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June 20, 2020

Eagles rookie NFL player comparisons: The full series

Eagles NFL
061320JalenReagor Ray Carlin/USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Reagor

Over the last couple of weeks, we compared each of the Eagles' rookie draft picks to current or former NFL players. In case you missed any of them, here's the full series in its entirety.

WR Jalen Reagor

I've seen Reagor comped to players like Steve Smith, Curtis Samuel, Nelson Agholor, and others, but the player whose game I think his most resembles is the Panthers' D.J. Moore

First, as their measurables show, they have a similar thick builds, and lack height, but both are fast, with explosive jumping ability, and they are both strong (for receivers):

Measurable Jalen Reagor D.J. Moore 
 Height5'11 6'0 
 Weight206 210 
 Arm length31 3/8" 31 5/8" 
 Hand size9 1/2" 9" 
 40 yard dash4.47 4.42 
 Vertical jump42" 39 1/2" 
 Broad jump138" 132" 
 Bench press17 15 


Of course, many observers were surprised when Reagor only ran a 4.47 40 at the Combine, and believe he is faster than that timed speed would indicate.

Reagor and Moore had similar, modest stats in their three years in college, at least as far as first-round receivers go:

 PlayerRec Yards YPC TD 
 Jalen Reagor, TCU148 2,248 15.2 22 
 D.J. Moore, Maryland146 2,027 13.9 17 


Those relatively underwhelming numbers for both players were often blamed on poor quarterback play. Read any scouting report on Reagor, and you'd think TCU's quarterback was blind with two severed arms. Similarly, according to SB Nation, " [Moore's] quarterbacks were 127th out of 128 FBS teams in passer rating his freshman season, then 85th and 109th."

061320DJMoore

Ultimately, both players got drafted in the first round because of their explosiveness. They can both get open deep, and they both have high-level run after catch ability. A look at Moore when he played at Maryland:

You can see similar play-making ability from Reagor at TCU:

In his first two seasons in the NFL, Moore has made an immediate impact:

 D.J. MooreRec Yards YPC TD 
 201855 788 14.3 
 201987 1,175 13.5 


The Eagles would obviously sign up for that kind of production from Reagor in half a heartbeat.

QB Jalen Hurts

This may lack some creativity, but the player who Hurts most reminds me of is Cowboys QB Dak Prescott. First, their measurables:

Measurable Jalen HurtsDak Prescott 
 Height6'1 6'2 
 Weight222 226 
 Hand size9 3/4" 10 7/8" 
 40 yard dash4.59 4.79 
 Vertical jump35" 32 1/2" 
 Broad jump125" 116" 


Hurts and Prescott have similar builds, and obviously, they can both do damage with their legs, with Hurts having an edge athletically. They also had their share of similarities coming out of college.

• Both players were thought of as having outstanding leadership skills, toughness, and poise. Poise counts!

• Durability. Both players never miss games.

061320DakPrescott

• Both are pass-first quarterbacks, who use their athleticism as a weapon when plays break down, and both are adept and making throws on the run after escaping the pocket.

• Both players' intermediate-to-deep passing accuracy improved significantly as their college careers progressed.

• Their career college rushing numbers were similar. Note that they both scored over 40 touchdowns on the ground:

 QBRush Yards YPC TD 
 Jalen Hurts, Bama/OU614 3274 5.3 43 
 Dak Prescott/MSU536 2521 4.7 41 


They also both have a similar running style, as their powerful legs allow them to run through tackles. That has made Prescott a rushing threat near the end zone in the NFL (21 career rushing TDs with Dallas), and Hurts should be a threat in close as well. 

• They both played on high-profile teams. Mississippi State was the No. 1 ranked team in the country for more than a month in 2014 with Prescott as its quarterback, and Hurts obviously played for two powerhouses in Alabama and Oklahoma. The jump from the college level to the pros was not a culture shock for Prescott, and it won't be for Hurts either.

A look at Prescott at Mississippi State:

And Hurts:

I hadn't actually thought of this until looking at each player side-by-side (and certainly this did not factor into the Eagles' drafting of him), but Hurts is so similar to Prescott, in my opinion, that early in his career he will give the Eagles' defense a great look on the scout team during Dallas week.

LB Davion Taylor

With Reagor and Hurts, we found comps that were probably closer to their respective ceilings. With Taylor, we'll comp him to a player that's closer to his floor, in Washington LB Kevin Pierre-Louis.

