Mike Mayock recently released a pre-Combine list of his top-5 NFL Draft prospects at each positional group, to go along with a conference call a couple of days ago that shed some light on his rankings, so I'll include his lists below, with some of his notes about each group. Why? Because when Mayock gets going, it's just an onslaught of great information.
Now, to lead off -- because the NFL Draft is an exceedingly subjective field of study, there are going to be statements below that buck convention or go against consensus, but that's what I love about studying this stuff. Mayock is well-respected, well-informed, does extensive tape study, played the game, and likely has a network of great sources. He's a veritable fountain of insight. That said, he's going to be wrong about guys. Everyone is. From what I remember, he had Blaine Gabbert ranked over Cam Newton, for instance, so grain of salt caveats apply, as always.
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia
2. Matt Barkley, USC
3. Mike Glennon, NC State
4. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
5. Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Personally, the quarterback group just really hasn't piqued my interest all that much this year, for several obvious reasons. One, it's highly unlikely Seattle selects a QB in the early rounds, so I haven't paid much attention to the 'top-5' type guys anyway, instead focusing my research on mid-to-late round prospects. Even then, I haven't put much effort into that. I'm actually more on the 'sign a vet to back up Russ or keep Flynn' train than the 'draft a developmental guy and hope to god he doesn't have to come in and play' train.
Regardless, Mayock's list is somewhat interesting, in that he's got Landry Jones ranked 5th after Smith, Barkley, Glennon, and Nassib, and places Jones above Tyler Wilson, Tyler Bray, EJ Manuel, Zac Dysert, and a few others. This might only be interesting because I had all but forgotten that Jones was even in the Draft.
Mayock on Jones: "Like a lot of the quarterbacks this year, he's so difficult to qualify. I can look at certain games and go 'that's a first round draft pick.' I can look at other games and go, he's a fifth round guy. I'm struggling with him. I like his junior tape better than his senior tape. I think he can make most of the throws. I think -- I know he can make all the throws. I've seen him make all the throws. But like a lot of this year's quarterbacks, there is no consistency with this kid."
Mayock notes that this is a common theme with the quarterbacks group.
"Same thing with Geno Smith. Same thing with Matt Barkley. There is a lack of consistency where you want to bang the table and say I love this kid. He's smart, I think he cares. When protection breaks down and he's got to get to his second and third read, and the mechanics start to break down, it's not really good. And that is the case with a lot of these kids. When I look at Landry Jones, I've got him as my number five quarterback, and I'm holding my breath on that one a little bit.
"I think most of the league is looking at him as a third round guy. I think he's a little better than that because I've seen him play at a higher level. But there is just nothing amongst this group of quarterbacks where you can bang the table and say 'I love this kid, and this is the quarterback of the future for my team.'"
Mayock compared this year's crop of quarterbacks to last year's group, minus RG3, Luck and Wilson, and brought up the somewhat surprising fact that Ryan Tannehill went 8th overall to Miami.
"Well, I mean, this time last year I was telling people that I thought Ryan Tannehill was going to end up being a top 10 pick," Mayock explained, "and people laughed at me. He ended up going eight. That's because during the process, if a quarterback shows a live arm, and some intelligence, work ethic, and toughness, all those kind of things, as coaches get involved with the process with the personnel people, it can push quarterbacks higher."
"So if you look at this group, and I kind of carved Geno Smith and Matt Barkley away, because I think they're going to be the first two off the board. They'll both end up in the first round somewhere. It could be a lot higher than I would expect. But that's my own opinion. Now you start looking at some of the other kids and say, 'is there a Tannehill here that could rise up?' "
"Mike Glennon of Carolina State, his arm talent, his consistency, he takes too long to deliver the football. He makes bad decisions. He makes bad throws, but the arm talent is there. So during this process, are people going to fall in love with him? Ryan Nassib is the guy that people are going to like a lot just because, as I said earlier, he kind of reminds me a little bit of the ascension of Kurt Cousins last year, and the ascension of Andy Dalton the year before that were smart, tough -- and the more the coaches get involved, they see the kid's work ethic and how much he understands of the game, they're going to start to trust him. And with coaches, trust is a big thing, work ethic, trust. And teams are going to trust Ryan Nassib."
As for sleepers?
"I think teams are going to trust Sean Renfree from Duke, who is off the boards. He might be a fifth round pick, but he's got a work ethic like a Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan."
