We already know that Les Snead and Sean McVay don’t see value in attending the NFL Scouting Combine in person. This does not mean that they don’t value the NFL Scouting Combine at all.
Snead prefers GPS data from game film to determine a player’s speed over a 40-yard dash and that should not need explaining. We also know that the L.A. Rams are huge fans of what happens at the Senior Bowl and that they’re comfortable gathering data from various pro days, which was once again the case in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Prospects like Jake Funk, Jacob Harris, Ben Skowronek, Chris Garrett, Bobby Brown, and Earnest Brown IV were all absent from major combine drills, if not left off the invite list entirely.
So far in 2022, we only have the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine numbers to go off of. And once again, we know that the Rams won’t be drafting on day one—and maybe this time not even on day two. Los Angeles won’t select until their third round compensatory pick, barring a trade up, and then it will be a heavily active day three for the Rams.
The following names are not direct comps.
They are loose comparisons based on early athletic measurements from the NFL Scouting Combine and honestly I think it is more interesting for our case by looking at what it might say about the Rams 2021 Draft Class and not what it says about Snead’s intentions in 2022. Obviously in some cases, we should assume L.A. won’t target said player because of the comparison to a player they recently drafted.
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LB Baylon Spector, Clemson
Is like: Ernest Jones
Height: 6’ (6’1)
Weight: 233 lbs (230 lbs)
40-yard dash: 4.6 (4.65)
Vertical: 36” (38.5”)
Mostly I just can’t get over Spector’s name; I keep reading “Bail Inspector” when I read it, like a person who has to double-check if someone has paid bail or perhaps if a farmer has counted all of his bale.
Spector had 74 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and one interception as a fifth-year senior in 2021. From what I’ve seen, Spector is falling into the seventh round/UDFA conversation.
From Calhoun to the Combine! @BaylonSpector making noise at the NFL Combine with a 4.64 40 at 230 pounds!— Calhoun Football (@CHSJacketsFB) March 6, 2022
WR Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky
Is like: Tutu Atwell
Height: 5’8 (same)
Weight: 178 lbs (155 lbs)
40-yard dash: 4.44 (4.42)
Vertical: 34.5” (33”)
Broad: 118” (117”)
There is nobody entering the NFL this year who is as small as Tutu Atwell. Robinson comes close and still has more than 20 lbs on Atwell.
Robinson transferred from Nebraska to Kentucky in 2021 and exploded for 104 catches and 1,334 yards. He also had seven carries for 111 yards. Robinson could fall between picks 40-60, based on what I’ve seen.
Where will Wan’Dale Robinson land? pic.twitter.com/l2bxoHLWF2— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 28, 2022
For what it’s worth, the only receivers who measured at the combine with relative size comparison to Ben Skowronek were Treylon Burks and Drake London, both of whom should be first round picks. Skowronek didn’t run any drills at the 2021 combine other than doing 13 reps on the bench. Ole Miss’s Dontario Drummond would be the next closest comp.
There is no athlete in this draft quite like Jacob Harris.
DT Matthew Butler, Tennessee
Is like: Bobby Brown III
Height: 6’4 (same)
Weight: 297 lbs (321 lbs)
Arms: 33.5” (34.75”)
40-yard dash: 5.00 seconds (5.04)
Vertical: 32” (33”)
Broad: 112” (113”)
Butler and Brown are not that much alike and the biggest difference has to be age: Brown entered the NFL as one of the youngest players in the league, Butler is a fifth-year senior who has been lining up in Tennessee’s defense since 2017.
Butler has been productive in each of the last three years, totaling career-highs with 47 tackles, 8.5 TFL, and five sacks in 2021. His range seems to fall from as early as round four to as late as round seven.
Matthew Butler has looked really good today as well. Underrated prospect that can play 3 or 5 in whatever fronts you want to run.— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) March 5, 2022
DT DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
Is like: Earnest Brown IV
Height: 6’4 (same)
Weight: 283 lbs (270 lbs)
Arms: 33.25” (34.5”)
40-yard dash: 5.01 (same)
Vertical: 27.5” (31”)
Broad: 106” (115”)
Another great example of how these ARE NOT COMPS. They’re just interesting facts and a different way to look at prospects and current members of the Rams.
Leal is someone who in the past has been projected as high as a top-10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Over the course of the last 2-3 months, that’s been tempered considerably. Leal could go anywhere from the top-25 picks to somewhere in the second round. Meanwhile, we know that Earnest Brown IV failed to make the final roster and is currently hanging around the fringes and hoping to prove himself this year, as many of his teammates had to do in the past.
DeMarvin Leal is a DT prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored an unofficial 7.75 RAS at the Combine out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 299 out of 1325 DT from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/BNMKSzStVW #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/H2913RZ1Qf— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 6, 2022
LB Jesse Luketa
Is like: Chris Garrett
Height: 6’3 (same)
Weight: 253 lbs (241 lbs)
Arm length: 32.6” (33.1”)
40-yard dash: 4.89 seconds (4.88)
Vertical: 37.5” (30”)
Broad: 114” (108”)
Ferragamo had a great Luketa write-up on Saturday. There’s not much I can add to that, go read it. Luketa had 8.5 TFL in 2021, by far his most productive season in getting behind the line of scrimmage in any meaningful way.
Chris Garrett came from a small school, had ridiculous production, and underwhelming numbers at his pro day. That resulted in being a seventh round pick but making the final 53-man roster and keeping hope alive for 2022. Luketa may find himself in the “round four” range.
Lance Zierlein’s description reads more like a “Chris Garrett” than other linebackers of his same ilk who were invited to the combine.
Team-first leader who plays every snap like his hair is on fire. Luketa is self-made and known for putting in the work necessary to go from Ottawa tough guy to productive, two-year starter in the Big Ten. He won’t blink in the face of physical challenges, using his leverage and power to hold his ground or come out on top. He lacks instincts and pursuit speed and is best suited as a 4-3 Sam linebacker but his lone season as a 4-3 end could have 3-4 teams exploring his potential as a developmental outside linebacker. No matter the scheme, Luketa’s toughness and talent should make him a good backup or low-end starter with the ability to shine on special teams as early as his rookie season.
RB Tyler Goodson, Iowa
Is like: Jake Funk
Height: 5’9 (5’10)
Weight: 197 lbs (205 lbs)
Hands: 9” (same)
40-yard dash: 4.42 (4.49)
Vertical: 36.5” (38”)
Broad: 123” (122”)
No difference could be more obvious than the fact that Jake Funk barely got any carries in college because of injuries, while Goodson was a three-year starter in the Big Ten. He broke out for 1,151 yards on 256 carries in 2021, also catching 31 passes for 247 yards.
The physical profiles were about as close as I could get for anyone to Funk from this year’s group of backs at the combine. But more will come rolling in over the course of the next six weeks from various pro days.
Goodson could go anywhere from round three to round six, from how it looks today.
Which prospect here interests you the most? Which comps should I have made that I missed? (Waiting for cornerbacks to run the 40 as I write this, sorry Robert Rochell fans.) Does any of this make you reconsider Snead’s 2021 class? Throw a comment in below to let me know!