Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Comparing Top Recruits to Current NFL Stars

Gerard MartinCorrespondent IJanuary 29, 2012

Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Comparing Top Recruits to Current NFL Stars

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    Recruiting is a difficult science. It's hard to look at grainy YouTube footage of 17-year-olds and project their success at the next level.

    Words like "wingspan," "burst" and "leverage" are thrown around, but it's tough to pull all of those adjectives together into an accurate picture of a football player.

    Comparing these players to existing NFL stars makes it much easier to put their potential in perspective.

    Keep in mind that these comparisons are less "this recruit is as good as ______" and more "this recruit plays a lot like _____."

Gunner Kiel, QB

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    NFL Comparison: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

    Much like Rodgers, Gunner Kiel draws raves for his arm strength and accuracy but is a deceptively talented runner.

    Both have good—not great—size for the position and the ability to make just about every throw in the playbook.

    Rodgers and Kiel both have consistent mechanics, which allows them to effectively alternate between fastballs and touch passes.

Tee Shepard, CB

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    NFL Comparison: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Philadelphia Eagles

    Tee Shepard isn't quite as tall as Rodgers-Cromartie, but both have great height for the position, with long arms and legs.

    Both have enough speed to play an aggressive style and will try to bait quarterbacks into difficult throws.

    They have outstanding instincts in coverage and can excel in both man-to-man and zone schemes.

Justin Ferguson, WR

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    NFL Comparison: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

    Though Nelson is a couple of inches taller, he and Justin Ferguson have similar body types.

    Both are tall, but thick rather than lanky.

    They use their strength to get a clean release at the line of scrimmage and separate from opposing corners.

    Both receivers have enough speed to get behind the defense, but balance that with an ability to wall off defenders on shorter routes.

Deontay Greenberry, WR

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    NFL Comparison: Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints

    Neither Deontay Greenberry nor Colston has great top-end speed, but both are adept at finding holes in coverage.

    Greenberry is a couple of inches shorter, but the two have similar body types.

    Both are savvy route runners who can set up defenders.

    In the red zone, both receivers display fantastic leaping ability and a wide catch radius.

Sheldon Day, DT

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    NFL Comparison: Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions

    Like Suh, Sheldon Day is more disruptor than space-eater at defensive tackle.

    Both players carry their weight well and despite their size are able to squeeze into gaps in the offensive line.

    Day and Suh are both able to work around blockers and collapse the pocket from the inside.