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NFL Draft: Prospect Comparisons

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Paul Perkins, Running Back, UCLA

Best Case: Devonta Freeman

Paul Perkins and Devonta Freeman are similarly built player with similar positive skill sets. They both have electrifying elusiveness that can leave the audience awestruck. Perkins utilizes it in a variety of ways. He can make a defender miss in the hole, but he is at his best when he is in the open field, which usually leaves defenders grasping for air. Furthermore, Perkins is a reliable receiver out of the backfield, much like Freeman, which can be a valuable addition to an offense.

Like with Freeman, many might look at Perkins’ size and skill set and believe that he is not an every-down running back; however, as we saw with Freeman, Perkins would be extremely productive in an offense that utilizes him as the bell cow.

Worst Case: Joseph Randle

At worst, Perkins could see a similar career arc as former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle. While he had some good moments in the NFL, Randle was never cut out to be a consistent starter in the NFL. Instead, his best fit was as a complementary back who would get five to 10 carries a game. A reason why Randle failed was that he lacked the power to be utilized in short-yardage situations and he was awful in blitz pickup situations.

Perkins suffers in similar areas as Randle. He doesn’t consistently move the pile and he struggles to pick up the blitz consistently. If the former UCLA running back doesn’t improve in those areas, he may just be a decent complementary piece.

Jalen Ramsey, Defensive Back, Florida State

Best Case: Bigger and more durable Tyrann Mathieu

Many analysts try to typecast Jalen Ramsey as a safety or cornerback; however, just like the “Honey Badger,” the former Florida State star is best utilized in a hybrid role. Like Tyrann Mathieu, Ramsey has the coverage ability to play at cornerback, the intelligence, instincts and athleticism to play as a safety and the toughness and tackling ability to play in the box.

As a best case, Ramsey could have a similar impact as Mathieu without the injury concerns. Ramsey is a more athletic and bigger version of Mathieu with similar playmaking skills. If Ramsey lives up to that kind of hype, he could be the best defender in the NFL.

Worst Case: Antrel Rolle

The fact that a player like Antrel Rolle is the worst-case scenario shows you how talented Jalen Ramsey is. The fact is that Rolle was typecast into a role that didn’t really fit his skill set. He still had some very good seasons, but he never lived up to his pre-draft billing.

If Ramsey is played strictly as a cornerback early in his career, he could see a similar career arc as the University of Miami star.

Cardale Jones

Best Case: Ben Roethlisberger

Big, strong and a cannon for an arm. Those are the words that come to mind when you think of Cardale Jones mentioned. When he is at his best, you see a lot of similar plays that we have become accustomed to seeing from Ben Roethlisberger. The ability to shake off defenders and make big time throws 20-plus yards down the field is an extremely rare trait that is shared by both quarterbacks.

Cardale Jones has all the rare traits that you want in a quarterback. If he realizes his potential you will get a player of Roethlisberger’s ilk with better ability as a runner.

Worst Case: JaMarcus Russell

Like Jones, JaMarcus Russell had the size, big arm, the underrated athleticism that made scouts and analysts swoon. Nonetheless, he faltered because he didn’t have the passion to work on and perfect his craft. He let himself go during the offseason and he never improved any aspect of his game.

If Jones doesn’t take being a quarterback seriously, he could see a similar fate. He isn’t an extremely accurate quarterback and he oozes the similar nonchalant attitude as Russell. Jones and Russell are both big time talents, but it is up to Jones as to whether he will fall down a similar hole as the former No. 1 overall pick.


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com