One of my favorite yearly NFL Draft traditions is heading over to Mockdraftable.com to see how some of my favorite draft prospects measured and performed at
the combine and their pro days.
After all, not only do they combine each player’s measurements and testing into an aesthetically pleasing spider chart, but they also compare each prospect’s numbers against players of yesteryear.
(You might know where I’m going with this)
Now before we go any further, let me make one thing very clear.
Just because a prospect tested like a former Dolphins player that was a complete bust DOES NOT mean I or anyone else is saying that is their trajectory. Or even a legit comparison, for that matter. It is nothing more than information that I discovered, and I could not overlook.
Here are some of the top 2021 NFL draft prospects that athletically compare to Miami Dolphins players of the past and maybe even the present.
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama <—> Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State (2018)
Najee Harris did not participate in all the drills at Alabama’s pro day. So this is more or less about how the two players compare from a physical standpoint. We know Najee Harris was built in a lab. The same could be said about Kalen Ballage too. However, anyone who ever watched the two players carry the football or try to hurdle over a defender could tell you the difference between the two could not be more significant.
Harris is going to be a big-time playmaker at the next level.
Kyle Pitts. TE, Florida <—> Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri (2012)
My co-host Jake Mendel mentioned this on the podcast a few weeks back, and I suggested it was nothing more than PTSD from being a Dolphins’ fan. Now, I come to find out the two players are essentially the Spiderman meme? This is sad.
Egnew belongs in this discussion the same way Pat White belongs in the debate for greatest Dolphins quarterback of all-time. He doesn’t. Nevertheless, numbers and stuff say they really aren’t that much different (athletically), which will always weigh in the back of the mind of many.
If the Dolphins take Pitts at #6, I can promise you they are not getting Micahel Egnew.
kyle pitts vs. alabama | #finsup— josh houtz (@houtz) March 30, 2021
7 catches, 129 yards (18.4 YPR), 1 TD. pic.twitter.com/CKGOc2Z0tT
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU <—> Edmund ‘Clyde” Gates, WR, Abilene Christian(2011)
Many factors go into why a prospect ultimately succeeds at the next level. Michael Egnew was never going to make it in the NFL. And some might say the only reason Clyde Gates played as long as he did is because speed kills.
Other than the size being eerily similar, I think the only similarities between Ja’Marr Chase and Clyde Gates is that they both play the wide receiver position. Because as far as I’m concerned, Chase is the perfect mix of LSU wide receivers that came before.
ja'marr chase vs. clemson | #finsup— josh houtz (@houtz) March 30, 2021
9 catches, 221 yards (24.6 YPR), 2 TDs. pic.twitter.com/h1b6Fz9tHt
Did anyone notice another former Dolphins’ player as a comparison for Ja’Marr Chase? Perhaps, the one, the only, Chris Chambers? Chambers caught 405 passes with Miami throughout his seven seasons, recording 7,648 yards and 43 touchdowns. He made some of the most acrobatic catches in recent memory. But even with how good Chambers was in Miami, San Diego, and Kansas City, Ja’Marr Chase is a different breed.
So what does all of this mean? Probably not a whole lot. I’m just glad DeVonta Smith didn’t test. Otherwise, I would have to listen to people compare him to Theodore Ginn for another two weeks.