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January 29, 2013
The close of the evaluation period for the Class of 2013 produced few changes at the top of the Rivals100, but as the players jockeyed for position, the Rivals.com team of analysts saw the highlights and lowlights of each prospect.
Generally, the most difficult aspect of ranking players is making comparisons and projections, but it is the task most asked of analysts. With just days left until National Signing Day, the Rivals.com team will break down the best of the best by comparing them to players on the NFL level.
Each day, there will be a breakdown of two players from the Top 10 of the Rivals100.
No. 8 Derrick Green, running back, Richmond (Va.) Heritage
Attributes: 6-foot, 220 pounds, 4.4 40.
Top Schools: Committed to Michigan
NFL comparison: Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Tale of the Tape: Lynch is listed at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, but he looks and feels like he plays thicker than that. Green is every bit of his listings, so this is a fairly direct comparison because neither is a player you want to step in front of.
When we last saw him: Coming to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio with a target on his back didn't seem to bother Green. The running backs on the East and West squads tried to dethrone the nation's No. 1 back but were unsuccessful. In practices and the game, Green ran with toughness and speed, cut very well and showed he has the vision to make an early impact at the next level. His signature moment was a 23-yard run in the game during which he broke at least two tackles.
Analyst's take: "Both are explosive and violent runners, so it is an easy comparison to make. What I think makes them so similar is the physicality in the hole and getting into the next level. Neither guy is really looking to shake tacklers rather than hitting them with a stiff arm or just straight running over them. It is a mean streak and an angry approach to carrying the football, and they both have it." -- Adam Friedman, Rivals.com Northeast analyst.
No. 7 Max Browne, quarterback, Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline
Attributes: 6-foot-5, 215 pounds
Top schools: Early enrollee at USC
NFL comparison: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Tale of the tape: Each is listed at the same height and Manning has more weight, but that comes with age. He was thinner as a prospect. There are few quarterbacks in the NFL with more polish in the pocket than Manning, and that is echoed for Browne among high school QBs. Neither moves very well, but both can make a smart throw when they are forced to break the pocket.
When we last saw him: At the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Browne showed his innate ability to lead a team. Teammates always talk about those leadership abilities, even though he's not the biggest rah-rah guy in the huddle. The five-star quarterback is intelligent and mature, and it comes across on the field when he's carving up defenses and moving the ball downfield. His touchdown pass to Derrick Griffin was one of the nicest throws in the game. Browne has good arm strength, understands defenses and always seems to make the smart move, not the risky one that could get his team in trouble.
Analyst's take: "(Manning and Browne) are both pocket passers of the highest caliber on their levels of competition, so it is a natural comparison to make. Neither is a great runner, but both can move their feet well. The thing that stands out most of all is the intelligence both show and the leadership attributes they share. Every kid at every event I have covered with Max Browne there has walked away saying that he wanted to be on his team. Going along with his intelligence is his maturity and not needing to make the spectacular play but making the right play. If it's deep, a crossing route, a dump-off to the running back or just tossing it out of bounds instead of taking a sack or forcing the issue, he seems to always know what to do with the ball. One other thing that Browne shares with today's version of Manning is not the best arm strength but the ability to throw the receiver open and to deliver the ball on time and to the right places. I think that is a huge part of his game." -- Adam Gorney, Rivals.com West Coast analyst.