In 2014, the Seahawks drafted Pierre-Louis in the fourth round, and while he has survived, heading into his seventh year in the league, he will be on his fifth team in as many years. Both Pierre-Louis and Taylor did not have impressive production in college, but they both got drafted relatively early because of their athleticism. A comparison of their measurables:

Measurable Davion Taylor Kevin Pierre-Louis 
 Height6'0 6'0 
 Weight228 232 
 Arm length32 1/8" 32 1/4" 
 40 yard dash4.49 4.51 
 3-cone6.96 6.92 
 Vertical jump35" 39" 
 Broad jump127" 128" 
 Bench press21 28 


As you can see, both Taylor and Pierre-Louis are undersized linebackers with a lot of speed. Pierre-Louis has carved out a career as a plus special teamer, and that is how Taylor is likely to contribute as a rookie for the Eagles.

Pierre-Louis got his first taste of action as a starter last season with the Bears, and he played well, particularly in coverage. The Eagles are well aware that Taylor is a project, especially given he hasn't played much football, as religious beliefs kept him off the field until his mother finally allowed him to play in college.

You can see Pierre-Louis' explosiveness from the 2019 season here:

And Taylor's here:

The Eagles will of course hope that Taylor finds a prominent role in the regular defense sooner than Pierre-Louis was able to.

S K'Von Wallace

Wallace reminds me a lot of a player I have long admired in Glover Quin, who played corner and safety (mostly safety) for 10 years with the Texans and Lions, and who Jim Schwartz actually signed as a free agent in Detroit in 2013.

Quin was a fourth round pick of the Texans in 2009, and he started 12 games as a rookie. Over his 10 year career, he only missed one game, picking off 24 passes and forcing 10 fumbles. In his prime he was one of the best cover safeties in the NFL, who probably never got the recognition he deserved.

Quin was undersized at safety, at 5'11, and so is Wallace. A look at their measurables:

Measurable K'Von Wallace Glover Quin 
 Height5'11 5'11 
 Weight206 204 
 40 yard dash4.53 4.50 
 Vertical jump38" 38" 
 Broad jump133" 119" 
 Bench press18 22 


Wallace has some of the "positionless" qualities the Eagles are striving for in their secondary, in that he played safety and slot corner for Clemson. He had a productive 2019, making 72 tackles, with 2 sacks, 2 INT, and 10 pass breakups. 

Like Quin, Wallace is an aggressive, heady cover safety. He will complete for No. 3 safety / big nickel / dime LB snaps as a rookie, with long-term starting potential.

OL Jack Driscoll

Driscoll reminds me a little of Allen Barbre, an athletic, versatile offensive lineman who played in the NFL for 11 seasons, including four with the Eagles, from 2013 to 2016. In Philly, Barbre mostly played guard, but he would kick out to tackle on occasion in emergency situations.

In college, at UMass and Auburn, Driscoll played both at left guard and right tackle. In the pros, he is probably best suited for guard, but could maybe be cross-trained at tackle, and he may even get a look at center.

As you can see, both Barbre and Driscoll have plus athleticism for offensive linemen, but are somewhat undersized:

Measurable Jack Driscoll Allen Barbre 
 Height6'5 6'4 
 Weight306 300 
 Arm length33" 33 1/2" 
 40 yard dash5.02 4.84 
 Vertical jump29 1/2" 32" 
 Broad jump114" 105" 
 Bench press23 28 


Here are my friends Amy, Fran, and Ross discussing Driscoll:

WR John Hightower

We're going to get a little obscure with Hightower's comp, former Cardinals and Chiefs receiver Steve Breaston. Like Hightower, Breaston was a fifth-round pick in 2007. In addition playing receiver, Breaston returned kicks and punts, something that Hightower did in college at Boise and should get an opportunity to do with the Eagles.

Both players were lean receivers with decent speed and playmaking ability. A comparison of their measurables:

Measurable John Hightower Steve Breaston 
 Height6'1 6'1 
 Weight189 193 
 40 yard dash4.43 4.46 
 Vertical jump38 1/2" 33" 
 Broad jump122" 124" 
 20-yard shuttle4.21 4.29 


Breaston had a short career, but he did rack up 3,221 over a four-year span from 2008-2011. A look at Breaston: 

Hightower just looks and moves similarly to me:

LB Shaun Bradley

The player I came up with as a comp for Bradley is the Lions' Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Uh, who? Reeves-Maybin was a fourth-round pick for Detroit in 2017, who had a floor as an undersized-but-speedy special teams contributor.

