2018 NFL Scouting Combine
On Monday, February 26, 2018, NFL Network analyst, Mike Mayock, held a conference call to discuss the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine. The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine will begin this week, with coverage starting Friday, March 2nd at 9:00 AM ET. The combine will continue through Monday, March 5th, and NFL Network will provide live coverage of the entire combine.
During the combine, Mayock will be joined by Rick Eisen, as well as NFL Network analysts Charles Davis, Daniel Jeremaiah and others. Greg Olsen, tight end for the Carolina Panthers, will also join the group on Saturday, March 3rd, to assist in the coverage of quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends. Also, to complete scouting combine coverage, NFL Network also provides live coverage of press conferences as well, on Wednesday, February 28 and Thursday, March 1 at 1:00 ET.
The press conference began with Mike Mayock’s scouting combine opening remarks, discussing last year’s draft. He noted that in the first three rounds, 63 out of 107 players drafted were on the defensive side of the ball. This was the most in draft history “by far,” he said. On the opposite side, it was the worst year for offensive linemen.
There were only 33 total offensive linemen drafted, and none of those 33 were in the top 15. He also then went on to describe some of the productive running backs that came out of last year’s draft, as well as touch on the fact that wide receiver production in recent drafts has been low.
The press conference continued as several folks got an opportunity to ask questions regarding specific teams needs in this years draft, as well as Mayock’s thoughts on specific players.
What the Combine Means For The Birds
For the Eagles, as mentioned by Mayock, they are in an interesting place this year. They are not typically used to picking #32 or going into the draft as Super Bowl champions for that matter. Typically, after what turns out to be another disappointing football season for the Birds, there are glaring and gaping holes that need to be addressed in the off season.
However, this year is different. There are not obvious and clear needs that must be addressed. With the recently refused offer and impending possibility of Brent Celek’s retirement, a tight end would be high on the list of needs. One of the main factors contributing to the Eagles success was the depth on defense, and always having fresh players. Adding that depth on the offensive side of the ball would be key in trying to get to another Super Bowl.
The analysis by Mike Mayock gives key insight into some of the clutch players at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.
Conference Call Transcript:
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us on today’s conference call with NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock to preview the upcoming 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. Before I turn it over to Mike for opening remarks and questions, a few quick and NFL Network programming notes for the combine. NFL Network provides exclusive live coverage of the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine on-field drills Friday, March 2nd, through Monday, March 5th, starting each day at 9 a.m. Eastern. Mike is joined by Rick Eisen in the booth, providing live coverage of each day, along with NFL Network analyst Charles Davis, Daniel Jeremiah, and more. For the third year in a row, Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen joins NFL Network’s combine coverage of the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends on Saturday, March 3rd. NFL Now Live airs Friday, March 2nd, through Monday March, 5th, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on NFL.COM, the NFL app, and yahoo.com, with Bucky Brooks, Lance Zierlein, Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt “Money” Smith, Colleen Wolfe, and James Palmer providing live coverage of the combine. Finally, NFL Network provides live coverage of combine press conferences on Wednesday, February 28th, and Thursday, March 1st, starting each day at 1 p.m. Now I’ll turn it over to Mike for any opening remarks before we take any questions.
MIKE MAYOCK: Just basically 30 seconds to a minute overview, and I’d like to start on last year’s draft first. 63 of 107 players that went in the first three rounds were on defense. That was by far the most ever. The defensive draft in ’07. It was also the worst offensive line year ever as far as offensive line guys drafted. There were 33 total. None in the top 15, and only two in the first round. Typically, we get 44 offensive linemen drafted in a typical draft. So it’s kind of amazing to look at that and answer the question why. Beyond that, the running back impact last year was really good at the top end. The first six running backs taken were outstanding. The wide receiver production has been down since the historic 2014 draft. Outside of that, I’m going to open it up, other than saying I don’t do my team needs analysis until after free agency, so if you want to talk about Cleveland or Pittsburgh or first round, kind of tell me what positions you’re interested in. Okay. Thanks very much.
