10 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today’s game, plus their pro comps

The 2022 NFL draft class, while short on transcendent talent at the top, is strong throughout with prospects who have scheme-specific traits and position versatility. In other words, we will see plenty of talented players who are perfect for the modern NFL get drafted at the end of the month.

What does that mean exactly? We can point to the pass-rushers in this class who can generate pressure out of multiple fronts. There are wide receivers with three-level ability and explosive-play juice, along with running backs who can produce on all three downs. And then there are the defensive backs who display the multidimensional skill set to produce in a pro system. Versatility is also key — players who can play a lot of different roles are valuable in the modern game.

Today, let’s look at 10 draft prospects who fit well in today’s offensive and defensive schemes and explain why they are perfect for the modern game. And we will also name an NFL player they compare to best at the next level. We’ll start with a big, rangy impact defender with disruptive traits.

10 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today's game, plus their pro comps

Why he fits today’s NFL: The 6-foot-4 Hamilton is a modern-day disruptor with impact traits, split-field range and explosive playmaking ability.

Last season, he played 63% of his defensive snaps at safety, 26% as a slot/overhang defender and 9% at linebacker. He’s a multiple defender, in both base and sub, and a smart fit in today’s split-safety defenses. He can drive downhill on crossers or in-breaking routes and deliver a strike on contact. He will heat up the alley in the run game, too. Plus, with the range to find the ball all over the field, Hamilton can rotate down as a robber/curl defender.

There are no questions about his game speed based on what I see on tape, and he has the frame to match up against pass-catching tight ends. He is a rare prospect given his size and tools.

Pro comp: Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos

10 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today's game, plus their pro comps

Why he fits today’s NFL: Cook can attack the edge as a perimeter runner on outside zone and toss plays, but the pro fit I’m focused on here is his receiving ability. He can be a pass-game threat from day one.

Cook had 27 receptions and four receiving touchdowns last season. He’s sudden on backfield releases, where he can shake linebackers in coverage underneath. Quarterbacks can throw angle and choice routes to Cook, and he can get loose in space on screen concepts.

He has the 4.4 40-yard dash speed and versatility as a receiving target to flex from the formation, which is why my comp is Alvin Kamara. Cook can be deployed from the slot and in wide alignments to create matchup issues for opposing defenses. He doesn’t project as a volume ball carrier in the league, but I see a prospect who brings a dynamic element due to his receiving traits.

Pro comp: Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

10 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today's game, plus their pro comps

Why he fits today’s NFL: With tremendous vertical speed and inside/outside flex ability, Williams has game-changing traits. He can be used as a three-level target in today’s NFL passing offenses.

Williams caught 10 of his 15 touchdown passes on posts or vertical routes last season, with 49 receptions from wide alignments and 28 out of the slot. He’s a prime fit for the 3×1 sets we see on Sundays, with the ability to align as No. 2 or No. 3 in trips — where he can run away from man coverage on deep overs. He’s going to be a target on shot-play concepts since he can be schemed to attack third-level coverage voids.

Williams has the instant juice to separate on slants, shallows and unders to flip the field. He tore his ACL in the national title game in January, but when healthy, he’s an explosive-play threat with the route-running ability to change games.

Pro comp: Odell Beckham Jr., free agent

10 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today's game, plus their pro comps

Why he fits today’s NFL: Gardner has a long 6-foot-3 frame and an aggressive style that jumps on tape, and he has the sticky coverage traits to challenge receivers as a boundary corner — which is a critical position in today’s man and zone defensive schemes.

He had nine interceptions during his college career and didn’t surrender a single touchdown in coverage. In fact, when he was the primary defender in coverage last season, opposing quarterbacks averaged just 1.9 yards per attempt.



Check out the highlights from Cincinnati’s standout cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner.

The numbers match the tape, and in the NFL, Gardner can be used as the backside corner against 3×1 sets to “lock” the X receiver. Defenses that play Quarters and Cover 3 can have him take away the boundary threat. And we know Gardner also projects well in man-heavy schemes given his press-coverage ability, low 4.4 40-yard dash speed and ball skills to finish.

Pro comp: Antonio Cromartie, retired

10 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today's game, plus their pro comps

Why he fits today’s NFL: A safety prospect with 4.38 speed, plus the length and coverage skills of a corner, Hill brings the versatility to play as a hybrid nickel defender in today’s multiple NFL defenses.

In the Michigan defense — a system with pro coverages and pressure schemes — Hill played 111 snaps at safety, with 572 more reps coming in the slot. And that’s where I see him in the league, deployed out of the slot like C.J. Gardner-Johnson is in the Saints’ defense. That would allow pro coordinators to lean on Hill’s fluid movement ability to have him man up interior receivers, match and carry on seams, or drop as a zone defender. Sudden in space, Hill can play top down as a hook-to-curl defender, and there’s nuance to his blitz technique out of sub-package fronts.

