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2015 NFL Draft: Mike Mayock Speaks On QBs, WRs, And Defensive Players

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock participated in a Scouting Combine conference call. During the call, Mayock responded to a battery of questions about various draft prospects, specific teams (but not the Texans, dangit), previous draft standouts, and what certain front offices might do.

He has spoken. Drop the mic?
He has spoken. Drop the mic?
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The annual Q&A session began with Mike Mayock addressing Brett Hundley and the negative perceptions that surround his game, with:

I don't think he can change what the negatives are about him by throwing 20 passes in shorts.

Mayock went on to say that Hundley should throw because:

The things that are hurting him in the evaluation process are anticipation, pocket awareness, things like that that you can't really show at the combine.

Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, of course, were also covered by Mayock.

Obviously with Jameis Winston, my concern number one is on the field. That is I think he throws too many interceptions. However, I can see everything I want on the field, on tape, beyond that. He's a pocket aware guy. He throws with anticipation and timing, which is unusual in today's college football world.

He's tough. He gets smacked in the face. He delivers the football.

I think the bigger concern is whether or not this guy can be the face of your franchise. Let's face it. He was the face of the Florida State franchise and that didn't stop him from making a bunch of bad decisions off the field.

With the other quarterback, Marcus Mariota, you don't have any worries off the field, and all the individual components are there. He's athletic. He's got a big arm. He's 6'4", 215 pounds. He's got great feet. He's going to run 4:5, 4:55. All the individual components are available. However, can he put them together in a pro style offense where he has to throw with anticipation, has to go through progressions?

Turning his attention to the stacked WR class, Mayock stated:

Everything is a pass-first league now... with the emphasis on the five-yard rule, the smaller wideouts are getting off press coverage, they know after five yards they can run routes with impunity. Finally, the big-bodied wideouts, they don't really have to be route runners. They're 6'5", 230. With the advent of the back shoulder throw, they can be productive day one.

I think the league is set up to be productive more so than ever for rookie wide receivers and tight ends. This particular class, Kevin White, Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker are consensus top-20 picks.

However, after that, there's a bunch of question marks. Dorial Green-Beckham is as gifted as anybody in this class, but you better do your homework off the field. Is he a tight end or a wide receiver? I'll give you the name of a guy who I think has first-round talent, the Perryman kid from Central Florida. Smith from Ohio State, Coates from Auburn. All of them are going to run 4.35 or better. ... I do believe it's going to be highly productive because, A, there's a bunch of talent, and B, the rules and the way we play in the NFL today lend itself.

When asked about a battery of potential LBs, Mayock went through them one at a time.

Benardrick McKinney from Mississippi State is a big downhill player. As a matter of fact, I call him a poor man's Lavonte David is Paul Dawson from TCU. Probably more fitted to the weak side, but I think he could play in the middle. Denzel Perryman from Miami and Eric Kendricks from UCLA are phenomenal, active, quick, fast inside linebackers.

Taiwan Jones is an inside thumper, 34 Mike linebacker or 43 Mike linebacker. A little better athletically than people think.

Mumphery is a guy that's played a couple different positions from high school into college. Not quite as productive as the other guy. Kind of a late draftable or priority free agent.

Walton the defensive tackle played well at the East/West game. Big kid. Thought he showed some movement skills. He's one of those mid to late draftable guys.

Paul Dawson, Benardrick McKinney, and Denzel Perryman, those guys will probably be second-round picks. Maybe one of them could sneak into the first round.

Mayock went on to list the Spartans' Trae Waynes and Marcus Peters from Washington as the top corners on the board, should the Texans not be able to work something out with Kareem Jackson.

Also getting some love from Mayock were several Longhorns.

Malcom Brown to me is a first-round guy all day long. Love his size. He's 6'2", 320. He's stout versus the run. He can push the edge, push the pocket. I think he'll go somewhere in the 20s, between 20 and 32. Started his final 27 games, I believe. Married with two kids. It's just everything kind of fits. He's a low-risk investment and a really good football player.

Diggs I believe is kind of more mid to late draft pick. Might fit as a nickel initially. He's going to have to make a living on special teams.

The third one was the linebacker or defensive end? The Hicks kid? I'll assume it was Hicks.