Q. Quarterbacks would be the position that I’m curious about for the Patriots. We all know the background with them trading Garrapolo, Brissett. We know the assets they have in the draft, the late one, two, twos, the late three and four. From your studying and what you think the Patriots might value, any of these young quarterbacks jumping off the page to you in terms of what might fit for them?
MIKE MAYOCK: Do you think they’re going to go for one at 31?
Q. I’d be surprised, Mike, but you never know with him, right?
MIKE MAYOCK: You don’t. You know, historically what we’ve shown you, and you can go back to before Garrapolo and Brissett, he took a third round pick on Ryan Mallett, so it’s been second and third round picks with the anticipation of Tom Brady having to retire some day, and it’s getting more and more urgent, obviously. So if you kind of take a look out there, the one wayoutside-the-box conversation is Lamar Jackson, who I think is the most electrifying player in this draft, and I think somebody’s going to take him and commit their offensive philosophy to him. I would tell you that the most nervous 31 people in the league would be the defensive coordinators that would have to play against him. Now, it’s a different kind of commitment and a different kind of philosophy, and I’m not suggesting the Patriots are going to do that. I just want to get that out there in general for anybody looking at quarterbacks. As far as the Patriots are concerned, I think there are some interesting second and third round potential quarterbacks this year. I think Mason Rudolph from Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 1 of 18 Oklahoma State is a really logical player. Prototypical, dropback type of guy. I don’t think he has great escapability, but I think he can do what the Patriots offense asks him to do. Along with him, I would say Luke Falk and Mike White, I think, are very interesting players. Then a notch below that, I take Kyle Lauletta and Logan Woodside. Now, if you look at the five potential first rounders — Mason, Rudolph, Falk, White, Lauletta and Woodside — that’s 10 quarterbacks. In a typical draft only 11 to 12 quarterbacks get drafted overall. So I think there’s a little bit better quality at the top end through three or four rounds than we’re used to seeing in the quarterback draft.
Q. Overall, over the years, what have you found are some of the biggest challenges that evaluators face in assessing receivers coming into the draft? And specific to this class, where do you see the greatest promise in Ridley?
MIKE MAYOCK: It’s a great question because I think the wide receiver position is the 2014 class. You go back to that class and Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Cooks, and Kelvin Benjamin were the five first-round guys, all of whom played at a high-level quickly. Since that draft class, there’s been 13 first round wide receivers, and I think only one Pro Bowl, and that was Amari Cooper. The rest of them have struggled to have any kind of production. So I think they’re really three things. One is the lack of quality press coverage in college football. It’s hard to watch wideout. It’s challenged realistically at the line of scrimmage on tape. Number two, it’s a whole different conversation about the complexities of NFL defenses versus what a lot of these kids are saying in college football. And number three, I’m getting to the point where I’m kind of going, you know, there were three first-round wide receivers a year ago — Corey Davis, Mike Williams, John Ross. All three of them had a hint of durability issues. All three of them struggled to get on the field last year because of injury. But production was way down. So I’m kind of going on top of everything else, we need to be more aware of any kind of history of injury with the wide receiver class. Also, what does it take to be successful? I think what you’re starting to see are guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Devin Funchess, some of those 6’3″, 6’4″, 220-pound wide receivers that are physical and tough with great ball skills, they seem to be the kind of guys that can come in, and I would throw Cooper Kupp in there, and compete immediately. Now, wide receiver this year, you mentioned Calvin Ridley. I think he and Christian Kirk are the two best route runners in this class. Neither of them has great size, but they’re both fast and quick. They run great routes. I think Ridley’s challenge is going to be the complexities of defensive schemes in the NFL.
Q. Things are obviously different for John Robinson picking 25 instead of in the Top 10. What kind of player can you get at 25? I guess another way of asking is what is the depth like in the draft if you’re picking 25th and looking for a player that can fit you?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, who do you think you’d be looking for? What kind of position?
