Former Stanford players are prepping for the draft and hoping to separate themselves as stars in the near future. Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey have a bright future ahead, but do their playing styles relate to any current NFL players, or are the Stanford prospects unique enough to stand out on their own? Let’s find player comparisons for the former Cardinal stars.
Solomon Thomas will likely be a top five pick with the possibility of going second as he disrupts offensive lines, causes chaos in the backfield, and annoys quarterbacks. Specifically, Thomas is known for his quickness and pass rushing ability. I’m a Los Angeles native, so Aaron Donald comes to mind, and like Thomas, Donald is considered undersized. However, Donald prefers tackle unlike Thomas, but at times, Thomas will match up on the inside. Solomon Thomas is a versatile player and reminds scouts of Michael Bennett, who lines up at both line positions. Solomon Thomas compares with the NFL’s best and undoubtedly has tremendous potential.
At the NFL combine, McCaffrey turned heads by putting up numbers similar to Adrian Peterson. However, McCaffrey does not play like the established NFL star; he’s much more unique since he can line up as a receiver. Although McCaffrey is extremely versatile, he does compare to current NFL players. Most likely, McCaffrey will end up with a role similar to Danny Woodhead or James White. Both players are not every down backs but come on the field as playmakers as either a running back or a slot receiver. McCaffrey, though, does have the potential to be star, and he has skyrocketed up NFL mock drafts recently. With the mentality of star, McCaffrey should strive to find a role similar to Le’veon Bell. Bell is a star running back who plays every down as a running back or slot receiver, and he tears up stat sheets while doing so. Christian McCaffrey is versatile and has the potential to become the next Le’veon Bell.
Michael Rector may be fast, but he’s not exactly a top draft prospect and most likely will be taken in the 6th or 7th round. Rector will need to prove himself from day one if he hopes to make a NFL roster. Similarly, Doug Baldwin was in this situation years ago, and the Seahawks took a chance on him. Like Baldwin, Rector is fast and smart, and he’ll need to show off those traits if he wants to have a long career in the NFL.
Dallas Lloyd made a big splash the last time we saw him play. With two interceptions against North Carolina, Lloyd made his final game as a Cardinal memorable for us and for NFL scouts. Still however, Lloyd might not be picked on draft night. If drafted, teams will note his leaderships skills and tackling ability. Lloyd doesn’t have the athleticism of an NFL player and will need prove many wrong in order to last.
Owusu’s brother Chris was a star at the Farm and was not drafted after a concussion plagued career. Now, Francis looks to do what his brother couldn’t do by hearing his name called at the draft. Francis Owusu is athletic and well-sized, and some team might take a chance on him in the last round. At 6’3” and 221 pounds, Owusu might be the next Marques Colston, who stands at 6’4” and weighs 225 pounds. The Saints picked Colston because of his size and athleticism; maybe, a team will do the same with Owusu.
Conrad Ukropina seemed to make every kick at Stanford, and it’s hard to imagine Conrad Ukropina not making the NFL, but there are doubts about his range. Roberto Aguayo had similar doubts but was still a second round pick last year. Aguayo, however, made every kick in college from within the forty; Ukropina made 98.4 percent.
More likely than not, these Stanford players won’t become stars; frankly, the odds are lined up against them. However, some Stanford prospects draw comparison to current stars and undoubtedly have the chance to become a household name.