I liked him. I like what I've seen so far. I like his size. He tackles, which is a little bit of a lost art these days. I think the University of Texas is going to have a first rounder and a couple of late rounders.

In response to a question about the Eagles possibly drafting a LB at 20, Mayock responded:

I've got Shaq Thompson, who most people have as a linebacker, I have him as a safety. I have him as my number two safety behind Landon Collins from Alabama, either one of which could be available at 20. However, I'd rather see them get a corner, if a top corner is available. I think Jalen Collins, the underclassman from LSU, is really intriguing. He's 6'2". He fits what Philly does to a T. I think Billy Davis would love him. He's a press corner, not afraid to play in your face, will tackle, understands how to play the game, has some physicality about him. I think he's going to be a first-round pick.

If Trae Waynes is already gone, you have to do your homework on Marcus Peters, the Washington kid, off the field. But I think Jalen Collins really fits what they do.

I already talked about the two safeties, Shaq Thompson and Landon Collins, either of whom would be an improvement.

There's a middle round safety from Chestnut Hill Academy named Ibrahim Campbell who is a pretty good football player. He's a guy I like in the middle rounds at safety.

As far as inside linebacker is concerned, I mentioned a couple guys, I think they'd be better off getting an inside linebacker in the second or third round. I think Kendricks from UCLA, brother of Michael. Denzel Perryman from Miami. Stephone Anthony is a guy they could get in the third or fourth round from Clemson.

I think P.J. Williams could still be a first-round corner at the end of theday because of his length. Some teams are looking at him inside, but I think most of the teams will continue to look at him outside in the NFL's continuing quest to get longer.

The (Ronald) Darby kid is interesting. He's quick. Played a lot of games there. I think he's more of kind of a third, fourth round corner. I do like him in certain areas. Some teams are looking at him inside, also as a nickel.

You mentioned Mario Edwards. From my perspective, he's an intriguing prospect because he flashes talent but not consistency. If he was a more consistent player, I think we'd be talking about him a little bit higher in the draft. I like his height, weight, speed, but I think he's going to be more a third-round pick.

The other defensive tackle (from Florida State) is probably going to be a first-round pick.

Finally, when it comes to what we--the fans--should be focusing on at the NFL Combine, Mayock went through his Combine priorities.

It's really interesting. Because the drills are the same every year, obviously since Mike Mamula came out of Boston College years ago and was really the first guy that trained for it and kind of went from a who's-he to a top-10 pick for the Philadelphia Eagles, everybody trains for these drills. The scouts like that because that means it's an equal footing. Everybody has got an opportunity to train for it, and you're in the best shape of your life, so let's benchmark everybody on the field on the same day at the same time.

So conceptually it makes sense, but sometimes it gets kind of skewed, and obviously the 40 is a big deal. That seems to be the marquee event. I don't really care as much about a 40-yard dash for an offensive lineman. I look at their 10-yard dashes, although it's hard to say that Dontari Poe at 346 pounds running 4.98 is not impressive.

I don't think the 40 is that important for offensive linemen and defensive linemen. I think it is very important for skill position people.

I think the change-of-direction stuff, the short shuttle and the three-cone is important for the linebackers, the defensive backs, the running backs. You get to see quickness, change of direction. You see whether a guy is quicker than he is fast in a straight line, and those are important things.

The broad jump and the vertical jump are really lower body explosion, and it's another cross-check. If a guy is a 4.5 40 guy, he probably should be jumping 35 inches in the vert. If he only jumps 30, there's a question why. It all kind of balances out. There's checks and balances everywhere, but I'd throw out some of the stuff, and it's really position oriented, and I think the important thing is after those drills are over and the coaches come out and put them through football drills, I think we really get an opportunity to see one kid after another in their movement skills, and it kind of exposes flaws.

If you're a defensive back and you can't open your hips, things like the coaches can see immediately, and you've got 30 defensive backs in a row going in one drill, you can see which ones are natural and which ones aren't, and then you've got to go back -- if you put too much on that, obviously, it can't overwhelm the grade you give them on tape, but it's just another cross-check. That was way too long and way too complicated, and I apologize.

There you have it, folks, a 28-page transcript condensed into 1,750 words. Obviously much was left out; if there are any specific players you want to know about whether he mentioned, put something in the comments, and I'll do a search for it ASAP.