Q. Anywhere from edge rush, interior offensive line, running back.
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, no, I agree with you. I think interior O-line and D-line. The way I look at them is I think inside out right now are their priorities. If you’re looking inside out as an interior offensive lineman, I think there are a lot of really good — I think Quenton Nelson will be gone, then after that, it will be interesting to see how the first round plays out. In the first round, Isaiah Wynn, James Daniels, either of them are probably on the board. But Will Hernandez and Billy Price are really good football players also. I think you can be looking in the first or second round at any of those four guys as far as interior offensive linemen are concerned. Even a Braden Smith from Auburn in the second or third round. In the defensive line, the interior defensive line, it is stacked early. I think the guys that can rush the quarterback are going to be gone quickly. Vita Vea, Maurice Hurst, Da’Ron Payne. I think of guys that — Payne and Taven Bryan may or may not be on the board at that point. Taven Bryan has been saying he can play the five-technique, which is what the basis is in Tennessee. He can also kick down as a sub-rusher. I think he’s interesting. I think in the second or third round, ascending talent is Andrew Brown from Virginia.
Q. I’m particularly interested in Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. Best I can tell, the only time that the UCLA and USC quarterback were selected in the same draft was back with Rodney Peete going in the sixth round after Troy Aikman went first. So this figures to be an historic draft in that regard. I wonder what your initial assessment is of these two guys. Could they both conceivably be Top 5 Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 2 of 18 picks? Did Darnold make a mistake in coming out after sort of a sub-standard year for him?
MIKE MAYOCK: Tough questions, especially when you look at what we do with the quarterback talent every year. We push it up crazy high. Last year I was really surprised at how quickly quarterbacks came off the board, and I probably shouldn’t be, given the history of that position. So I look at Darnold, and right now I have him as my number one quarterback. And the reason I do is I think he’s got plus size, plus arm strength, outstanding athlete, and I really like the way he extends plays inside and outside of the pocket. If he scrambles or moves, it’s with the intent of getting the ball down the field. His eyes are always up. Now, the flip side to Darnold are the turnovers, and not just interceptions, but fumbles. He’s got a history of fumbling going back to high school. But I think fumbling can be controlled in the pocket. That’s one of the few things you can learn in the pocket as an NFL quarterback is how to keep both hands on the football and control some of the fumbling. He is a gunslinger, and he will put the ball up for grabs at times. But he can play in all 32 cities. He can play indoors, he can play outdoors. As far as Rosen is concerned, he’s the best pure thrower, best pure passer I’ve seen in several years. I mean, he’s on balance on every throw. He’s accurate, short, intermediate and deep. The problem I have with him is there is a durability issue. The shoulder issue in ’16, two concussions in ’17, and when you combine that with an inability to escape from the pocket, I’m concerned. I’m concerned whether or not he can play enough games to make a significant dent in the NFL. So I love his talent, but I’m very worried about his ability to survive. Having said all that, I think Darnold’s going to go in the first few picks. It’s way too early to even say that to him. I haven’t even met Sam Darnold yet. So I don’t really bang the table with quarterbacks until I’ve met the kid and get a feel for him, like a Carson Wentz. But that’s kind of my overview off watching five or six games of tape of each of them.
Q. Could you give us just outside of the first round fast coverage linebackers you like?
MIKE MAYOCK: Coverage linebackers that won’t go in the first round?
MIKE MAYOCK: Sure. I think we’re going to get three or four in the first round, which would be Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith, perhaps Leighton Vander Esch, who I’m intrigued by, and perhaps Rashaan Evans. After that, I think Uchenna Nwosu from USC is an intriguing guy. He was primarily an edge rusher, is probably going to have to do what Haason Reddick did a year ago out of Temple, which is stand up, play off the-ball linebacker and perhaps be used in the subpackages as kind of a joker rusher. Nwosu is really interesting. Jerome Baker from Ohio State is probably going to go to the combine and run 4.5 at 225 pounds. Now, he’s a physical specimen. He can run. Some of his tape is inconsistent. I didn’t like the Iowa tape at all, but I think there were some mitigating circumstances. He can fly. Darius Leonard, South Carolina State. Another sideline-to-sideline player, good in the pass game. This Fred Warner from BYU, same thing. He can run. I think there is a logical, off-the-ball linebackers for the first two, three, four rounds.
Q. You alluded to the receivers a bit earlier, but I was hoping you could explain in a bit more detail the strengths and weaknesses of the top three receivers — Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, and Courtland Sutton.
