As the NFL Scouting Combing quickly approaches, Mike Mayock held his annual pre-Combine tele-press conference with over 200 journalists who come from all around the nation today. As Mayock is held in high esteem by many as being one of the very best media scouts (aka "draftniks") in the country, when he speaks on draft prospects people tend to listen carefully. These yearly press conferences Mayock does tend to be very long-winded; as today's press conference was reported to be over 2 hours long, but very inciteful on the tidbits he sheds about the Draft profiles he's created for the NFL hopefuls he covers. You can listen to the full press conference here.
Mayock doesn't have a Twitter account, but that didn't stop his name from being a trending topic in the U.S. today during his press conference. Pretty much every NFL journalist listening in was live-tweeting Mayock's insights on prospects.
Not unsurprisingly, the revered Draftnik thought that this is "the best & deepest draft class in 10 years". That's something many Draftniks & draft-loving fans have felt for months. In a shocker, Mayock feels that more prospects than previously anticipated in the national sports media could be instant starters & instant producers for The Lions and teams in their Draft position range. Here's some of today's Mayock gems on prospects that are very relevant to possibilities of who the Lions will be drafting come May 8th-10th:
- Fans hopeful that the Lions will select Darqueze Dennard 10th overall in the 1st round of the Draft will rejoice that he is Mayock's "favorite" CB this year. Kyle Meinke of MLive wrote up a story in regard to what Mike Mayock had to say of the MSU cornerback that can be found here.
However, Meinke got a big conditional detail incorrect in his article likely as he was try to kick out a story as quickly as he could. Mayock actually said:
Mayock: @MSU_Football's Darqueze Dennard a top-15 pick. My favorite CB in draft.
That's just out the gate, assuming that is based off of what he saw of Dennard's college production, Dennard running around a 4.5 second 40-yard dash, & a projection of how his skill set translates to the NFL. Assuming that's all true, Dennard would be a slight reach & not a maximization of the Lions' value at no. 10 overall. But, Mayock went further and Meinke fixes his article's error in this tweet:
Kyle Meinke @kmeinke 2h
Mayock says MSU's Darqueze Dennard could go as high as No. 10 to Lions, if he runs under 4.45 at combineCollapse
4:38 PM - 18 Feb 2014 · Details
Dennard fans get excited. But, make sure to remember that Dennard likely would only be drafted at no. 10 overall if he can run a 4.45 or lower! That's a big condition because it would then be considered that Dennard has good, NFL-ready speed that can have him mirroring & covering high-level NFL WRs early in his career.
- Mayock talks about his overall top 10 players here:
Ken Laird @Ken_Laird 5h
Mayock sees possibly 3 OT and 3 QBs going top 10 w/ Mack, Barr, Mosley, Watkins, Pryor, and Ebron top 10-ish fieldCollapse
2:22 PM - 18 Feb 2014 · Details
Now if you do the math there, you'll noticed Mayock has 12 players who could go in the top 10 pre-combine lol. Plus, you add in Dennard IF he runs a 4.45 and we're up to 13 different players who could go in the top 10. He thinks Bridgewater is the top QB, followed by Manziel and Bortles. Then he's excited about Matthews, G. Robinson, and Lewan at the OT spot. Don't forget about Jadeveon Clowney though since he is the media scout's top rated player in the Draft. That puts us at 14 players who could go number one overall now, according to Mayock haha.
- What'd Mike Mayock think of the media-consensus top tight end prospect this year?
CollegeFootball 24/7 @NFL_CFB 5h
Mayock: Eric Ebron is a top-10 pick to me.Collapse
Which marries/balances a need and value together for the Lions at the 10th overall spot. Could the team take him? Who knows, his game tape shows that he is a flat-out baller.
- In an increasingly popular thought, Mayock thinks the top two safety prospects this year could go at 10th overall to the Lions. Josh Katzenstein tweeted his words here:
Josh Katzenstein @jkatzenstein 5h
Mayock said he wouldn't see a problem with Lions taking safeties Calvin Pryor (Louisville) or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama) going at 10.Collapse
2:38 PM - 18 Feb 2014 · Details
Both players are pretty darn good & look like they will be starters in the NFL for some time. Pryor is Mayock's top rated safety and Clinton-Dix is no. 2. Many draftniks previously had both players being projected to go in the no. 15-25 overall range previously, but I think a lot more mock drafts after today might start showing them going to the Lions in the 1st round. It's certainly a need, but once has to wonder if it balances out at value too. Adding Clinton-Dix into the mix of the top 10 drafted players in 2014, we're now at 15 guys who are possibilities for that range.
- What about other top WR prospects? Got some hits on that here:
Mayock: Mike Evans and Marqise Lee should be picked in 10-20 range.
2:38 PM - 18 Feb 2014
Mike Mayock on Mike Evans: "One thing he has to learn is to be a better route runner."
Ken LairdVerified account@Ken_Laird
Mayock on Allen Robinson: "solid 2nd round, good strength and size... I want to see more burst and ability to separate"
3:40 PM - 18 Feb 2014
So big Mike Evans & Marqise Lee are in the mix for the Lions in the 1st round as well, in his eyes. Obviously, Mayock thinks Evans is talented but he noted his biggest flaw in his note on Evans' route running. These two wide receivers add in to factor 17 different players Mayock thinks could go in the top-10 thus far. Basically, everyone lol.
Allen Robinson is currently the 4th ranked WR in my opinion currently, but Mayock doesn't see it that way. He notes his size but is suggesting Robinson doesn't have the speed & separation an NFL team would want out of a 1st round WR. He must not have put on Robinson's OSU game tape. And if i'm not mistaken (feel free to correct me if i'm wrong in the comments down below), Allen Robinson was number one in the nation in 40yd+ receptions (10) in 2013. Seems strange, but I feel Robinson will shock some at the combine with his speed.
- Now other quick hits:
- Mike Mayock started off by saying, "From my perspective, this is the deepest and best draft class I've seen in probably ten years. That's been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts I've talked to throughout the league. I had one GM tell me the other day that having a top-20 pick this year is very similar to having a top-10 pick last year."
- "I think there are certain positions that are stacked this year and you can get a quality player (WR, OT, CB) through three or four rounds," said Mayock.
- Mayock thinks Khalil Mack is a top-5 player overall.
- He said doesn't often get excited about WRs going in the top-10 of the Draft, but Watkins is a special talent.
- And he also thinks Justin Gilbert is an instant impact starter in the NFL.
- And again, potentially 17 different players he feels that he could project into the top-10 overall. The talent is that good. Of course 7 guys will get left out, but the gap in talent is that small.
Basically the players relevant to the Lions potential draft selection, in order of what I think Mayock feels (I'm guessing) is:
- Khalil Mack (if he dropped)
- Sammy Watkins (if he dropped)
- Eric Ebron
- Calvin Pryor
- Marqise Lee
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
- Darqueze Dennard
- Mike Evans
I'd probably have some changes in the order of rankings to that list of 8 players the Lions could draft, according to Mayock, but I think it's solid. Let me know your thoughts on all of Mayock's short evaluations & projections. Plus, let me know what you think of his (likely) rankings of the potential 1st-round Detroit Lions draft pick.
UPDATE Feb. 21st, 2014:
- Although multiple journalists reported on Feb. 18th that Mayock said that Evans & Lee could go "10-20 range" overall, Justin Rogers of MLive is reporting that Mayock feels that Evans & Lee should go "11-20" overall. You can read the story here. I gotta say there isn't a huge different between 10th & 11th though lol.
- Here's the NFL.com re-cap of Mayock playing matchmaker for 19 other NFL teams in the first round.It's interesting.