His size measurables stack up similarly to Bradley's, though Bradley has a significant edge athletically.

Measurable Shaun Bradley Jalen Reeves-Maybin 
 Height6'1 6'0 
 Weight235 230 
 Arm length31 3/4" 32 1/4" 
 Hand size9 1/2" 9 5/8" 
 40 yard dash4.51 4.65* 
 20 yard shuttle4.24 4.38* 
 3-cone7.07 7.34* 


*To note, Reeves-Maybin did not compete at the NFL Combine because he was still recovering from season-ending shoulder surgery the year he came out. Those are pro day numbers. He probably would have tested better if he were fully healthy.

In 2019, Reeves-Maybin was second among NFL linebackers with 13 special teams tackles. Similarly, Bradley was a productive special teamer at Temple. They both were drafted as upside players who could fill a coverage WILL linebacker role, who could also use their speed to make plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Of course, both come with concerns about their ability to shed blocks from much bigger offensive linemen.

A look at Reeves-Maybin when he played at Tennessee:

You can see that Bradley plays with a similar energy and aggressiveness:

WR Quez Watkins

When we looked at John Hightower above, we found a semi-obscure comp in Steve Breaston. With Watkins, we came up with a similarly obscure receiver who played around the same time as Breaston in Bears speedster Johnny Knox. Remember him? First, a look at their mearsuables:

Measurable Quez Watkins Johnny Knox 
 Height6'0 6'1 
 Weight185 185 
 Arm length32 7/8" 31" 
 Hand size9" 9" 
 40 yard dash4.35 4.29 
 Vertical jump36 1/2" 35" 
 Broad jump 125"122" 
 3-cone7.28 6.81 
 20 yard shuttle4.36 4.24 


As you can see, both players ran blazing 40's. Watkins tested slightly better in the jumps, while Knox fared significantly better in the agility drills.

061320JohnnyKnox

Knox was a promising young receiver and kick returner for the Bears, but his career was cut short when his back was bent backwards during a collision while diving for a fumble. He required immediate surgery to repair his spinal cord, and never played again. In the three seasons he did play, his numbers were very good:

 Johnny KnoxRec Yards YPC TD 
 200945 527 11.7 
 201051 960 18.8 
 201137 727 19.6 


Knox serves as an example of a Day 3 (fifth round) speed guy from a smaller school (Abilene Christian) who contributed immediately. Watkins, a Day 3 guy coming from Southern Mississippi, won't be expected to make an impact in the regular offense as a rookie, but it can happen.

Here's a highlight reel of Knox. Please excuse the poor quality (were we really that far behind technologically 10 years ago?) and weird music choice:

Obviously, you would expect to see Knox getting behind the defense for long touchdowns, but what really stood out was his ability to go up and high-point balls for a smaller receiver. You see some of the same from Watkins' highlights. In addition to being a speed guy, he also has some contested catch ability:

OT Prince Tega Wanogho

The comp we came up with for Wanogho is D.J. Humphries, the Cardinals' current starting left tackle. Wanogho did not compete at the Combine because he had his right knee scoped, and Auburn didn't have a pro day, because of, you know, COVID, so we can't show athletic comparisons, but here's how the two players compare, size-wise:

 MeasurablePrince Tega Wanogho D.J. Humphries 
 Height6'5 6'5 
 Weight308 307 
 Arm length33 1/2" 33 5/8" 
 Hand size10 3/8" 10" 


Humphries came into the NFL with good (not great) athleticism:

Wanogho's size has been exaggerated for a half decade. Auburn listed him at 6'8 his first three seasons there, and then at 6'7 for his final two. Perhaps because he is an actual prince who came to America from Nigeria during his high school years, tales of his size and athletic measurables maybe became romanticized a bit? 

For example, in an article posted on AL.com in January of 2015, when Wanogho was a highly sought after recruit, high school coach Bobby Carr spoke of him like he was Bill Brasky.

1) Carr said he ran a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash in high top tennis shoes because he didn't have a size-17 football cleat for him. That was on the first day he arrived in American from Nigeria.

Yep, he ran the 40 on his first day in America.