MIKE MAYOCK: Sure. Ridley and Kirk are somewhat similar. Somewhat similar in size. You’re probably — I like them both in the slot, although I think Ridley might be a little bit faster, but I’m anxious to see them both at the combine speed-wise. I think Ridley can play outside, but he will become predominantly a slot receiver in the NFL, same with Kirk. They both run tremendous routes. They both have really good hands, and they’re very tough catching the football with good run after catch. Christian Kirk adds some value in the returning game. Courtland Sutton is a completely different animal. 6’4″, 215, 220, high-level production, a lot of it is outside the numbers. Keep in mind there are a lot of ways to separate in today’s NFL. We used to talk about quickness and speed and route running. There is another way to separate now, and that is with size. Back shoulder fades, the outside-the-number throws. He’s mostly a fade, fade stop, pitch and slant player right now. I’m anxious to see how fast he is. Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 3 of 18 Can he be a Mike Evans-type player? Mike Evans ran 4.53 at the combine at 230 pounds. Or is he more of a 4.58 type of guy? I think Courtland Sutton is really going to be an intriguing guy to watch at the combine.
Q. For the Ravens, they’re looking for weapons, kind of like the Bears, looking at wide receivers and tight ends. Who are some of the guys that you feel like beyond some of the first round guys that you were just talking about that could be a good fit for the Ravens and you expect to see off the board in round two or three?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, it probably needs to be an offensive draft for the Ravens this year. I’m with you. I kind of just say who can make a difference? It doesn’t matter what you call it. It doesn’t matter if you call it a wideout, tight end or H-back, whatever. Who can make a difference? You start looking in the second and third rounds. Right now, the wide receiver position is really cloudy. I mean, I talked with my buddy Daniel Jeremiah about this. I’ve talked with a bunch of guys around the league, and there are different flavors of wide receiver. After Ridley and Kirk, this draft could go anywhere at the wide receiver position. So you quickly threw in several names. I mean, James Washington from Oklahoma State is a vertical guy. He’s a late one, to late two. Dante Pettis from Washington, great return specialist, slot receiver. Second or third round guy. DJ Moore from Maryland has some juice. Like him. Probably a slot receiver. Miller from Memphis, fast and quick. Really good hands. D.J. Chark, LSU, has been ascending since the Senior Bowl. Deon Cain, Clemson, reminds me of Kenny Stills. Might be undervalued. Will probably run in the 4.4 range. J’Mon Moore, Mizzou, big kid. Too many drops, but a height, width, speed guy. You start throwing in Cedrick Wilson and Equanimeous St. Brown and Jordan Lasley, in all honesty, I might have a guy that’s a second rounder and another evaluator might have him as a fourth rounder. I think the second through fourth rounds at the wide receiver position, people are going to be all over, depending on what they’re looking for. At tight end, I don’t know if any of them are going in the first round. I have Hayden Hurst No. 1 because I think he blocks a little bit also, but Dallas Goedert, Mike Gesicki, Mark Andrews, they’re all match-up tight ends. Think of Zach Ertz in Philadelphia as a potential example. Ian Thomas from Indiana. They’re the logical tight end, wide receiver group in the second, third, fourth round.
Q. If you’re the Colts at No. 3, is Bradley Chubb kind of a plug and play no-brainer at that spot? Or is Saquon Barkley the transformational back that might merit selection at that spot? Or is there somebody else I’m not thinking of?
MIKE MAYOCK: Well, I think there are at least four difference makers at the top end that are also clean off the field that would all fit Indianapolis. If you discount the idea of trading down, which I think they have to be aware of, especially given the quarterback rush this year. A, you have to be aware of trading down. Then, B, after that, Chubb is definitely worth it. Saquon Barkley is a transformational back. I would put him in the same category as Fournette, Gurley, and Zeke Elliott, all of whom have been Top 10 picks and made their teams better immediately. I would throw Quenton Nelson, the guard from Notre Dame, in there, and Minkah Fitzpatrick, the safety/corner from Alabama, and for some teams Vita Vea for defensive tackle. So, to me, they’re kind of like the five guys where you go, wow, you can plug and play. But I’d be aware of Indianapolis and the potential trade now.
