NFL Draft 2011: 10 Prospects Most Like Super Bowl Performers
Sunday night saw the Green Bay Packers win their first Super Bowl since 1997, and bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Titletown. But it also may be the last glimpse we see of Roger Goodell on a podium any time soon.
With the labor talks still up in the air, the status of the 2011-12 season is uncertain.
Still, after watching the exciting Super Bowl, it's easy to think of all the players in this draft class, and who'd they compare to from Sunday night.
We take a look at some of the top prospects and how they match up with some of the Super Bowl stars.
Nick Fairley and BJ Raji
Both are disruptive defensive tackles who can play the run as well as the pass.
Nick Fairley may be more athletic than BJ Raji, and much taller (6'5" vs. 6'2"), but he also gives up 45 pounds in weight.
Fairley will probably have to bulk up and add 10-15 pounds, though his body type his better suited for a 4-3 defense than the 3-4 favored by the Packers.
Patrick Peterson and Charles Woodson
Arguably the best corner in college football and arguably the best corner in the NFL.
Both are extremely dangerous with the ball in their hands, though Charles Woodson's success in recent years has been more thanks to his greater understanding of coverages than his incredible athleticism.
Prince Amukamara and Tramon Williams
Both are physical cornerbacks who don't shy away from contact.
While Prince Amukamara is much more hyped than Tramon Williams ever was, both are ball hawks with above-average coverage skills.
Nate Solder and Bryan Bulaga
Nate Solder and Bryan Bulaga are both big, talented offensive tackles.
Solder's height (6'8") makes it tough for many speed rusher to beat, but it also leaves him susceptible to being bull-rushed by more powerful defensive ends.
He'll have to work on his technique, but Solder has all the tools to be a very special offensive tackle in the NFL.
Mark Ingram and Rashard Mendenhall
Both are bruiser type running backs who don't shy away from contact.
Both also aren't great pass catchers, but have no trouble handling 20 carries a game.
Mark Ingram battled injuries the past year and saw his stats decline from his Heisman-campaign of two years ago, but Ingram's still probably the top running back in the 2011 draft.
Austin Pettis and Hines Ward
Austin Pettis and Hines Ward both are possession receivers who are great at using their bodies and catching with their hands.
Both are physical and tough receivers who have a history of being overlooked. Ward was the 31st pick in the third round of the 1998 draft and has put together a great career so far in Pittsburgh.
Expect Pettis to drop to the third or fourth round, and to surprise a lot of people as well.
Mike Pouncey and Maurkice Pouncey
Maybe this one is a bit of a cop-out, but what do you want me to say?
The brothers are very similar, though Mike may see time at guard as well as center.
Brandon Harris and Ike Taylor
Both players are talented, and at times look like legitimate No. 1 cornerbacks.
Then they misread a simple route, or commit a foolish pass interference penalty. Both talented, yet inconsistent.
Torrey Smith and Mike Wallace
Torrey Smith isn't a household name yet, but neither was Mike Wallace when he burst onto the scene a few years ago.
Both are burners who are extremely dangerous in the open field.
Both have similar builds (Smith is 6'1", 205 and Wallace is 6'0", 199-lbs.) and both can create serious matchup problems.
Akeem Ayers and Clay Matthews
Both have LA backgrounds (Akeem Ayers played at UCLA while Clay Matthews starred for USC) and both are athletic freaks who use their unique combo of great size and speed to disrupt plays.
It's quite a compliment to be compared to someone like Matthews, who wasn't as celebrated a player in college as Ayers is.
Their measurements are almost identical (Ayers is 6'4", 252-lbs. while Matthews is 6'3", 255-lbs.), and with Ayers being shifted around the Bruin defense, he'll have no problem adjusting to whatever position he plays in the NFL.