St. Louis Rams’ Rookies: Drawing Comparisons

USA TODAY Sports

Expectations are high for several of the St. Louis Rams’ rookies. Have a look at the comparisons the team’s rookies have drawn this year, and over the course of the past five.

Making comparisons is every fans way of placing value on the level of expected production from an NFL rookie. It’s relatively easy to do, and it’s certainly entertaining. Getting it right is the hard part. Have a look at some of the comparisons over the past five years…

2008 Rookie: [DE] Chris Long
Comparison: Aaron Kampman
From: NFL.com Combine Profile

Like Kampman, Long is not the fastest, nor is he the strongest defensive end you will find. He lacks the blazing speed you look for in an edge rusher and will struggle to shed blocks at times, but like the Packers standout, he has great field savvy, vision and determination. He knows when he needs to avoid blockers rather than try to overpower them, as he really doesn't have that blow-up strength (good, not great) to dominate, anyway. What he does is take good angles in pursuit and display excellent lateral range working down the line. In a scheme that will let him press the outside shoulder of an offensive tackle, he will have good success. With his pad level and in-line instincts, he could also earn quality minutes as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 alignment, but is more ideally suited to play defensive end in a 3-4 formation


2008 Rookie: [WR] Donnie Avery
Comparison: Devery Henderson
From: Scout Inc.’s Draft Profile

...is quite possibly the fastest player in the 2008 class. While there's no doubt of his homerun-hitting potential for the next level, Avery remains too one-dimensional, with really just the ability to run go routes to threaten a defense. He is somewhat reminiscent of New Orleans and former LSU burner Devery Henderson, who has not transitioned to the NFL very well.


2009 Rookie: [LT] Jason Smith
Comparison: Walter Jones
From: Anonymous [upon request, no doubt] NFC GM

He is really one of those 10-year left tackle type guys. He is really in my eyes a No. 1 guy. You'd love to have a guy like that. He's a Walter Jones left tackle who could play forever. He's got it all with the size and athletic ability. He's clean.


2009 Rookie: [MLB] James Laurinaitis
Comparison: Brian Urlacher
From: FOX Sports
A three-time AP All-American, Laurinaitis is the most recognized player in the 2009 draft. Blessed with a rare combination of size and athleticism -- drawing comparison to Bears Pro Bowl MLB Brian Urlacher -- Laurinaitis burst onto the scene as a sophomore, earning the 2006 Bronko Nagurski Award (top defensive player). He won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker and again in the Lott Trophy in '08 as the nation's best all-around defensive player

2010 Rookie: [QB] Sam Bradford
Comparison: Eli Manning
From: Walter Football
Like Eli, Bradford lacks the elite arm, but he is a superb decision-maker with great accuracy and decision-making. Both have limited upside
Not Comparable To: Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, & Joe Flacco
From: ESPN Analyst, Trent Dilfer
I think he has major, major challenges ahead of him. Sam Bradford is not Mark Sanchez. He is not Matthew Stafford. He is not Matt Ryan. I would say he’s not even Joe Flacco.

2010 Rookie: [WR] Mardy Gilyard
Comparison: Joshua Cribbs
From: Turf Show Times’ Author, Tevin Broner
I wouldn't compare him to DeSean Jackson or Percy Harvin I would compare him to a receiving Joshua Cribbs.

2011 Rookie: [DE] Robert Quinn
Comparison: DeMarcus Ware
From: NFL Draft Expert, Mike Mayock

Mayock sees Quinn as "not so much different" from DeMarcus Ware entering the NFL.

2012 Rookie: [WR] Brian Quick
Comparison: Terrell Owens
From: Rams’ WRs Coach, Ray Sherman. [via Mike Silver, Yahoo! Sports]
I see a lot of similarities to Terrell Owens. The way the kid goes and gets the ball, the physicality, the desire ... he has a chance to be special, no doubt.

2012 Rookie: [RB] Isaiah Pead
Comparison: Chris Johnson
From: NFL.com Analyst, Daniel Jeremiah
I really liked him when I evaluated him. And from talking to the guys in St. Louis, I know they're very high on him. Jeff Fisher sees some traits in (Pead) that remind him of Chris Johnson.

2013 Rookie: [WR] Tavon Austin


Tavon compares himself to Reggie Bush, stating he's:
...another type of player like Reggie (Bush). Me and him would probably be twins back there
NFL Network Analyst/Legendary Ram, Marshall Faulk:
Listen to me, I am pounding the desk. This guy here is a playmaker. He's Percy Harvin and Wes Welker wrapped into one.
RotoWorld’s Evan Silva:
He's like a lankier, more naturally elusive Darren Sproles.

2013 Rookie: [RB] Zac Stacy
Comparison: Doug Martin

From: Optimum Scouting

Both players are strong, compact runners. Stacy lacks elite top end speed and chose more often to run through defenders instead of out running them.

Martin didn’t have great speed either, and in fact both of the players ran 4.55 forties. Physically the two players are nearly identical and in a relatively weak running back class it’s surprising that Stacy has been so undervalued up to this point. There’s a great chance that Stacy could eventually be one of the best values in this class.

…and there you have it. What do you think about past comparisons and did you make any of your own? Austin and Stacy can’t be the only Rams’ rookies drawing comparisons prior to the start of the season. What likenesses do you see amongst the 2013 draft crop and those who have already taken meaningful snaps in the league?

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