Inside The Bills

Mayock looks at both sides of franchise QB fence

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2018 – 2:07 pm

He doesn’t deny that it has been and will be a polarizing topic in the 2018 draft and after the 2018 draft, but the franchise quarterback debate is a healthy one, due mainly to what happened in the playoffs this past season. That’s why NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock decided to poll NFL clubs with what he outlined in his national conference call Friday.

“Last year three of the top 12 picks were quarterbacks and all three were trade ups on draft night,” Mayock said. “The year before the Rams went all the way up to number one to get Jared Goff and the Eagles went from 13 to eight to two to go get Carson Wentz. It’s a quarterback-driven league. I think it’s going to be a crazy first eight, 10, 12 picks.”

Mayock then provided some statistics to point out the value that a franchise quarterback can provide for a team.

“To underscore the importance of a franchise quarterback think about these two numbers. When the Houston Texans had DeShaun Watson in the lineup they averaged 35 points per game. When they didn’t they averaged 13. When the San Francisco 49ers had Jimmy Garoppolo, they won five in a row and average 29 points per game versus an average of 17 points per game when they didn’t have him. So the quote franchise quarterback conversation is riveting.”

But then Mayock took a look at the other side of the coin, examining, what for lack of a better term were three journeyman quarterbacks who went deep into the playoffs in 2017.

“When you look at Case Keenum, who goes to an NFC championship game, Blake Bortles, even though he was a high pick he was not considered a high level franchise QB, goes to the AFC championship game, and Nick Foles goes to the Super Bowl and wins with the Philadelphia Eagles. Is that an aberration? Or is it a trend?

“Those quarterback conversations I’ve had with most of the league over the last month and trust me it’s been fascinating.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mayock updates his top 5 by position for draft

Posted by Chris Brown on March 21, 2017 – 2:14 pm

He put his first list of his top five at each position for the 2017 draft class just before the NFL combine. Almost a month later, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has re-issued his top five by position list from the 2017 talent pool and there has been some movement at some need positions for the Bills.

Chief among them cornerback where Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore moved up to the top spot from being ranked second in the initial Mayock rank. Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey moved up from three to two, while Washington’s Sidney Jones, Florida’s Teez Tabor and LSU’s Tre’Davious White slipped out of the top five completely. Jones’ drop is probably due largely to his Achilles injury suffered at his pro day.

Washington’s Kevin King, Ohio State’s Gareon Conley and UCLA’s Fabian Moreau round out the new top five at corner.

At receiver East Carolina WR Zay Jones moved up one spot from five to four, swapping places with E. Washington WR Cooper Kupp.

And at linebacker, Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham and Florida’s Jarrad Davis swapped places, with Davis moving up from four to three and Cunningham sliding back.

A lot of times Mayock alters these positional ranks based on what he’s hearing from NFL club executives directly. Here’s a look at all of his position listings.

1. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
2. Deshaun Watson, Clemson
3. Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina
4. Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech
5. Davis Webb, California
Running Back
1. Leonard Fournette, LSU
2. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
3. Dalvin Cook, Florida State
4. Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
5. Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
Rise: Fournette (2), McCaffrey (3), Perine (NR)
Fall: Cook (1), Joe Mixon, Oklahoma (5, added to special exceptions)
Wide receiver
1. Corey Davis, Western Michigan
2. Mike Williams, Clemson
3. John Ross, Washington
4. Zay Jones, East Carolina
T-5. Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
T-5. JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
Rise: Jones (5), Smith-Schuster (NR)
Fall: Kupp (4),

Tight end
1. O.J. Howard, Alabama
2. David Njoku, Miami
3. Evan Engram, Ole Miss
4. Gerald Everett, South Alabama
5. George Kittle, Iowa
Rise: Everett (5), Kittle (NR)
Fall: Jake Butt, Michigan (4, added to special exceptions)
Offensive tackle
1. Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
2. Garett Bolles, Utah
3. Antonio Garcia, Troy
4. Roderick Johnson, Florida State
T-5. Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
T-5. Jermaine Eluemunor, Texas A&M
Interior OL
1. Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
2. Cam Robinson, Alabama
3. Dan Feeney, Indiana
4. Dion Dawkins, Temple
T-5. Ethan Pocic, LSU
T-5. Pat Elflein, Ohio State
Rise: Dawkins (5), Elflein (NR)
Fall: Pocic (4)
Interior DL
1. Jonathan Allen, Alabama
2. Caleb Brantley, Florida
3. Malik McDowell, Michigan State
4. Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte
5. Chris Wormley, Michigan
Edge rusher
1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
2. Solomon Thomas, Stanford
3. Derek Barnett, Tennessee
4. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
5. Tim Williams, Alabama
Rise: Thomas (4), McKinley (5)
Fall: Williams (2)

