Is the comparison fair? Probably not at this point but in our world every player is the next somebody. For Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles, the comparison has been the next Chris Johnson, all-world running back for the Tennessee Titans.
Both are small, shifty and have the ability to score anywhere on the field. Johnson demonstrates that ability on just about a weekly basis. Charles has just flashed that potential only now and again.
Both lead their respective teams in rushing. Charles just passed 600 yards and Johnson just passed 1,600 yards. Both lead their teams in receptions - Charles with 34 and Johnson with 42.
Yeah, they're not the same player, but we need the comparisons to make us feel that our player is the next someone.
"I'm a physical player and I can run the ball just like Chris Johnson does," Charles said after last week's loss to the Buffalo Bills when he rushed for a career high.
Kent Babb of the Kansas City Star has a fantastic piece on Charles detailing his rise from an inactive afterthought in the second week of the season to one of the building blocks of the Chiefs future.
While reading and hearing the thoughts of more and more people who are talking about the Chiefs tailback,the JC-to-CJ comparison keeps popping up.
"He looks a little bit like the [Chris] Johnson kid from Tennessee, where he has that home run ability," Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said this week. "They're using him all over the place. They flex him out as a receiver and he's doing some great things out there, beating corners and things like that."
"Jamaal has an ability to score form anywhere on the field and not a lot of guys in the NFL have that ability," Chiefs LB Mike Vrabel said this week. "Certainly those guys are hard to come by."
He's definitely not Chris Johnson yet but at least over the last five weeks the comparisons have becoming more and more realistic.