Mayock indulges our piqued curiosity: "He's not going to throw because he's coming off a peck injury. I don't understand why he's not more highly rated. I watched three tapes of his this weekend, and I think his coaches get involved, a little like the Syracuse kid, this kid gets it. I watched him against Clemson last night, and he does not have big arm talent, but his anticipation and accuracy are outstanding. I think he's going to be a fifth round guy that's going to surprise people."
**Dan hits up google to check this guy out.**
So, to sum up the whole group, per Mayock:
"The way I categorize this group is that there is nobody -- there is not even one guy you would bang the table for in the first round. But then there are a whole bunch of guys after that where you're saying, 'how do they sit and how much do I trust them?'"
The bottom line though with this quarterbacks group is that, as Mayock points out several times, "there is just nothing amongst this group of quarterbacks where you can bang the table and say I love this kid, and this is the quarterback of the future for my team."
What does this mean for Kansas City? When asked about which players he would consider with the first overall pick? "Four guys: [Chance] Warmack, [Jonathan] Cooper, [Luke] Joeckel, and [Eric] Fisher."
North Carolina G Jonathan Cooper amongst the list of players Mayock would consider at #1? At least this somewhat affirms my decision to figuratively pound the table so violently for Cooper, back in our Field Gulls' writers' mock.
As Mayock says, "Chance Warmack from Alabama is the best football player I saw on tape this year. And Jonathan Cooper from North Carolina is just a tiny notch behind him. As a matter of fact, Cooper's probably a better athlete. So if either of those players are on the board at 10, I'd jump all over them. I could careless about whether or not that's a position of value or not. Remember especially this year, if I had to list a top eight or ten players, they'd probably be offensive linemen or defensive linemen. I'm not seeing some of those impact guys in some of the skill positions."
This is such a strange year for the Draft. Right now, most mocks have one, or maybe two, quarterbacks going in round one. Imagine if teams make a surprise early run on QBs, and imagine how much that shakes up the early projections. It's going to be nuts, wherever that run takes place, whether it's round one or two. Quarterback is such an important position, that it's going to happen at some point.
One such player that teams might gamble on is the toolsy project, E.J. Manuel. Some people see Manuel in Seattle next year if he slips into the mid-rounds. He's got deficiencies and issues in several areas, but his physical makeup and skillset will lure a team into a developmental pick.
"As far as EJ Manuel is concerned," Mayock notes, "going to the Senior Bowl, there were people all over the board on him. Fourth, fifth, sixth round grades on this kid because this past season he was up and down, and, justifiably, grades were all over, all over the board. Now, I thought he had a good week. He's got mechanical issues with foot work and timing. The more pressure he comes under in a game as far as edge or any flashes of color, his mechanics break down a little bit, and that's typical of a lot of college quarterbacks. So I get nervous when I see that because he doesn't have that solid a base from a fundamental perspective. But he's got a live arm, and he's really athletic. So I think he helped himself in The Senior Bowl, and he'll end up going in the third or fourth round."
"E.J. Manuel is a guy that I thought had a pretty solid Senior Bowl week and played really well in the game," says Mayock, "Big, strong, physical kid. He's got some natural physical running ability also, not that he's a running quarterback, but he's an athletic kid and I like him. I like his attitude. I just want to see him come out and rip it this weekend. Just throw the ball. Don't worry about it. Sometimes his technique isn't always consistent, his foot work, etc. But that doesn't matter. Get out there, let them see your arm talent, throw the ball."
Now, the subject of E.J. Manuel, for me, is a perfect example of a trap that Seattle fans should look to avoid falling into - the thought of finding some rare athletic guy in the late rounds that can come in and run the read option if Russell Wilson gets hurt. Sure, Seattle may (does) want to find a guy that can do some of the movement things that Wilson can do, but at the end of the day, mobility is secondary to an ability to throw the football.
Mayock would agree, and notes, "To me, [the quarterback position] hasn't changed a whole lot other than obviously, if you get a [Colin] Kaepernick or Russell Wilson, who can throw the ball tremendously well from within the pocket and they've got an ability to run some options and do some other things, you get a plus grade on them. A plus-plus grade."
He continues, "What's more important outside of that - because those guys are just outstanding and I don't see any of those guys in this year's draft - but what's more important is the mobility within the pocket and an ability to extend the play, and that doesn't really show up in a 40. It shows up a little more in some of the other drills and shows up way more on tape than it does at the Combine."
