In the midst of the NFL offseason, cover32 will debut a series of new segments to hype up NFL fans for the start of the 2017 season.
The NFL Doppelgänger series is where each cover32 writer breaks down an NFL player’s closest comparison outside the world of football. So far, we have discussed who is the doppelgänger of Tom Brady, Tyreek Hill, Bill Belichick, and Ben Roethlisberger.
When it comes to well-rounded talent in sports, the list is pretty short. But, a few athletes in each sport encompass elite talent with all the tools. Two of these players are Cardinals running back David Johnson and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
Despite being shelved for a while this season, Mike Trout has continued to put up monstrous numbers in 2017. Before his injury, he was batting .337 with 16 homers, 36 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. Those are career numbers, even for the two time MVP.
David Johnson’s stellar finish to the 2015 season continued right into 2016. He continually showed excellence as a running back and as a receiver out of the backfield. While he is young, Johnson has the ability to put up monster numbers for the Arizona Cardinals.
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Mike Trout is the epitome of a five tool player in Major League Baseball. In case you aren’t familiar, a five tool player hits for power, hits for average, has good fielding ability, has a good arm, and has speed for defense and stealing bases. Trout has all of these abilities, as his stats will show.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-reference.com.
In his full seasons for the Angels, it is evident that Trout can do it all. He averages 32.6 homers per season, along with an average of 33.8 doubles per season. Trout also shows his speed by stealing bases. He nearly reached 50 stolen bases back in 2012. Another part attributed to his game is hitting for average. He hit better than .300 three times in his first five seasons. Trout consistently shows his defensive prowess with acrobatic catches at the wall.
Another big reason that Trout and Johnson are similar is consistently outperforming their roster. The Angels have made the playoffs once with Trout, back in 2014. That playoff appearance ended quickly, with the Royals sweeping them in the division series. This continued streak of mediocrity cannot fall on Trout. That blame sticks with the front office’s inability to build a good team around him. Trout is extremely talented, but he can’t carry an entire baseball team on his shoulders.
Football doesn’t have the “five tools” reference like baseball, but there is a way to measure the skill level of running backs. Most running backs have a certain style of play. That style usually falls into three categories. Those categories are speed, power, and one cut. Most of the good backs will have two of those attributes. However, not many running backs possess all three attributes. David Johnson is one of those backs.
The “five tools” for running backs include speed, power, shiftiness, catching, and route running. Johnson checks off all the boxes here. Along with the three attributes of a running backs, Johnson displays excellence in the passing game. In fact, he tallied up 879 yards receiving in 2016. The stats show that the Cardinals drafted a special player back in 2015.
Stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com.
The stats show just how elite Johnson has been as a runner and a receiver. Not only did he tally 879 receiving yards in 206, he also racked up 2118 yards from scrimmage. Johnson was the only running back to do so in 2016, showing how elite he is as a runner and a receiver.
Like Mike Trout, David Johnson is a rising star on an underperforming team. While he was a catalyst down the stretch in 2015, the 2016 Cardinals disappointed the fans. Their 7-8-1 record fell short of expectations. Even though the roster continues to improve on defense, their offense is getting older. Carson Palmer won’t be around much longer, and neither will Larry Fitzgerald. This could result in an offense that starts over from scratch. At that point, Johnson will be carrying the offense for years to come. A young quarterback could keep them in NFL purgatory.
Overall, the similarities are stunning. Both Johnson and Trout are complete athletes with all the tools to succeed. However, they may not reach the biggest stage in their respective sports due to their rosters. Their front offices must act during this time. Hopefully they both receive better talent around them as their seasons continue.