You don’t know you need a good NFL comparison until you see a good NFL comparison. It’s almost draft time and those players that are likely to hear their names called in either one of the seven rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft have been ranked, mocked and sorted through various mediums across the Internet. But now, Rotoworld’s Thor Nystrom did something no one asked for but everyone needed: he ranked every one of the possible draft choices from 1-500.
That’s right, 500 players ranked, sorted, organized and most importantly, compared to a former or current NFL star.
So where do your favorite California Golden Bears find themselves on the ranking, and who are they compared to? Let’s discuss:
Ashtyn Davis came in as the highest-ranked former Golden Bear, ranking 58th overall and as the fifth-best safety prospect in the class. Despite not being able to compete fully at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine and unable to fulfill his Pro Day, Davis was compared to Tyvon Branch, the speedy, hard-hitting safety from UConn who played 10 years with the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals. Branch played primarily strong safety and recorded five career interceptions, 34 pass breakups and scored three defensive touchdowns.
That’s a pretty favorable comparison for Davis who is likely as fast and could add value in the return game as well to start his career. Branch was selected in the fourth round of the 2008 draft with pick 100, so it’s likely that Davis will hear his name called sooner than Branch even did.
Evan Weaver found himself ranked as the 178th-best overall prospect, coming in as the 21st-ranked linebacker. He was compared to the infamous James Laurinaitis, formerly of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who spent eight years in the NFL including seven years with the St. Louis Rams before ending his career with a one-year stint with the New Orleans Saints.
Laurinaitis was the 35th overall selection in the 2009 draft after an illustrious college career and he finished his NFL career with 16.5 sacks, nearly 1,000 tackles and 10 interceptions as well as another 35 pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
Weaver had nearly as impressive a career as Laurinaitis did in the college ranks and it will be interesting to see where Weaver does see himself selected in this week’s draft. Weaver has drawn some favorable selections in mock drafts but also has found himself slide to Round 7 in some as well. It’s clear that he’s not well liked by some but loved by others but getting a comparison to one of college football’s best ever and a solid pro is a great thing.
Jaylinn Hawkins rounded out the Cal trio named on Nystrom’s rankings, coming in at the 22nd-ranked safety and the 298th-best prospect overall. Hawkins may not have a draftable grade but he certainly drew a comparison of a solid pro when he was comped to D.J. Swearinger. Though he hasn’t lasted more than two seasons with any team, Swearinger has been a constant force on a number of defenses since he was drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft. He has played for the Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Cardinals (again), Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints, recording 14 career interceptions, 411 tackles and 42 pass breakups to date.
Swearinger just re-signed a one-year deal to stay with the Saints for the 2020 season but like Weaver above, Hawkins comp to a seven-year pro is a favorable one.
So there we have it, your pro comps for your Golden Bears who are about to make the jump to the pros:
Ashtyn Davis = Tyvon Branch
Evan Weaver = James Laurinaitis
Jaylinn Hawkins = D.J. Swearinger
Do you agree?