Pro player comparisons for Chargers’ top draft picks

Comparing draft prospects to NFL players, both former and current, is an annual tradition.

It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have the same kind of success at this level. Yet, the comparisons are made based on how similar the prospects’ game play, physical measurements, production, roles and traits are.

Ahead of the 2024 NFL draft, Doug Farrar of Touchdown Wire revealed his top players at each position and gave NFL comparisons for each player.

Farrar compared Joe Alt to Lions’ Taylor Decker.

There aren’t a lot of wildly successful NFL offensive tackles over 6-foot-8, and Alt stands in at 6′ 8⅝” and 328 pounds. He’ll have to make sure he keeps his leverage together — if so, he can be a dominant pass- and run-blocker. Decker, selected by the Detroit Lions with the 16th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Ohio State, has some of the same issues at 6-foot-7, but can be a plus factor on the left side.

Like Decker, Alt is rare in size for the position, which can lead to leverage issues and overextending against bull rushers at times. This may occur at the next level. But while he works through it, Alt will mitigate it with sound technique with quick hands, feet, and body control.

The next player Farrar mentioned was Ladd McConkey, who drew the comparison to Lions’ Amon-Ra St. Brown.

McConkey might be the best route-runner in this class, and since he’s white, he’s been compared to everyone from Cooper Kupp to Julian Edelman. Those comps are easy to make, but when I studied McConkey’s tape, I was reminded of Amon-Ra St. Brown, who has become the Detroit Lions’ volume target since they selected him in the fourth round of the 2021 draft out of USC. Like St. Brown, McConkey has the potential to be an NFL team’s No. 1 receiver despite the fact that he doesn’t resemble one from a size/speed perspective. What both players have is a seamless ability to get open all over the field, and the tenaciousness to win contested balls that other, bigger receivers might struggle to catch.

I agree with Farrar with this comparison. While McConkey is faster, both players are refined route runners to make life difficult for defensive backs and consistently get open coupled with having the physicality and ball skills to catch anything thrown their way.

A player not mentioned in Farrar’s list, but who I have a good comparison is Junior Colson to Chiefs’ Willie Gay.

Both Colson and Gay are great-sized linebackers with easy movers in the open field to make a lot of plays against the run. They also have the range to drop into coverage and the strength and agility to thrive as blitzers.

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire