<
>
Insider

Kiper and McShay's favorite prospect comparisons

play
The science behind NFL-bound WRs (3:05)

Mike Williams is coming off a championship season at Clemson and John Ross dropped jaws with his record-setting 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. What sets them apart to teams? ESPN Sport Science explains. (3:05)

Now that we both know the 2017 NFL draft class backward and forward, it's time to figure out who a few of these prospects compare to. Important caveats:

  • No two players are exactly alike. Often what we're talking about here are certain traits that are similar between two players.

  • These are prospect-to-prospect comparisons. For example: When we compare John Ross to DeSean Jackson, that means we think Ross is similar to Jackson when he was coming out of Cal.

The prospects we'll be reviewing, in addition to Ross: Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, Clemson receiver Mike Williams, Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, Washington safety Budda Baker, Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis, UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley and Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram.

Got it? Let's dig in, alternating comps and critiques as we go.


Kiper: John Ross to DeSean Jackson

Ross sort of looks like DeSean Jackson. They have slight frames that don't fit with how traditional No. 1 receivers look. But, man, are they blazing fast (4.22 vs. 4.35 in the 40). They're electrifying big-play threats who could blow by defensive backs and take it to the house at any moment. Ross had a ridiculous 17 touchdown receptions last season. And they're stellar returners. Ross had four career kickoff return TDs at Washington, and Jackson had six career punt return TDs at Cal. I thought Jackson would be a late first-round pick, but he ended up dropping to the middle of the second round (No. 49). Ross could go anywhere from 20-40.

What say you, Todd? No surprise from Mel, going chalk out of the gate. This comp has been out there a bunch -- and for good reason. Two important differences: I think Ross is a crisper route runner at this stage than Jackson was coming out of Cal, while D-Jax was much more durable as a collegiate. Ross missed the entire 2015 season due to injury.