Part of the fun of being a fan of the NFL Draft is comparing players in the upcoming class to those already in the NFL. We're going to start doing that looking at one player on offense and one on defense every week. Just keep in mind that comparisons are often made on best-case scenarios.
Player: Matt Barkley, QB, Southern California
Comparison: Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets
This probably seems like a cop out comparison since both are Southern California players. But from an ability and football intelligence standpoint, they're pretty identical. Here's what I wrote about Sanchez in 2009:
Is always looking around on the whole field, keeping his face mask square with the line of scrimmage. Good arm strength to make just about any NFL throw. Put passes in good spots for receivers to make easy catches. Accurate passer when he's moving to either the left or the right. Probably a good fit for the West Coast offense because he doesn't have great arm strength. Has quick feet to get into position to make throws. Makes quick decisions and is a smart player. Team captain as a junior.
Is any of that dissimilar to Barkley's skill level? Barkley is probably a little better than Sanchez coming out due to his accuracy, but that's about the only difference. Add in that they're both 6-foot-2, and about 225 pounds and this seems like an easy comparison.
Player: Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
Comparison: Cliff Avril, DE, Detroit Lions
Much like Avril, Curry will always be an undersized defensive end who needs to be in the right system to succeed. They both specialize in getting around hte corner, but have enough strength to not be a detriment in the running game. Both play with good leverage, and some toughness.