1. Reuben Foster, Alabama
2. Haason Reddick, Temple
3. Jarrad Davis, Florida
4. Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
5. Alex Anzalone, Florida
Rise: Davis (4)
Fall: Cunningham (3)
1. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
2. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
3. Kevin King, Washington
4. Gareon Conley, Ohio State
5. Fabian Moreau, UCLA
Rise: Lattimore (2), Humphrey (3), King (NR), Conley (NR), Moreau (NR)
Fall: Sidney Jones, Washington (1, added to special exceptions), Teez Tabor, Florida (4), Tre’Davious White, LSU (5)
1. Budda Baker, Washington
2. Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
3. Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
4. Desmond King, Iowa
5. Damontae Kazee, San Diego State
1. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
2. Jamal Adams, LSU
3. Malik Hooker, Ohio State
4. Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
T-5. Marcus Williams, Utah
T-5. Marcus Maye, Florida
Rise: Peppers (3), Melifonwu (5), Williams (NR), Maye (NR)
Fall: Hooker (1) , Budda Baker, Washington (4, added to nickel)
Special exceptions
1. Adoree’ Jackson, USC
2. Curtis Samuel, Ohio State
3. Sidney Jones, Washington
4. Jake Butt, Michigan
5. Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
Additions: Jones (previously No. 1 CB), Butt (previously No. 4 TE), Mixon (previously No. 5 RB)
Moved: Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado (3, moved to nickel), Desmond King, Iowa (4, moved to nickel)
Fall: Adam Shaheen, Ashland (5)



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Mayock on the environment needed for Chad Kelly

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2017 – 5:15 pm

Ole Miss QB prospect Chad Kelly has had a bit of a star-crossed college career full of highs and lows. A big-armed QB with some impressive wins on resume is counter balanced by a pair of ACL knee surgeries and some off the field character concerns. He was dis-invited to the NFL combine a couple of weeks ago due to the league’s recent policy allowing them to restrict players with convictions to violent crimes. Whether Kelly’s guilty plea to disorderly conduct applies has been up for debate. Either way NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock says teams better figure out who Kelly is as a person and have a plan in place to keep him on the right path if they draft him.

“I’ve said several times that if he didn’t have medical (two ACL surgeries) and if he didn’t have off the field character concerns he’d be in the conversation with the top five quarterbacks,” said Mayock of Kelly. “I think worst case talent-wise he’s a second-round guy. He might even sneak into the first round in some drafts, if we didn’t factor in the medical or the off the field concerns.

“Teams have to figure the kid out. I haven’t met him. All I know is there is a bunch of stuff about him off the field. You better figure the kid out and you better have an infrastructure in place with the coordinator and the quarterback coach and the quarterback room that’s going to take care of this kid and make sure he makes the right decisions.

“He had 22 starts. I think he was 14-8. He’s a 64 percent (completion) guy. What I liked, he beat Alabama at Alabama and that tape was good. He beat LSU. In 2015 his tape against LSU was really good. He can push the ball down the field. He’s got a big arm. He’s a tough guy. My one on the field criticism is like a lot of big arm quarterbacks he likes to wait and see the route come open rather than have the anticipation to put it out there early. But I think that’s something that big arm guys learn later.”

There were reports last week that Kelly may choose to travel to Indianapolis to meet with teams on his own accord to sell himself to NFL clubs.


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Mayock says he’s a Tyrod Taylor fan

Posted by Chris Brown on February 27, 2017 – 4:49 pm

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock went for about two hours answering questions on a national conference call. When the subject of Tyrod Taylor came up and his future with the Bills, Mayock expressed the opinion that Taylor could be a capable contributor to a winning team.