He’s a modern-day safety/nickel with multidimensional traits.

Pro comp: C.J. Gardner-Johnson, New Orleans Saints

10 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today's game, plus their pro comps

Why he fits today’s NFL: A highly productive prospect with impact-play ability, Lloyd is a three-down defender who can be utilized as an inside/outside linebacker with edge-rushing ability in today’s schemed fronts. And he can also be schemed as a blitzer from the second level.

Lloyd logged eight sacks and four interceptions — including a pick-six in the Pac 12 title game — in 2021. And he’s all over the tape as a disruptive and physical defender with a pro demeanor. Picture the Utah product as a stacked linebacker who can cut off and pursue the ball, with the downhill power to rattle opposing ball carriers. Or scheme him as an edge defender who can drop in coverage and rush the passer. I see hand usage and closing speed when working against offensive tackles in protection.

At 6-foot-3 and 237 pounds, Lloyd can quickly develop into a defensive matchup player with a disruptive play style to attack the pocket and find the ball at the second level.

Pro comp: Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints

10 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today's game, plus their pro comps

Why he fits today’s NFL: With high-end physical traits at 6-foot-5 and 272 pounds, Walker is a fit for both 30 and 40 defensive fronts. He has the traits to be deployed from multiple alignments as a sub-package rusher. And while Walker, who posted a season-high seven pressures in the national championship game against Alabama, can play on the edge as a 5- or 7-technique, he can also kick down inside to line up at the defensive tackle position.

Walker is long with the light feet and short-area burst to be schemed as a rusher in today’s pro fronts on twists and slants, and I would utilize him as a stand-up 3-technique to create interior matchups against guards in the NFL. I see a pass-rusher here who can create havoc in the pros off the edge or when set up to win inside.

Pro comp: Za’Darius Smith, Minnesota Vikings

10 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today's game, plus their pro comps

Why he fits today’s NFL: A dynamic receiver with playmaking traits, Wilson has the combination of long speed, upper-tier ball skills and elusive catch-and-run ability to play an immediate role as an inside/outside target in today’s defined NFL pass games.

He dropped a 4.38 40 time at the combine, and he accounted for six touchdowns on vertical routes in his final season at Ohio State. So we know he can stretch defenses over the top. But let’s also look at his sudden stop/start speed and wiggle in the open field. That’s where NFL coordinators can scheme for Wilson on crossers and in-breakers off pro play-action. Get him loose at the second level, where Wilson can use his ball-carrier vision and lateral juice to tack on yardage in the open field.

Plus, with the ability to elevate and finish on throws outside of his frame, Wilson can be isolated in the strike zone/red zone area of the field in one-on-one matchups. He’s a fit for multiple teams in the top 15 of the draft, and you can argue that Wilson is the best receiver in the 2022 class.

Pro comp: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

10 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today's game, plus their pro comps

Why he fits today’s NFL: With his smooth pass-rush track and ability to bend and close on the quarterback, Bonitto fits today’s tilted/loaded NFL fronts as a third-down edge defender.

After watching the Los Angeles Rams create pass-rush production out of loaded fronts in the second half of their Super Bowl LVI victory, I see Bonitto as an upside prospect due to the rush traits he displays on the tape and his anticipated deployment as a sub-package defender. This is where pro coaches can scheme one-on-ones for him away from the loaded side of the front and utilize the Oklahoma product as an interior looper to blaze through open rush lanes with his 4.54 speed.

With initial quicks, fluid hips and established counters, Bonitto is a prospect we should be talking about more given the NFL fronts that can manipulate pass protection.

Pro comp: Harold Landry III, Tennessee Titans

10 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today's game, plus their pro comps

Why he fits today’s NFL: Hall has the physical makeup of a volume runner in both zone and gap schemes in the NFL, with the pass-catching traits to produce as a three-down back in the NFL.

At 5-foot-11 and 217 pounds, Hall has the frame to handle a heavy workload in the league. He drops the pads to pick up the dirty yards on downhill schemes. Extremely fluid in space, he can slip defenders too, and the 4.39 speed shows up when he hits open grass. Hall posted 23 explosive-play rushes for the Cyclones last season (rushes of 15 or more yards).

And with the receiving skills, I expect Hall’s route tree to expand in an NFL offense. He’s a hands catcher who should see 5-6 targets a game with some schemed concepts to get him matched up with linebackers on wheels and seams.

Pro comp: Matt Forte, retired

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