When evaluating E.J. Manuel, or Matt Scott, or Colby Cameron, or Duke QB Sean Renfree - make sure you're analyzing his ability to throw the football with strength and accuracy, move around in the pocket with nuanced anticipation, and escape pressure to keep the play alive. At the end of the day, the read-option stuff is pretty ancillary. Mobility will be a likely necessity, but an ability to run the read option is not.
1. Eddie Lacy, Alabama
2. Montee Ball, Wisconsin
3. Andre Ellington, Clemson
4. Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
5. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
The running back group hierarchy that Mayock has assembled is actually pretty interesting. Montee Ball hasn't gotten a lot of love in the pre-Combine buildup, nor has Andre Ellington or Marcus Lattimore.
Mayock expounds on his list. "At the running back position I only have one guy in the first round, and that is Eddie Lacy. I just happen to like Montee Ball a lot. When I put the tape on, he's a downhill [runner], tough kid. I think he's got really good feet for a fairly large back. I think he's going to have to do a better job with pass protection. But at 5'11", 215 [pounds], he should be able to do a better job with pass protection. I think he's shown toughness, balance, vision. He's a one-cut, north-south runner and I think he fits most of the offenses in the NFL. I see him as a late two to an early three."
The thought of Seattle grabbing another running back in this draft is intriguing -- Marshawn Lynch isn't going to be around forever, and I'm not sure that Robert Turbin is a foundational style running back. I see Turbin as an electric and explosive change of pace back with an ability to catch passes out of the backfield, but am still unsure if he's the type that will eventually end up carrying the ball 25+ times a game. That's a huge, huge part of Seattle's identity. A early-mid round running back pick wouldn't shock me.
Would Seattle take a chance on Montee Ball, the guy that Russell Wilson handed off to in 2011? Would be intriguing. For what it's worth, Greg Cosell really likes Ball a lot as well, noting that he is a "really smooth and fluid runner. He is almost a glider, but he's got a pretty sharp change of direction."
Another intriguing player that I haven't yet studied yet is Clemson RB Andre Ellington, and Ellington is a guy who Mayock touts heavily. Says Mayock, "The guy that really caught my eye - and I didn't expect to like him as much as I do - is Andre Ellington. One of the reasons I like him is because at 195 pounds, he might be the best effort pass protection running back in the draft - which really surprised me."
Mayock continues, "He squares people up, gets after them, and typically you don't see that from those 195 pounds, change-of-pace kind of back. So, Ellington, I've got him number three on my board at running back. I've got him higher than most people. Most people think he's a third rounder. I like him in the second round."
"He can catch a football. He's tougher than people think. He would protect [the quarterback]. He would give up his body to block for him."
Mayock continues on with his running backs group, noting, "I think Giovani Bernard is going to go earlier. Joseph Randle, from Oklahoma State, is another 200-pound, change-of-pace, third-down guy that can spread the field a little bit with him."
"And an explosive kid is the Oregon kid," Mayock continues, "Kenjon Barner. He ran for 300 yards against USC. Not as good a blocker, but he can catch the football, make you miss in space. You could get him in the third round, and I think he'd be a pretty exciting player."
Another running back that's generating some buzz of late is South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore. Mayock points out that Lattimore has a lot to prove this week after a lackluster 2012 season. "Yeah, it's important for him. I think he goes somewhere in the third round. And that's, you know, if he was a late-one to a mid-two [when] healthy, then I think a third round is fair for him because you're probably going to get your most production starting two years out."
Mayock talked about Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell, who I've had my eye on simply for the fact that he's a big, bruising type that could theoretically back-up Lynch. Said Mayock, "Yeah, the tailback, Le'Veon Bell, I don't think he plays as big as he should play. He's listed at 244 pounds, and to me he's a little bit too much of an east-west guy. When he comes downhill and squares his shoulder and lowers his pad level, he's pretty good. But right now at 244 pounds, I don't think he plays that big, and I've got him more as a fourth round pick."
As for this year's sleepers, Mayock first addresses how guys even slip through the cracks in the first place, guys like Alfred Morris and Arian Foster.
Mayock: "Alfred Morris, what a sleeper guy that was. We did him at the East-West game a year ago. I was fooled like everybody else was. The thing about Arian Foster, he almost came out his junior year, but he had some medical and off the field [red-flags]. Typically when guys like that that are big, good looking, fast guys, when they don't get drafted, you have to look beyond the football, and with Arian Foster, that's what it was. It was medical and off the field. Alfred Morris, a little more [because of] the school he came out of and a lack of awareness from a lot of teams in the league.
