When the Eagles and Chiefs play in Super Bowl LVII this weekend, it'll be a clash between teams who who made it there on the shoulders of their quarterbacks (Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes) awesome offensive lines, and a deep cast of skill-position talent on offense and defense.
And there are prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft whose games resemble those vital components of the Super Bowl 57 participants. This article provides those stars and their draft-class counterparts.
Let's dive into which prospects primed to be picked in April have stylistic similarities to a few of the marquee names who'll take the field Sunday.
For more extensive draft content, check out our latest prospect rankings and mock drafts, as well as our new weekly podcast, "With the First Pick," featuring former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. (Check out the latest episode below.)
Chiefs DT Chris Jones --> Georgia DT Jalen Carter
Jones was a long, somewhat sleek interior defensive line prospect who, somehow, slipped to the second round of the 2016 draft after a super-productive career as a dynamic, pass-rush-move extraordinaire at Mississippi State. Now, Carter probably won't make it out of the top 5, so that's a distinct difference between the two.
From a style perspective, however, they're so reminiscent of each other. Jones wins with a ridiculous first step, long arms, and deceptive power. That's the one-sentence scouting report on Carter, who was insanely disruptive over the past two seasons at Georgia and, somehow, even stood out in 2021 on a defensive line that featured three future first-round defensive linemen! Jones is a little taller and longer than Carter -- he was 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds at the 2016 combine. Other than that, from a physical, athletic and stylistic comparison, they're damn close.
Eagles LT Jordan Mailata --> Ohio State OT Dawand Jones
Now, no one has a genuinely Mailata-esque story. Dude was a rugby player in Australia who hadn't played -- or knew much about -- football before he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. Yes, 99% of the reason he was drafted without any football-playing experience was because of how insanely massive he was (6-foot-8 and 365 pounds.) Fast-forward six years, and Mailata has morphed into one of the most ferocious left tackles in football, essentially making 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard expendable.
Jones is a comparable mountain of a man at 6-foot-8 and 375 pounds with a wingspan close to 90 -- yes, 90 -- inches. The widest wingspan in the last 20-plus years at the combine is 88.5 inches. Jones isn't a statue, either. He moves like he's much closer to 330 or 340 pounds and was a squeaky-clean pass blocker at Ohio State.
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Chiefs TE Travis Kelce --> Utah TE Dalton Kincaid
I get it -- comparing a prospect to arguably the best tight end in the history of the NFL is risky. Some say even disrespectful. And this is not a straight comparison. But I don't think we need to totally shy away from them. Because, remember, every eventual Hall of Famer was just a prospect at one point, and before Kelce was picked in 2013, Rob Gronkowski was tracking toward being the best tight end in NFL history, someone whom there'd never be another one like, right?
Anyway, Kincaid gives me some Kelce vibes, although he may not be quite as big. He's uber-athletic, runs with that awesome explosive lean, cuts on a dime, and is a nightmare to corral in the open field. Very reliable hands, too. Sounds a lot like Kelce doesn't it?
If you want to experience the Kelce vibes with Kincaid, head to YouTube and watch Utah's regular season game against USC. In it, Kincaid goes off for 234 yards and a score on 16 receptions. He did it all in that game.
Eagles DT Javon Hargrave --> Pittsburgh DT Calijah Kancey
Hargrave was this somewhat mysterious prospect from South Carolina State who played with unhinging hips and lightning-quick explosiveness upfield. Now, being "undersized" and hailing from a small school don't get you drafted especially high, and Hargrave, despite the athleticism and major production, didn't get picked until the third round -- No. 89 overall in the 2016 draft.
Once the labels were off, Hargrave hit the ground running in Pittsburgh but was always in the background. Since signing with the Eagles, Hargrave's gotten more opportunity and, unsurprisingly, blossomed.
Kancey is likely to go higher than Hargrave did but feels strikingly similar on film. He's an electric mover on the field and works like hell to beat the consistently larger blockers at the point of attack with his punchy hand work, low center of gravity, and non-stop hustle. Those are precisely all the things Hargave has done to emerge as one of the game's best one-gap penetrators from the inside.