“First and foremost I’m a Tyrod Taylor fan,” said Mayock. “I understand that the question here is more about cap dollars than it is about whether he’s a capable quarterback. We started out this conversation talking about the dearth of quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s a capable quarterback. Is he a franchise guy? No, I don’t believe so. But he doesn’t turn the football over, but when you complement him with a strong running game and a good defense it’s a winning formula.

“I kind of like the kid. I know Sean McDermott probably has to look at this guy and say, ‘Hey he doesn’t turn the ball over. If we play good defense we have a chance of being pretty good pretty quickly.'”


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Mayock on where he sees the OT run in draft

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2016 – 11:03 am

As we’ve seen in past NFL drafts, there are often runs on a position at a certain point in the draft where all of a sudden there are three players at the same position taken in the span of five picks, leaving a team just outside that range out of luck. Offensive tackle is a position that could have up to five players come off the board in round one. So if a team really wants one there won’t be a whole lot of opportunity to wait.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock speculates that the run on offensive tackles will happen around the middle of round one.

“If Stanley and Conklin are off the board (before the middle of round one), as they probably will be, Taylor (Decker) is probably next. I think he’s going to go right in that range. Indianapolis is at 18, they could use a tackle. Germain Ifedi from A&M who is both a tackle and a guard is in the conversation in the first round. Then in the second round I think the conversation starts with Jason Spriggs who could even go late one, but I’ve got him in two. Le’Raven Clark from Texas Tech who has the wing span of a pteradactyl, that is seven offensive tackles, and that’s about average for the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, and I think they’re the right guys.”

Offensive tackle is a potential option for Buffalo at 19 if they don’t like what’s there for a front seven defensive player in terms of value, but based on Mayock’s analysis none of the top four offensive tackles will still be on the board at 19. If that proves to be the case, it’s very likely the Bills explore their options to trade back.

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Mayock: Have to be 3-down LB to go high

Posted by Chris Brown on April 25, 2016 – 2:22 pm

With the passing game growing with each passing year in the NFL the demand on defensive players has shifted in terms of priorities and that can negatively impact players at the second level in particular.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock believes there will be some linebacker prospects, who lacking the necessary coverage skills, will see their draft stock drop as a result.

“The NFL has been evolving the last four or five years more closely paralleling the development of college football,” Mayock said. “There’s been a blurring between the safety position and the outside linebacker. They’re almost becoming often the same kind of guy, fitting the same type of role.

“Then the inside linebacker, talk about an off the line, inside linebacker typically playing one or two downs. So the role has been diminished. Unless you’ve got a guy like Luke Kuechly. If you’ve got Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, now you’ve got a different conversation, but because of nickel and dime packages, the role of the inside linebacker has evolved. So in a lot of cases, unless the guy can play on third down, his value has moved down.”

One of the most debated ILB prospects is Alabama’s Reggie Ragland. There are some clubs that believe he can play all three downs and handle certain coverage responsibilities, while others see him as a two-down prospect.

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Mayock on OL & DL talent around pick 19

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2016 – 12:37 pm

The Bills are picking 19th overall in round one and there is expected to be quality defensive line and offensive line talent still on the board at that point, positions that figure to be of interest to Buffalo. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock broke down the individual talent he expects to see on the board in the late teens in round one come late April.


“On the offensive side, you have to figure (Ole Miss OT Laremy) Tunsil and (Notre Dame OT Ronnie) Stanley are certainly gone,” said Mayock. “If a (Michigan State OT Jack) Conklin or (Ohio State OT Taylor) Decker were there, I think you’d have to look really hard at either of those guys. And one or both could be there. I think they’re really logical.

“And then you have to compare that to what you see against the edge rush side. (Ohio State DE) Joey Bosa is probably gone. (Eastern Kentucky DE) Noah Spence is probably gone. Shaq Lawson from Clemson is an interesting guy. Leonard Floyd is a polarizing figure from Georgia. Some people think he’s a top-10 pick, some of them think he’s going to be Barkevious Mingo, meaning a great-looking, fast but underpowered player who ultimately won’t live up to what he should. So Leonard Floyd is a polarizing conversation. He should probably be sitting there. Kevin Dodd from Clemson, I’ve got him as a late first-round type of player. So I think there’s your conversation, is will one of those two tackles be available. If so, you might want to jump all over that, versus the uncertainties of Shaq Lawson, Leonard Floyd, and if Noah Spence was there, it would only be because of the off-the-field stuff.”