"As far as this year," he continues, "and down-the-line guys, one of the guys that's had some off the field issues is Christine Michael from Texas A&M. I showed up at the East-West game, and I started laughing. When you saw him next to five other running backs, he stood out like a sore thumb, great speed, quickness. He looked like a first or second round running back, and why was he at the East-West game? He should have been at the Senior Bowl. The answer is he had some issues at Texas A&M. So teams will have to do some homework on this kid. Most teams have fourth or fifth round grades on him like Morris a few years ago. He's got first or second round talent."
"So he's the kind of player where teams are going to look into him and try to get a better feel for him. Jawan Jamison, the junior from Rutgers, 5'8", 200 [pounds]. Have to do some homework on him. He's kind of an interesting guy. I've only seen one tape on him, and I marked it with an asterisk. I've got to watch more of this kid. I'm anxious to see him this weekend. I do believe you can find some running backs down the line."
1. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
2. Keenan Allen, Cal
3. Terrance Williams, Baylor
4. Tavon Austin, West Virginia
5. Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech
Ah, the wide receivers. The group that Seattle fans love to talk about, with good reason. Let's just start off with what Mayock has to say about Cordarrelle:
"From a height, width, speed, talent perspective, he might be one of the most talented physical specimens in this class. I think he's taking your breath away from the ability to make plays especially after he gets the ball in his hands. He's a special talent. The problem is he's got one year of Division I experience after two years at a [junior college]. That's a red flag for me, especially at the wide receiver position. There are a bunch of those guys that have failed over the past 20 years. So you've got to do your homework on him off the field, work ethic, all those kinds of things, because talent-wise, he fits."
I'm not even getting my hopes up on Patterson, at this point. Moving on.
Mayock: "I think with Keenan Allen, it's one word: speed. That is the only question scouts have on him. It's hard to view him on tape with the way they throw the football. So what is it? If he's a 4.4 guy, bang the table, he's a top 25 pick. If he runs 4.55, 4.58, there are going to be a lot of questions about him. Off tape, if you like him, he's an Anquan Boldin-type guy. If you don't like him, you're going to say he's speed deficient. So if he runs fast at the Combine, that is one of those positions where speed at the Combine means something, and he can really -- if he runs in that 4.4 to 4.5 range, 4.48 even, I think he's definitely a first-round pick."
Mayock on DeAndre Hopkins, a personal favorite of Davis Hsu: "Yeah, Hopkins, to me, is intriguing, very smooth, good hands. I've got him as a mid to late second-round player. And you're right, his bowl game I watched, it was fun. He made an awful lot of plays and he's good with the ball in his hands after the catch. Some teams have him in the third round, some teams have him in the second round. Again, with corners and wide receivers, when you're talking Combine, the obvious answer is speed. I think he's a little quicker than fast, and if he went out there and ran a 4.40, it would open my eyes, and I think the rest of the league would feel the same way."
I'm actually pretty surprised to hear that Mayock has Hopkins going mid- to late-second round, possibly third. Another guy that's fluctuated a lot in his perceived stock is Tennessee's Justin Hunter.
"He's one of those guys that's probably going to run fast," says Mayock. "He's probably from a height, weight, and speed perspective going to flash at the Combine, open some eyes. I watched a lot of tape of him. I think he's raw and a developmental guy. For me, that's not a first round guy. Now, he's got the tools, and in two years from now he might be special. But for me right now I've got him in the second round. I've got him about my eighth wide receiver on my board and a second round pick."
On to a couple of players that I broke down recently, South Carolina's 5'9, 175 pound dynamo, Ace Sanders, and Texas' Olympic Track athlete/wide receiver, Marquise Goodwin.
"Yeah, [Ace] Sanders was a kid I thought should have stayed in school. He's got wonderful returnability, and he's coming off a big bowl game. So regardless of that the kind of kids with his size and quickness, typically fall somewhere in that plus or minus fourth round, and I think he'll end up in the fourth or fifth round. I think he's a good football player. If he went in the third round it wouldn't stun me. But I think he's going to be a fourth or fifth round guy."
On Marquise Goodwin:
"Yeah, and speed kills, right? That's why [Goodwin] is generating buzz. He got to the Senior Bowl and ran by a bunch of corners. Now keep it in perspective. A lot of the corners he was running by were "speed deficient corners."
