2011 NFL Draft: Comparing Super Bowl Players to 2011 NFL Draft Prospects
In my second annual Super Bowl Players to Draft Prospect comparison, we'll take a look at some of the top players on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers to see if some of the highly-regarded NFL Draft prospects can replicate their success, based on their skill set, size, or unique situation.
Ben Roethlisbeger: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
The similarities are there in respect to their strong arms, body type, ability to make plays outside the pocket, gutsy running style, and winning the big games.
Roethlisberger will have his hands full with an attacking front seven of the Green Bay Packers, and will need to be consistent against a pass rush, deep coverage great combination that the Packers utilize.
On the other hand, if the team that drafts Cam Newton gets something close to Big Ben, then they'll be more than satisfied with their selection.
Matt Flynn: Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama
After a few seasons as Aaron Rodgers's backup in Green Bay, Matt Flynn is regarded as one of the better backups in the NFL, despite his youth.
That is exactly what Greg McElroy has the potential to become. A winner on the field, McElroy is at his best when he is very comfortable with an offensive scheme and the players around him. He can't win the game by himself, but in a backup role in the NFL, he could be highly successful for a short stint in a relief role.
Rashard Mendenhall: Mikel LeShore, RB, Illinois
Hailing from the same school, the comparison goes much further than that. LeShore is a physical between the tackles runner who has the second gear to explode through the second level and break off a big run, thanks to his size and power.
Mendenhall has been very productive, and LeShore doesn't have the level of explosion or quickness in the hole as he does, but he could have a similar career based on the system where he ends up.
Greg Jennings: Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State
Brown himself compared his style of play to Greg Jennings at the Senior Bowl, and with his reliable hands, strong routes, and ability to make defenders miss with his moves rather than speed after the play make him an easily translatable receiver to the next level.
Brown could also have a similar rise on draft day, be taken in the second round, and in the right system, could develop into a great number two receiver in the NFL.
Mike Wallace: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
Mike Wallace has become one of the league's top deep threat receivers and can take it to the end zone whenever he's on the field. While Torrey Smith isn't completely developed as a receiver quite yet, he still has that raw potential and athleticism to develop quickly into a similar role.
Smith is a fringe second round pick, but if he's not asked to do much early on in the form of routes or asked to be a consistent starter, he could have similar early success and could develop into a number two option later in his career, similar to Wallace.
Bryan Bulaga: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Bulaga was one of college football's most respected offensive tackles in his senior season, but fell on draft day because of question marks on his ability to play left tackle. While he hasn't been asked to do it in his rookie season, he has been able to man the right tackle spot very well since stepping in as the starter.
Carimi, the Outland Trophy winner, is now being looked at as a right tackle or even a guard prospect by some, but could be a steal late in the first round if teams get too caught up in his left tackle potential, similar to Bulaga.
Heath Miller: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Rudolph isn't a guy who can beat you deep like some of the newer tight ends. He isn't a guy that can line up at the slot with any consistency. But, like Heath Miller, he can be a capable blocker and a great 5-10 yard checkdown option for a quarterback.
He's not as physically ready as Miller was coming out of college and isn't nearly the blocker, but has the skill set and size (if he can get healthy) to possibly develop into a similar player in the future.
BJ Raji: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
First off, I'm not sold on Phil Taylor's future as a first round-worthy nose tackle in the NFL like many are touting him. He just doesn't make enough plays, especially not as many as BJ Raji made while at Boston College that earned him a Top 10 selection.
However, because nose tackles with Taylor's size and frame are rare, he'll be picked high and asked to man the middle of the defense to set up his other pass rushers. Taylor has the body type to be as dominant as Raji, but really needs to put it together if he hopes to have similar production in the NFL.
Evander Hood: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
You can ask many respected sportswriters, Steelers fans, and NFL personnel, and they'll tell you how great Hood has been all season long. Guys like Hood and Haloti Ngata are the reason that 3-4 defensive ends, who rarely get the stats to prove their worth, are picked so high.
Cameron Jordan is a different style of 3-4 defensive end than Hood, but Jordan is the best one in this draft in my opinion, and I think he could go as high as sixth overall, which is probably close to where Hood would be taken if a redraft was done of his class.
Sam Shields: Richard Sherman, CB, Stanford
Shields was a unique case of too many coaching changes and position changes for him to get a fair shake in college in terms of his pro potential, but has shown how good he could have been if given the chance to stick at cornerback.
Sherman is a former receiver who is still learning the position, but has already shown that he can use his length in deflecting passes, and his hips are fluid enough to not be limited in deep coverage. He still needs work, but in a year or two could be a good fit for a system even like Green Bay.
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