What’s interesting with Buffalo’s pick at 19 is right in front of them at 18 is Indianapolis, which has a more pressing need at offensive tackle with pass rush needs right behind. So a lot of what the Colts do at 18 could force the Bills to adjust their approach in a short amount of time being next on the clock. Combine coverage is presented by NAPA Auto Parts.

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Mayock on QB Mannion

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2015 – 11:53 am

As our Draft Profile series concludes with Oregon State QB Sean Mannion we offer NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock’s take on the quarterback who worked in a pro-style offense in college.

Sean Mannion I’ve got him as my sixth quarterback,” said Mayock. “He took a beating. Not much at the wide receiver position (at Oregon State), the offensive line wasn’t very good. He throws with some anticipation and timing. He’s really skinny, big, tall. He’s got to accelerate everything he does from his reads to his physical movement skills. But he reminds me a lot of Mike Glennon when he came out of NC State. Glennon, I believe, went in the third round. I’ve got Mannion going either in the third or fourth, and I think he’s a guy that could, with development and strength, turn into an interesting quarterback.”

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Mayock: Day 1 readiness an issue at OT

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2015 – 8:50 am

While the general consensus heading into the 2015 NFL draft is that it is a deep class of offensive tackles, there are no truly elite pass protectors in this year’s draft. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock broke down the OT class and explained why there’s a lot more of the ‘very good’ than the ‘great’ this year.

“As far as the offensive line class, let me put it to you this way; after Brandon Scherff, who was a tackle at Iowa and is going to get kicked inside and will probably go in the first 10 or 12 picks, after him, there’s an awful lot of question marks.

“Now, that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of talent, because there is. But I could take, for instance, Ereck Flowers (Miami), D.J. Humphries (Florida), Andrus Peat (Stanford) and T.J. Clemmings (Pitt). And all are gifted first round tackles but I can poke a hole in every one of those kids, either from a technique perspective or an off the field perspective or whatever.

“So what’s happened this year is that after Brandon Scherff and some teams like Cam Irving who could be a center, the kid from Florida State but as far as the tackle group is concerned, man, they’ve been pushed down a little bit in the first round, not because of talent, but because they’re not all ready to play day one.

“For instance, the reason I have La’el Collins as my No. 1 tackle is because out of that whole group he’s the only one where I bang the table and say: I think I know exactly what I’m getting. I’m getting a starting right tackle that can kick inside and play guard, but I’m getting a starter day one and he’s a body mover, I know what I’m getting. All those other guys have question marks, and I think they’re getting pushed down to the second half of the first round.”

That’s somewhat good news for the Bills, who could use a tackle in this year’s draft. With the top end talent this year getting pushed down to the latter half of the first round, and knowing the depth of the class, there should be a decent amount of capable prospects to choose from in rounds two and three should they choose to go in that direction.

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For QB Petty calling play in huddle is new

Posted by Chris Brown on March 31, 2015 – 9:00 am

There will be an awful lot of things that Baylor QB prospect Bryce Petty will need to learn on the fly as he’s drafted to an NFL club this spring. While most everyone knows that he never really operated under center in the Bears’ offense, most may not realize that in Art Briles’ offense he never even called a play in the huddle.

“It was a little different. We were a signal system at Baylor,” said Petty. “I love Baylor. I wouldn’t change it for the world. If I had to go back and do it all again, I’d do it the same exact way. With coach Briles, he’s an outstanding coach. I love him to death. The teams we had were great and really prepared me for what I’m doing now. It’s a learning curve a little bit going from what we were doing at Baylor to where we are now. But it’s all part of the process, so you’ve got to enjoy it. You’ve got to love it, really, and I do love it.”

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has said more than once that making this kind of projection on a college quarterback, going from a spread system to a pro-style is among the toughest for NFL scouts. He also doesn’t see Petty as a potential target for the Bills in round two, in light of the fact that they’re still trying to develop EJ Manuel into a bona fide starter. He doesn’t see why they’d be interested in bringing on another development project.