As for another player that's certainly interesting -- Michigan's Denard Robinson. After some disastrous wide receiver play at the Senior Bowl, Robinson has seen his stock plummet a bit, at least in the public perception. After hearing the stories about his awful route running and sub-par catching ability, I'm still wondering why Robinson doesn't just attempt to play running back and hope to develop his skills as a returner (which also got awful reviews), but nonethess, he does make an intriguing developmental project because of his insane athletic ability.
Mayock on Denard Robinson: "I don't know if he really lost scouts at the Senior Bowl. I give the kid credit. He had that nerve thing, and it was still bothering him. He tried to play and fight through it. I kind of liked it. If there's one thing about Denard Robinson, if there are two things about Denard Robinson that I think I know, one, he's quick as can be, and two, he's very tough. He's got 700 touches at Michigan. I know he's a tough and quick kid. And those two attributes are big toward the development of a slot receiver."
"What I don't know yet is how well he catches the football, you know, so what I'd like to see him going into the football and in the combine catching everything they throw in every drill. From the gauntlet, to the time he walks out on the field, I want to see him catch everything. From now through the draft, that's what I want to see. Run routes and catch everything. Those are the two things that they're going to be looking for, because I think all the rest of it checks off."
I still wouldn't mind seeing Robinson running out of the backfield in a ZBS like Seattle's, but that's just me.
1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
2. Zach Ertz, Stanford
3. Gavin Escobar, San Diego State
4. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati
5. Jordan Reed, Florida
I love this year's group of tight ends, which is a welcome change from last year's class, which was relatively barren of talent. Mayock, interestingly enough, has Tyler Eifert ranked as his number one TE, but also interestingly, San Diego State's Gavin Escobar isn't far behind.
"There are three guys at the top of this class that are very similar," Mayock explains, "[Tyler] Eifert, Zach Ertz, and [Gavin] Escobar from San Diego State. All of them are 6'6", plus or minus 250 [pounds]. And it will be interesting to see how the three run against each other, because they're all clumped together by most teams right now.
So my perspective, you watch Ertz, and they move him all over the field. What's he run? Is he a 4.68 guy or a 4.53 guy? And I think the speed will be important for all three of those tight ends."
"As far as the tight ends are concerned," he continues, "both those kids [Eifert and Ertz] are talented. Both those kids are what today's tight ends are all about; an ability to move around and do different things. They're both big enough to lineup in line if you asked them to. Now, I thought that Eifert did a better job blocking this year than he did in past years and a little better job than Ertz did who was more of a move guy. So if you asked me to rank them today, it would be Eifert first, because I could line him up in-line, even though he's not a stone killer. Trust me, he's not. But he can at leastplay leverage and block in line. However, both of their strengths are getting down field and catching the football."
Later in the call, Mayock talked about Dion Sims and lauded him for his in-line blocking ability - something I haven't seen others do. From the other reports I've read, Sims has actually been poor in the blocking department, so this was an interesting take:
"The tight end, [Dion] Sims, his biggest attribute is his in-line blocking, and I think that's going to help him. But in today's NFL, the ability to get down the field and catch the ball and get vertical is a big deal. He's not one of those guys. He's an in-line blocker. He can do okay in the short and intermediate pass game, but mostly viewed as a blocker. So, again, I think he's going to be closer to a fourth round guy. He's one of the best blocking tight ends in this draft."
This evaluation comes days before something I read this morning, from former pro scout and National Football Post writer Russ Lande. Per Lande, "Sims is viewed as the mystery man of this year's tight end class because he has rare size, good athleticism and soft, natural hands, but is not the player you expect him to be based on his physique. Regarded primarily as a receiving tight end, Sims lacks explosive acceleration and does not have the playing speed to stretch the field and run away from defenders. Many in the media immediately compare big tight ends to Rob Gronkowski, but Sims is not that type of player. He is much more of a smooth, fluid athlete who uses his size to shield defenders and receiving skills to make tough catches, similar to Antonio Gates. However, it is concerning that Sims is not a good blocker. He does not block with good technique or compete at a high level to keep man out of the play. Although many expected Sims would be a first or high second round pick when he declared, we have heard that the third or fourth round is much more likely."
The NFL Draft, ladies and gents. A land of contradictory opinions.
1. Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
2. Brian Schwenke, Cal
3. Barrett Jones, Alabama
4. Khaled Holmes, USC
5. Braxston Cave, Notre Dame
Mayock talked briefly about the group at the center postion.