2) He looked fast, but Carr said he wanted a good time on him. So he placed speedy running back Herman McKenzie five yards ahead of him. Wanogho Jr. was stationed at the goal line. McKenzie had been clocked in 4.4 seconds in the 40.

When he blew the whistle, the boys were told to run. He wanted his new project to chase McKenzie. Carr said Wanogho caught McKenzie and grabbed him at the 35.

"That's why I didn't need to worry about a time on him and how fast he was anymore," Carr said. "The kid is an absolute specimen."

3) He is a legitimate 6 feet, 7 and one-half inches and 247 pounds. According to Carr, that's what he will measure with his shoes off.

Of course, as we noted above, Wanogho measured in at 6'5 at the Combine, so unless he shrunk two inches since high school, you can go ahead and take all of the above with a huge grain of salt, though I do think we can go ahead and trust that he is athletic, and his tape certainly shows that. 

The reality is that Wanogho will have some size disadvantages working against him in the pros, notably his 33 1/2" arms, which aren't exactly T-Rex arms, but they're also not ideal. Humphries has had those same challenges.

Other similarities between Wanogho and Humphries:

• Wanogho and Humphries were both medical risks coming out of college. Wanogho was flagged for a knee injury at the Senior Bowl, while Humphries missed seven games his final two seasons at Florida with knee and ankle injuries.

• Both lacked experience heading into the draft. Wanogho is relatively new to the sport, as he had limited exposure to football in high school (where he played DE), though he did start 32 games at OT at Auburn. Humphries only started 19 games at Florida. Though limited in experience, both players played against high-level competition in the SEC.

061320DJHumphries

• Both players were heavily recruited out of high school, and had to put on weight during their college careers.

• Both have ideal athleticism, and were considered upside players when they entered the NFL.

• Both players are considered to be better pass protectors than run blockers.

Humphries was the better prospect, and he went 24th overall in 2015, which some considered a reach. He has become a decent starting left tackle in the pros. Of course, Wanogho went 210th overall, largely because of the aforementioned medical concerns. To be determined if he can become a steal.

DE Casey Toohill

The comp we came up with for Toohill is former Eagles training camp great Eli Harold.

Probably bored on a Friday evening during the third week of training camp last year, Howie Roseman and Bills general manager Brandon Beane made a back-of-the-roster trade in which the Bills got UDFA OT Ryan Bates, while the Eagles got Harold.

Harold was selected in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the 49ers. He played there for three years, before the Niners traded him to the Lions in 2018. During the 2019 offseason, Harold signed with the Bills, who then traded him to Philly. Harold had almost no chance of making the team, and after the Eagles cut him, he hasn't been on a roster since.

Roseman has taken some low-cost fliers on hyper-athletic edge rushers since he re-assumed GM duties, like Alex McCalister (seventh round pick in 2016), Josh Sweat (fourth round pick in 2018), Genard Avery (traded a 2021 fourth round pick for him), and now Toohill, the Eagles' seventh round pick in 2020. Harold was a "no-cost" flier of sorts during camp last year.

Here's how Toohill's and Harold's measurables compare:

Measurable Casey Toohill Eli Harold 
 Height6'4 6'3 
 Weight250 247 
 Arm length33 1/2" 33" 
 Hand size9 1/2" 9 3/8" 
 40 yard dash4.62 4.60 
 Vertical jump39"  35"
 Broad jump126"  123"
 20 yard shuttle4.21 4.16 
 3-cone7.08 7.07 


Their final seasons in college were also quite similar:

 PlayerTackles TFL Sacks FF 
 Casey Toohill57 11.5 
 Eli Harold54 14.5 


In college, Harold and Toohill both won with speed. In the NFL, however, everyone is fast, so you better have functional strength and good technique, or all that impressive athleticism will go to waste.

Because he was a third round pick, Harold got early playing time, and his production, relative to his snap counts, just wasn't good enough.

Eli Harold  Games (Starts)Tackles (TFL) Sacks FF-FR 
2015  16 (1)13 (4) 0-1 
2016 16 (13)37 (3) 1-1 
2017 16 (11)34 (5) 0-0 
2018 13 (0) 10 (4) 0-0 


As a seventh round pick, Toohill will have the chance to develop behind the scenes, and play if/when he's ready. I do applaud the low-cost athletic edge rusher strategy, by the way. It'll work with someone eventually.


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