NFL Draft comps are a great way to get a picture of what a player could be at the next level when done cautiously and infrequently. To correctly comp a player, the comp better come at you like a punch to the face, or it isn’t very worthy. Comps are less about the skill level of a player and more about the type of game they play, although at times, those two things can intersect. Who are the five most apparent comps for the 2022 NFL Draft?
2022 NFL Draft player comparisons
Wide receivers will always come easier than most other positions. Pass rushers are usually right behind. In particular, those two positions have enough similarities in general skill set, but with the ability to go about the job uniquely.
A shoutout is necessary for Richie Woodward (@Rwoodard30) on Twitter, who compared Drake London to Vincent Jackson. It felt perfect from a stylistic standpoint, but Jackson was an inch taller, 20 pounds heavier, and one of the freakiest athletes we’ve seen at the position. London wouldn’t have touched those testing numbers.
Devin Lloyd and Fred Warner is another honorable mention, but it was left off the list for balance, so it wasn’t so defensive-dominated.
Skyy Moore = Golden Tate
He isn’t the first to talk about Skyy Moore and Golden Tate, but we’ll give the assist here to Zach Young (@zyoung9) on Twitter for that reply asking for NFL Draft comps.
Funny enough that Golden Tate is the first name listed as a Relative Athletic Score comparison for Moore. Everything they do athletically is similar. They’re less than an inch apart and separated by five pounds. Their 40-yard dash times have a difference of 0.01 of a second. Their jumps were almost identical, and they both scored poorly in agility drills.
And all of that magically translated to the field, too. Now, their poor testing agility doesn’t. Moore moves just as well laterally as Tate did throughout his career. Undersized with somewhat stocky frames, they’re both physical and elusive after the catch.
George Karlaftis = Ryan Kerrigan
Andrew Reynolds (@AMFReynolds1) gets the assist here. Like Moore and Tate, this is a comp that’s been around for a while, but Reynolds commented it so I wouldn’t forget.
George Karlaftis is the “dog” of the 2022 NFL Draft class regarding pass rushers. Athletically, he and Kerrigan share most of their profiles. Kerrigan was an eighth of an inch taller and one pound heavier. However, his 4.78 40-yard dash was a tenth slower than Karlaftis’. Karlaftis was 0.03 better in the short shuttle and slightly more explosive in the jumps.
Kerrigan, like Karlaftis now, didn’t win with bend or explosion. He has good hands and never quits on a rep. In true passing downs, he had enough explosion to threaten the arc as a rusher who usually didn’t make that his first priority.
Karlaftis is similar to A.J. Epenesa but in a supercharged form. He’s also meticulous about his body, and it showed in his 55+ snaps per game last season. That makes this NFL Draft comp even better, given Kerrigan’s dependability for so long.
Derek Stingley Jr. = Stephon Gilmore
The peak of what Stephon Gilmore was as a press-man cornerback is almost exactly what Derek Stingley Jr. could be. Stingley could actually have an even higher ceiling than Gilmore’s 2019 campaign, where he was the best in the world and intercepted 6 passes. This NFL Draft comp felt too easy.
Stingley possesses ball skills without being overly aggressive on double-breaking routes. He just naturally elevates and floats. It’s almost a shock that his arms came in under 31 inches because of how he contests passes.
They have a similar frame and overall athleticism. Gilmore may be a tad faster while Stingley is a bit more physical, but they both can crowd receivers playing both in and out of phase.
Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner = Antonio Cromartie
We couldn’t let Stingley have his day and not bring up this obvious NFL Draft comp. It feels like a million different people have already brought this one up, so there’s no real need to bore with the details of their similarities. They’re stylistically alike in almost every way imaginable.
There are, however, a few differences also. Antonio Cromartie was nearly 20 pounds heavier than Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Sauce is far more advanced mentally than it’s been said Cromartie was coming out of Florida State. And as he grew in the league, you saw what Sauce can already bring from his college tape. Both are too fluid for their size/limb length, and both participate against the run.
Chris Olave = Calvin Ridley
Some wondered what kind of success Calvin Ridley could have in the NFL after testing in an underwhelming fashion at the NFL Combine. He didn’t jump well, and his agility testing was poor.
But the thing is, we saw on tape that Ridley could route defenders up with the best of them. As a route runner, he was a true technician. Ridley also had a game that was played on the ground and based on separation and not elevating to make contested catches. It turns out, you can be a productive NFL player with that profile. And Chris Olave is the next player like that.
Olave wins with fantastic flexibility in and out of breaks and an innate understanding of how to attack a cornerback’s leverage. He’s the definition of a smooth operator. As long as an offensive coordinator keeps his chest clean, he’ll be a productive pro. Olave’s also excellent in the red zone despite lacking functional strength. That’s because he’s so precise when working in confined spaces.