"As far as Travis Frederick at Wisconsin, the center, he's similar to Barrett Jones a little bit from Alabama, my No. 1 and my number three centers. I think Frederick goes in the second round, Barrett Jones, second or third rounder. Big, strong kid, gets pushed, smart and tough. The fact that he's a Wisconsin offensive lineman is going to help him. That's a positive thing to be today in today's NFL. So there are two kids that I really like who they are, and I fully expect that both of them should be off the board by the end of the second round.
Later on the call, specifically on Barrett Jones, Mayock notes, "I think he's a smart player that understands angles and leverage. I love the way he plays, because I don't think he's as good an athlete as he shows that he is as a player. He is a better football player than he is an athlete, and I love that. I think he is going to be a center. That position isn't valued as highly. And I think if he's a mid to late two, that is really for him. He could slide in the first round. Regardless, I think he's going to be a starting center in the league. If he moved well and ran well, 10-yard dash and looked good in the drills with his feet, that would help him this week."
Seattle has Max Unger and Lemuel Jeanpierre at center, and John Moffitt regularly takes snaps there in practice and training camps, etc. Rishaw Johnson can also play at center, so I haven't really seen the position as a need for Seattle this year. Would be interesting to see if they show interest in any of these guys.
1. Chance Warmack, Alabama
2. Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
3. Larry Warford, Kentucky
4. Kyle Long, Oregon
5. Brian Winters, Kent State
Simply put, I've been watching a lot of the guards in this year's draft, and there are some interesting players in every round. According to Mayock, the biggest thing to be watching for when it comes to offensive lineman at the Combine, is:
"Movement skills. When you don't have pads on, you can't hit anybody, they want to see where your feet are. They'll do all the measurables. How long are your arms and all is that stuff. But it's mostly your feet and movement skills. If you look at a guard, they've got to be stout inside, and anchor which he can. But the best thing he does, the farther he gets away from the football field, you pull him, put him on the screen, pull him on the counter row, and he's got to find somebody."
We already talked about how highly Mayock rates Warmack and Cooper, but one of his 'sleepers' is a guy that Derek Stephens recently scouted for the Hawks.
"Kind of an interesting kid," Mayock notes about Illinois OL Hugh Thornton. "He's got positional versatility. And, Illinois, a couple years ago, when they went with the split and the tight arrangements they had to play on both sides of the line, which I really like. People don't understand how valuable it is to play with your left or right-hand down in the dirt. I think the kid has played guard, he's played tackle. Got some good movement skills. I like him inside. But I think because he can play probably four positions in the offensive line, it's going to help him. But I think he's kind of a mid-round pick, somewhere in the fourth or fifth round.
1. Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
2. Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
3. Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
4. D.J. Fluker, Alabama
T-5. Menelik Watson, Florida State
T-5. Justin Pugh, Syracuse
Mayock: "I think the deepest positions [in this year's Draft] are the offensive line, center guard and tackle. I've never seen two guards at the top end this good that could be top 10 picks. Love them. I've got six tackles that I've given first round grades to. So the offensive line depth is really good."
One interesting subject from the conference call was on the scouting of offensive linemen - how do teams project college players to the next level, at specific positions?
"It's an interesting question," says Mayock. "I think the assumption has always been that if you play left side, you ought to be able to kick over to the right and be effective. I'm not sure that's the case though because the right side is a little bit more of that run, heavy run side more so than just the pass guy. I kind of -- right tackle is an interesting thing because right tackle only, if you're being drafted as a right tackle only, that is an awkward place to be. Because if you're only a right tackle, it means you better be the starter or you're going to get cut because you can only carry typically seven or eight guys on game day."
Hence, the Seahawks' penchant to have their guys play multiple spots.
Mayock continues, "So you better be a starting right tackle, because you'll have a back-up interior guy, and a back-up left tackle. So in this year's group, D.J. Fluker to me is by far the outstanding right tackle. The kid from North Carolina, Brennan Williams is going to open some eyes too. He's a pretty talented right tackle. I've got him in the third round.
Ricky Wagner from Wisconsin is an interesting right tackle. What we've seen in the last few years is that the kid from the Packers is a right tackle that could get switched over to left. He was a first-round pick. That's what I see so far.
On the difference between left and right tackle: "There is a different skill set. The left tackle has better feet and is a better pass protector, and there are fewer of those guys available. They get pushed up higher. The right tackles, you can find those big, strong, long armed tough guys. There are more of them available in the draft. Basically, the difference typically are the feet. You have either left tackle feet or right tackle feet. That's usually what separates it."
Interesting stuff. Defense is next up!