“The quarterback thing is hard,” Mayock said. “Talking about pick number 50, I believe for Buffalo in the second round. Petty or Brett Hundley, one of those two could be there, if not both of them they’re both projects. You’ve already got a project in Buffalo right now who probably has as much talent as those two kids. So I’m not a big believer in investing in a position just because you think you have a need.”


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Mayock’s mock has no QB until 11

Posted by Chris Brown on May 8, 2014 – 10:35 am

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock does not have a quarterback coming off the board in his mock draft until pick 11 with the Tennessee Titans, and it’s not Johnny Manziel. He also has an interesting pick for the Bills.

Mayock’s most interesting choices as they could pertain to Buffalo happen at three where he has Jacksonville taking Khalil Mack despite the fact that they loaded up on defense in free agency and desperately need help on offense. He has Cleveland taking an offensive tackle in Jake Matthews at four even though they spent big money to keep Joe Thomas, and then Sammy Watkins fifth to Oakland.

At nine he has Buffalo taking an offensive tackle.

Eric Ebron is possible, but I would take Martin. You can play him at tackle or guard, even center, and he’ll do it at a high level. He will help make E.J. Manuel a better quarterback.

The first quarterback he has coming off the board is Central Florida’s Blake Bortles at 11 to Tennessee. He doesn’t have Manziel coming off the board until pick 16 to Dallas.

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Mayock on round 2 & 3 OT options

Posted by Chris Brown on May 6, 2014 – 12:15 pm

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock doesn’t believe the offensive tackle class is as deep as some NFL GMs have indicated. That’s why when asked to provide some options for pass protectors in rounds two and three he only had a handful.

“It’s not as deep a tackle draft as some might have you believe,” said Mayock. “I think there are going to be a couple of separate runs. The first is in the first round. I think you’re going to see five tackles go. Then I have four guys before the ground kind of falls away and there’s a big drop. So Joel Bitonio, who a lot of people like inside. Morgan Moses, Jack Mewhort from Ohio State, who a lot of people see inside and Ja’Wuan James from Tennessee, who I think is a starting right tackle. Those are the guys on the second day, second and third round guys.

“Then there’s a significant drop off. So I do think there’s going to be a run on those four guys. Then it becomes Tiny Richardson from Tennessee, Michael Schofield from Michigan and Cameron Fleming from Stanford. They’re all right tackles. I think Hurst is a swing
tackle from North Carolina. They’re all a drop-off  ability-wise with the exception of Seantrel Henderson from Miami who has first-round talent, but has so many issues off the field. I  think there are going to be a couple tackle runs.”

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Mayock on round 2 & 3 WR options

Posted by Chris Brown on May 6, 2014 – 12:01 pm

While as many as seven wide receivers have been projected to come off the board in round one, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock believes there will still be a ton of talent to choose from at the position on day two of the draft. Here’s his assessment of round two and three receiver talent that should be available.

“In round two at wideout Davante Adams from Fresno State, a guy that’s really moving up a lot of board, Cody Latimer, a big guy that ran 4.4 coming off a foot injury from Indiana. A one-year wonder from Clemson Martavis Bryant. You want to talk about a guy with ability, almost 6’4″, ran in the 4.3s, jumps out of the gym, an explosive talent. He’s a one-year production guy, which I think scares people. But his physical skill set is so awe-inspiring, he’s probably going to go into (round) two.

“Allen Robinson in the third round from Penn State. If you’re looking for a speed guy, Paul Richardson from Colorado. He flies.”

I’m not in agreement with Mayock about Latimer. He’s going to be a first round pick somewhere in the 20’s. I’ve got him going ahead of Marqise Lee and others. My mock will be up Wednesday morning. Latimer’s game against Michigan State was impressive. He was boxing out one of the most physical corners in this draft in Darqueze Dennard and making catches like he wasn’t even there, and he’s a very good downfield blocker. Power and speed alone will push Latimer into round one.

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Mayock: Tampa might take Ebron

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2014 – 9:23 am

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock was asked specifically about what he thinks the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will do with the seventh overall pick. Mayock threw out a couple of names, but in his mind they’re taking a playmaker for their passing game.

