn from and now to see him play in the pros is pretty cool.”
John Urschel, G, Penn State: “Let me tell you, [Logan Mankins is] someone that coach [Bill] O’Brien really had me study. Back at Penn State we had access to old New England film. That’s a guy I really watched a lot.”
Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas: “Alex Mack. I’ve always watched him whenever I get the chance. I love the way he plays and I think I’ve patterned [my game after] him. I don’t want to say I’m him exactly, but I try to be.”
Jacob Pederson, TE, Wisconsin: “When I first got to Wisconsin, both Garrett Graham and Lance Kendricks were there. When I was younger, I tried to learn as much as I could from those guys. They were having success, they still are, so they’re obviously doing something right. If I can have the same success, that’d be great.”
Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia: “I’ve always kind of looked up to [Dallas Cowboys tight end] Jason Witten. He’s a guy that was never seen as that 4.4 guy, that 4.5 guy [in the 40-yard dash] or the biggest, the strongest or the fastest. But he’s been so meticulous throughout his career. He’s been so adamant about doing the little things right, both on and off the field. His reputation precedes him as a Pro Bowler and also as an awesome guy off the field. For me, I’ve always tried to model myself after him. Obviously that’s a bold statement. The guy’s a [12-year] veteran who will be in the Hall of Fame one day. But if I can do half of what he did, I’ll have a pretty good career I think. He’s a guy that I’ll continue to look up to and kind of model my game after.”
Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan: “Steve Smith. He’s a smaller receiver. Strong guy, strong hands, nice routes, tough, don’t back down from anything. I try to (pattern) my game after his.”
Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley State: “I really watch Jordy Nelson’s game a lot. We’re kind of the same size, and I like to think that I can hopefully model my game after his.”
QB Aaron Murray, Georgia: “I’ve talked to Matthew Stafford a little bit. He’s given me some advice. I’ve talked to Ryan Tannehill a little bit, as well. From former Georgia quarterbacks like David Greene, D.J. Shockley, guys that have played in the league for a little bit who have been great mentors my entire career at Georgia and also giving me some tips heading into this process.”