There’s no such thing as a sure thing regarding the NFL Draft. As you may know by now, projections are just numbers and wishful thinking more often than not, even though some of the traits could obviously translate to the pros.
Athleticism, strength, IQ, and speed will always help a player reach his potential. But what about injuries, playing in an unfavorable system or a bad organization, or even tough luck? There are just so many intangibles that could determine a player’s success — or lack thereof — at the next level.
But just for the sake of the argument, we’ll do a bit of a fun exercise today. We’ll take a look at this year’s top-5 picks and figure out their NBA counterpart, just for the fun of it. Also, if you want to learn more about the best NBA players, feel free to explore the website for more info.
NFL Players and Their NBA Counterparts
5. Devon Witherspoon (CB) – Draymond Green
There’s a lot to like about Devon Witherspoon’s game. But just like it happens with Draymond Green, he’s a bit undersized for his position, meaning he could struggle against some more prominent players. That doesn’t mean he’s not an elite lockdown defender with a high IG, though.
Thanks to his versatility and brains, Green has been a staple and critical contributor to the Golden State Warrior’s success. Likewise, Witherspoon has several tools to make up for his lack of size, not to mention strong leadership and top-notch confidence in his game.
4. Anthony Richardson (QB) – Giannis Antetokounmpo
This one is perhaps the most obvious comparison. Anthony Richardson entered the league as a polarizing player with little film and several questions. Giannis Antetokounmpo looked like a massive reach when the Milwaukee Bucks selected him in 2013.
Richardson is the most athletic player in his class. His game is far from a finished product, and he’s still quite raw, but he has the physical tools to be a generational player and future Hall of Famer. His combination of speed, strength, athleticism, and lateral quickness could make him as unstoppable as Giannis.
3. Will Anderson Jr. (EDGE) – Kawhi Leonard
Some scouts actually thought that Will Anderson Jr. was the best player in his class, and we’re not talking just about the defense. He’s got impressive instincts and is a disruptive force, constantly attacking and going at the quarterback, just like Kawhi Leonard on the defensive end of the floor.
Anderson can make great reads in real time-and will often be the best player on the field. Still, he’s going to stay locked in, quiet, and just do his job, just like Kawhi. Also, like Leonard, he won’t be able to attack more prominent players one on one, but he’ll do more than enough to force them to make mistakes.
2. C.J. Stroud (QB) – Russell Westbrook
C.J. Stroud’s production at Ohio State was just ridiculous. He has proven to be able to put up video game-like numbers every single time he sets foot on the field, and he’s an explosive athlete. He’s got that Russell Westbrook style.
Westbrook is one of the most accomplished point guards ever and one of the few people who could fill up the stat sheet every single night. However, just like Stroud, he often forced things, especially with the game on the line, and didn’t always make the best reads.
1. Bryce Young (QB) – Chris Paul
And last but not least, we find a football genius compared to a basketball mastermind. Both of them are tweeners and way shorter than their colleagues, both of them could struggle because of that, but both of them could also be considered two of the greatest in their respective sports.
Bryce Young has the highest football IQ in this class, and he could be a floor general just like Chris Paul is on the basketball court. Neither stands out because of their athleticism or physical traits, but they still find ways to make defenders miss with their savviness and brains.