“I think Tampa Bay is in a pretty good place to get a really good football player,” said Mayock. “The tight end, Ebron, I think his interest starts right there in Tampa. He’s going to go somewhere between seven and 13. So with Ebron if you have a playmaker to help that offense, I think it would be awesome. They’re in a good place to sit and get a playmaker.”

Other draft prognosticators have Tampa Bay taking Mike Evans in the seven hole, which also makes sense. Knowing the success that Josh McCown had in Chicago’s offense last season with two big wideouts outside in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, one has to think that Bucs GM Jason Licht is at least thinking about trying to duplicate that in Tampa for McCown with Vincent Jackson and another big target. Of course Ebron could fit that role as well.

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Mayock weighs in on OT Zack Martin

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2014 – 5:41 pm

The Bills personnel department touted Zack Martin’s versatility as one of his best attributes, but they see him as an offensive tackle first and foremost. After 52 starts at tackle for Notre Dame you can understand why. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock agrees with Buffalo’s assessment.

“I love the kid. Even though I have him fourth as a tackle, he’d be my number one center or my number one guard. I  believe that he is the only player in this draft that could start and play at a high level at all five offensive line positions,” said Mayock. “I think as we get closer to this draft, he will be the fourth offensive lineman off  the board.”

What was most interesting was the range in which he thought Martin would come off the board.

“I think he’s coming off the board somewhere between nine and 13. He’s too good. He’s too safe,” said Mayock. “There are too many offensive line needs out there. There are a bunch of teams that look at him and say, He could start at right tackle day one, maybe we move him inside to guard or center the next year. He’s awesome. He’s about as safe a player as there is in this draft. If you want him, you better get him early.”

Obviously 9-13 is a range that includes the Bills first round pick.

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Mayock on how many WRs could go in 1st

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2014 – 2:49 pm

By now everyone has heard that the 2014 draft offers one of the deepest classes of receiver talent in a long time. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock believes a good number of wideouts could come off the board in round one.

“I think there’s a chance that six wideouts will go in the first round and (Sammy) Watkins and (Mike) Evans will be the first two,” said Mayock. “I think the next two are going to be Odell Beckham from LSU and Brandin Cooks from Oregon State. Beckham is an explosive kid with return skills. He gets in and out of breaks as well as any receiver in this draft and has good size. Cooks is a smaller receiver, but might be the most explosive in the entire group and tough. Good route runner. Their value will start somewhere in that 13 to 20 range. After that Kelvin Benjamin and Marqise Lee come into play.”

There are a good number of reports out there now however, that Benjamin is unlikely to go in round one due to concerns about his one year of production and intangibles.

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Weighing Watkins vs. Evans

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2014 – 2:34 pm

Most NFL talent evaluators have Clemson’s Sammy Watkins as the top receiver on their draft board, but not far behind is Texas A&M’s Mike Evans. We asked NFL Network’s Mike Mayock to compare and contrast their respective games and how they were used may or may not help their transition to the NFL game.

“When I look at those wideouts it’s vanilla and chocolate. They make different flavors for different reasons,” said Mayock. “The Watkins kid is explosive. He’s a great route runner, great hands, tremendous run after catch. More than anything he’s a competitor. In addition to all the natural gifts he has there’s an edge about him when he plays and I love that.

“Mike Evans is more a product of what today’s NFL environment is. With the advent of the back shoulder throw has opened up the game for the big wideouts, the 6’5” wideouts. Why? Because they can basically play outside the numbers. They don’t have to run as many routes and they don’t have to get in and out of breaks like the smaller wideouts, so they’re running a bunch of outside the number routes that become converted back shoulder throws. It’s just a jump ball. Anytime you get a one-on-one with a defensive back with his back turned and you get a big superior athlete and the odds favor the wide receiver. So Mike Evans I think is what today’s NFL is all about. He’s an outside the numbers and red zone guy.

“That being said I happen to think Watkins is a better football player.”

ESPN Monday night football commentator Jon Gruden also feels Watkins and Evans are two receivers whose games do not have much in common.

