Comparing top 2020 athletes to recent college stars
Rivals.com's two-week series comparing the top five 2020 players at each position with current college players or those who were selected in the 2019 NFL Draft continues today with athletes.
1. Arik Gilbert
Comparison: Albert Okwuegbunam
Overview: The first tight end taken in next year’s draft could very well be Okwuegbunam, who is a huge target in Missouri’s passing attack at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds. He’s athletic and has great hands and that’s why so many NFL teams are going to be interested. The same could be said for Gilbert, a freakish athlete, who at 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds is one of the most sought-after prospects in this class. Georgia is considered to be the favorite, and the Bulldogs have not thrown to tight ends much recently but Gilbert is talented enough to be special in any offense.
Farrell’s take: Gilbert is more athletic at the same stage as Okwuegbunam and a better natural pass-catcher, but the size is what intrigues us and leads to the comparison. Gilbert is a five-star because he can play tight end or defensive end and is special at both, so he should have a bright future on whatever side of the ball he lands.
2. Cartavious Bigsby
Comparison: Benny Snell
Overview: Bigsby’s nickname is ‘Tank’ for a reason. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound athlete who should play running back in college is physical, muscled-up and doesn’t have incredible speed, but he’s a tough runner who’s difficult to drag down. That sounds a whole lot like Snell, who could be considered a steal in the fourth round of the NFL Draft after running for 3,873 yards with 48 touchdowns in three years at Kentucky. Bigsby will have to have a tremendous amount of success to reach those numbers, but he’s a handful to tackle.
Farrell’s take: Bigsby is a natural running back who can also catch the ball, but to me the comparison makes sense because both are such physical players. They are hard to bring down and love to fight for every yard, and Bigsby can have a college career similar to Snell's if he ends up at running back.
3. Avantae Williams
Comparison: Greedy Williams
Overview: Avantae Williams could end up playing safety, but either way he’s a tremendous defensive back who can make plays on the ball, has elite athleticism and the four-star is a kid who looks good wherever we see him. He’s also not the bigger prospect on the back end, and that reminds us of Greedy Williams, who has tremendous cover skills but there are questions about his physical nature and tackling ability. More than anything, though, both of the Williams have fantastic athletic ability, and that makes them huge assets anywhere in the secondary.
Farrell’s take: Avantae is a very good athlete with length and great instincts and he could turn out to be a great defensive back if that’s the side he chooses. He’s more filled out than Greedy at the same stage, but both are long and instinctual.
4. Teriyon Cooper
Comparison: Rondale Moore
Overview: It gets a little lazy and repetitive to compare every undersized receiver to Moore, who had a phenomenal freshman season at Purdue, but Cooper has a lot of the same attributes. He can take short passes and make defenders miss. He has excellent hands. But the four-star seems most comfortable using his burst and speed to beat defensive backs down the field and catching deep passes. Whatever the comparison, the former Texas commit who’s still looking at the Longhorns, Illinois and others is an exciting receiver to watch.
Farrell’s take: Cooper is the next in line of small wide receivers who can also work out of the backfield and keep defenses off balance. Inside handoffs, bubble screens or plain old pass routes, Cooper can get the job done and be exciting. He’s not as strong as Moore, but he’s as fast.
5. Kristian Story
Comparison: Derion Kendrick
Overview: Kendrick was ranked as a five-star receiver, but Clemson has a whole lot of those nowadays. To get on the field more and because of his athletic ability, he’s listed on the official roster at cornerback. Story plays a ton of quarterback in high school and he runs the ball a lot, showing off his great athletic ability. At the next level, though, the four-star will probably play defensive back and shine there. Both Kendrick and Story are elite athletes who can be utilized all over the field, and that’s why the comparison works so well.
Farrell’s take: This is an easy one, as a great high school quarterback transitions to defensive back. Kendrick did a pit stop at wide receiver and Story could do the same, but their path seems very similar.