2023 NFL Draft: Prospects with characteristics similar to free agents who signed with new teams this offseason

With more than half of Top 100 available players Having already signed the 2023 NFL Free Agency, we are not far from turning our full attention together to the 2023 NFL Draft.

Below are prospects in the 2023 class with similar traits and playstyles as some names who switched teams during this free-agent streak. First a disclaimer. They’re not the biggest free-agent adds, but I’ll never force pro comparisons when they just aren’t there. These are legitimate.

Signed with: Broncos
Interested party with similar characteristics: Old Dominion’s Nick Saldiveri

McGlinchey was considered a high-floor right tackle with advanced run-blocking skills, plenty of distance, and the pass protection skills needed to be a high-level long-term starter blocking an edge of an NFL offensive line. The consensus view that he joined the league from Notre Dame in 2018 was mostly correct. He was a consistent force on Kyle Shanahan’s almost always successful offensive lines, but never really dominated.

I get McGlinchey vibes from Saldiveri, who is almost the same height as McGlinchey, by the way. Both are big offensive tackles who win with technically solid handwork — shot timing and accuracy — and make the most of their impressive if unspectacular athleticism by making a concerted effort to lower their center of gravity. As does McGlinchey, once Saldiveri rumbles downhill, he’ll move people in the running game. Of course, Saldiveri doesn’t go like McGlinchey in Round 1 of the top half, but there are many parallels between the size, athletic ability and playing style of these two.

Signed with: bills
Interested party with similar characteristics: Houston’s Tank Dell

Right off the bat, Harty and Dell spit pictures of each other in terms of size and had near-identical pre-draft workouts. Harty’s Relative Athletic Score (a composite metric of a prospect’s height and combine/per-day performance) was 5.20 in 2019. Dell’s score was 5.44.

They are short, spindly rockets and gleam when caught. Contact Libra? No not true. Blast, scary long speed, receding vision if given breathing room while holding football. And because of their outburst, they can really break up and routinely beat the pressing at the line with lightning-fast feet.

Well, Harty was an incredibly excellent return guy — his 14 return touchdowns are the most in NCAA history, regardless of division — but Dell has electric return-man movement skills on the field.

Sign with: Broncos
Interested party with similar characteristics: Auburn’s Colby Wooden

Wooden is a big, chubby, powerful, deceptively athletic inside-out defender. sounds like someone? Yes, Allen, who had growing pains early in his pro career, playing as a defensive end — he was predominantly an edge player at Boston College — before breaking out primarily as an interior rusher in 2022.

This is how I see Wooden. Living on the sidelines in Auburn, he’s done well in the SEC for the past two seasons with 76 pressures on 800+ pass-rushing snaps. But to maximize his talents at over 6ft 4 and nearly 275lbs, he needs to be used primarily inside, where he’s faster than most guards and still can rip through blockers with sheer power.

Signed with: Titans
Interested party with similar characteristics: Kansas State’s Felix Anudike-Uzomah

Key’s main fascination when he joined the NFL in 2018 revolved around his on-field blast and off-field speed frenzy. After an 11-sack sophomore season, there was talk that he could be No. 1 overall. A slightly bearish junior campaign saw his stocks fall into Round 3. Five years later, Key has landed his fourth NFL contract after demonstrating serious pass rush skills.

Anudike-Uzomah has a comparable history and prospect – an explosive, flexible corner racer with a constantly revving engine. In 2021, he had 11 sacks and then experienced a dip in his classic stat production in his final season. However, I have a feeling he won’t be picked as late as Key was in the draft. Teams have evolved in terms of dynamic, curvaceous edge rushers.

Signed with: dolphins
Interested party with similar characteristics: Tulane’s Dorian Williams

For three years, the small, ultra-active linebacker was omnipresent in West Virginia. In 33 games for the Mountaineers, he recorded 39.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks, for a total of 246 tackles. Dude could really play. However, his 5ft 11 frame was the reason he was not selected until Round 6 of the 2019 draft. Sure enough, Long topped his draft position by a mile.

Funny how fast the NFL is evolving, because now there aren’t nearly as many size concerns with Williams, a 6-foot-nothing, 228-pound second-tier defender with Long-like skills.

Likely drafted on Day 2 (or maybe earlier on Day 3), he has the reach, speed, and coverage instincts to take his lack of stature to the next level – just like Long did.

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