“I think Evans is a completely different receiver than Watkins, at least on the tape I’ve seen,” Gruden said. “Evans plays on the right side of the formation.  He is in a no-huddle offense.  He plays on the right every play. They don’t switch sides. He doesn’t go in motion. He’s not in the slot. He’s a big X receiver that is a prototype split end, much like Tampa already has in Vincent Jackson, a guy that is a dynamic force when the ball is in the air. He’s a threat to run it after the catch. When he wants to, he can be a dominant blocker.”


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Mayock’s updated top 5 by position

Posted by Chris Brown on April 1, 2014 – 1:43 pm

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has updated his top five draft prospects by position for the 2014 NFL draft.

Among the interesting prospects moving up and down include Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, who slid from first to third at quarterback. He also moved Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller ahead of Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert at cornerback. Gilbert is considered by other prognosticators as the top cover corner, but he’s got a slight build and doesn’t offer a ton in run support.

Mayock also moved Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix up to his top safety.

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Mayock felt top 3 OTs held their own

Posted by Chris Brown on February 24, 2014 – 4:00 pm

They’re probably all back home by now as the agenda for the offensive line at the NFL Combine is complete, but the top three offensive tackles in this year’s draft all fared well as NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock sees it.

“When linemen have big days like that, I get excited and I love it but it doesn’t change my rankings really,” he said of Taylor Lewan, Greg Robinson and Jake Mattews. “It shows me he’s is athletic which I already thought he was. I think all three of those tackles are probably better than the tackles as a group that we had last year and they went one, [two] and four. So it’s a different draft class but in my opinion those three tackles are top-10 talents.”

Lewan and Robinson were first and second in the 40 among offensive linemen while Matthews was ninth. Robinson and Lewan were seventh and ninth on the bench press. Lewan and Matthews tied for third in vertical leap and Robinson was 12th. Lewan and Robinson was first and third and Matthews was 11th in broad jump. And Matthews and Lewan were second and fourth in the three cone drill.

Of the three Lewan had the best rankings overall, holding the best 40 time, top 10 on the bench, third in vertical leap and first in the broad jump.

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Mayock on good and not so good of 1st 2 days

Posted by Chris Brown on February 23, 2014 – 8:26 pm

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock had a quick review of the first two days of workouts at the NFL Combine and outlined who he liked and who may have disappointed during the workouts by offensive linemen, tight ends, quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.

“I thought those three offensive tackles were spectacular,” said Mayock. “(Greg) Robinson from Auburn, (Jake) Matthews and (Taylor) Lewan all had good days. (Xavier) Su’a-Filo from UCLA looked good and (David) Yankey from Stanford looked good.”

One position group that Mayock thought had a tough time this weekend were the tight ends.

“The tight ends were a little disappointing,” he said. “They were a little beat up where we had some injury stuff with them. The Notre Dame kid (Troy Nicklas) was only about 80 percent and couldn’t do a 40. (Texas Tech’s Jace) Amaro didn’t run as fast as I thought he would run. Colt Lyerla, the kid from Oregon, who I thought was going to be a little more explosive didn’t run as fast or catch as well. So the tight ends there are still a lot of question marks, but I still love the (Eric) Ebron kid.”

Mayock admitted he didn’t see all the quarterbacks throw due to his broadcasting responsibilities, but did like a few of the signal callers he did observe.

“I thought both (AJ) McCarron and (Blake) Bortles looked good. Now I didn’t see everybody, but I thought those two guys looked pretty good. I think (Virginia Tech’s) Logan Thomas will continue to act as a huge wild card. He’s got no footwork whatsoever, but he delivers the football beautifully.

“As far as the running backs go (Jerick) McKinnon is a real big wild card too. He could play corner or safety too and he had a big day. I thought the (Bishop) Sankey kid caught the ball well, which I wanted to see him do.

“At the wide receiver position I don’t think Marqise Lee ran as fast as I thought he would, but he’s still the kind of player I think he is. I was really impressed with the A&M kid Mike Evans. He ran well, caught the ball extremely well. (Oregon State’s Brandin) Cooks had a really good day. Ran fast and is a kid who made a statement that he’s a first round pick. And this is one of the best receiver drafts I’ve ever seen so that was significant.”

For more Combine coverage presented by NAPA Auto Parts, click here.

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