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2023 NFL Draft: 8 player comps we love, including Michael Mayer to Jason Witten

Paradise, Nevada, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Michael Mayer (87) reacts after catching a pass for a touchdown in the second quarter against the BYU Cougars at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

• TE Michael Mayer → TE Jason Witten: Mayer creates separation just like Witten did during his NFL tenure, and both are forces in the run game.

• WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba → WR Julian Edelman: The pair has almost identical measurables, and both display craftiness combined with elite quicks and adequate size to fight through contact.

• EDGE Myles Murphy → EDGE Rashan Gary: They each have pass-rushing move sets consisting of a long-arm bull rush and then a lot of question marks.

Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins

Let’s be real: Player comparisons get thrown around far too casually in the pre-draft process. Every third-rounder gets matched with a future Hall of Famer at their respective position. The fact of the matter is it’s a lot easier to look as such surrounded by 19-year-olds than the athletic specimens in the NFL.

Player comps can still help define skill sets when utilized properly, and that’s how they are used in NFL war rooms. Here are my eight favorite comps in the 2023 NFL Draft class.

Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba → WR Julian Edelman

I posed this comp after watching JSN’s tape before any pre-draft testing. Craftiness combined with elite quicks and adequate size to fight through contact is the calling card of both. Then JSN tested, and it’s truly one of the closest measurable comps I’ve ever seen.

Measurable Julian Edelman Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Height 5-foot-10 3/8 6-foot 5/8
Weight 195 196
40 4.52 4.52
Bench 14
Shuttle 3.92 3.93
Three-Cone 6.62 6.57
Vert 36.5″ 35″
Broad 10 feet, 3 inches 10 feet, 5 inches

He’s going to be so darn good in the league, even if his ceiling is a “slot” receiver.


Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer → TE Jason Witten

A brute in the run game who can make a living giving linebackers a slight shove to create a yard of separation on a quick out is what you’re getting in Mayer, and it's what Witten made a living on. They both even have a shuffly running style where they don’t quite pick their legs up.


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