Q. I was curious, getting back to the quarterbacks. How many do you see potentially right now as possible first rounders? I wanted to ask you about the kid from Richmond, Kyle Lauletta. Where do you see him going, and what are your thoughts on him as a potential starter in the NFL?
MIKE MAYOCK: Lauletta’s a Philly kid, isn’t he? Is he Westchester?
Q. Downingtown East.
MIKE MAYOCK: Mike Matta I think was his high school coach then. He’s an interesting guy. The Senior Bowl has propelled a lot of quarterbacks in the last 15 years. Not necessarily just first round guys, but other guys. I think he opened some eyes at the Senior Bowl. He’s a very solid, does everything well, does not have any one elite trait, but does everything pretty well. Case Keenum reminds me of that a little bit, those kind of traits when he came out. So I think he went from an afterthought to somebody that could legitimately be a third round quarterback in the NFL. As far as the quarterbacks that will go in the first round, I think you’re looking at Darnold, Allen, Rosen, Baker Mayfield, and the wildcard in this whole thing for me is Lamar Jackson, and I think Mason Rudolph from Oklahoma State is a — I don’t think he’s going there, Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 4 of 18 but I have him in the second round. But the way things are going in today’s NFL, who knows.
Q. With the Browns at No. 1, and specifically looking at quarterback, I know you talked about Darnold and Rosen a little bit earlier, but how close do you think it is? I’ve seen your positional rankings, and you have Darnold 1, but how close do you think it is in terms of the quarterbacks that could possibly be taken there? And who do you think the contenders are? Is it just Darnold and Rosen? Do you think Allen’s in the mix, Mayfield at all?
MIKE MAYOCK: I’ve got Allen at No. 2, so, obviously, I think he’s in the mix more so than Josh Rosen. I think you have to look at it from John Dorsey’s point of view also and look at what he did a year ago in Kansas City when he traded up to No. 10 for the biggest arm quarterback in that draft in Patrick Mahomes. The biggest arm quarterback I’ve seen since JaMarcus Russell is Josh Allen. I think when you’re the GM of Cleveland, you’ve got to be thinking about the weather, you’re playing outside, you need a big arm. His new offensive coordinator came over from Pittsburgh, and he’s used to Ben Roethlisberger. So, to me, Josh Allen has to be in that conversation at 1 or 4, along with Darnold, perhaps Rosen and Mason. But this is my gut. I think Darnold and Allen are the two guys they would consider the most highly.
Q. Ohio State has 11 players going to the combine, but Denzel Ward is considered a first round lock. Which of the Ohio State and others have really caught your eye? And mostly curious about J.T. Barrett and your thoughts on him.
MIKE MAYOCK: I didn’t get any of that. It was all muddled. And I know you’re asking me about Ohio State. Can you clear that up for me?
Q. Yeah, Ohio State has 11 players going to the combine, but Denzel Ward is considered the only first round lock, though Price could go there too. What is your view of the Ohio State group? Are there some who caught your eye, and particularly curious on your thoughts on J.T. Barrett.
MIKE MAYOCK: Sure. I think they’re tied with Alabama for 33 players to the combine in the last three years. Kind of crazy. Denzel Ward to me is a top-ten pick in this draft. Billy Price, the center/guard, is a late 1 to mid 2, a solid plug and play guy. The defensive end, Hubbard, is not flashy, but he’s going to come in and start immediately for somebody. Probably second round, worst case, third round. I already mentioned Baker, the linebacker, who I think is going to light up this combine. He’s got some good days and not so good days, but I think his physical specifications match up with today’s NFL. The left tackle, Jamarco Jones, probably a third or fourth round type of guy. Very solid player. The presafety I think is more of a third day guy. Is there anybody specifically you want me to –
Q. Yeah, J.T. for one?
MIKE MAYOCK: I’m sorry, J.T. Anybody else?
Q. Yeah, in terms of Denzel Ward, is he just a lock to be a top 10, top 15 worst-case scenario?
MIKE MAYOCK: I think he is. The only question about him is how light and lean he is. He tackles. I’m not questioning his physicality, just potential durability over time. But I think he’s going to be a Top 10 pick more than a top 15 pick. But a lot of that depends on how many quarterbacks go early. J.T. Barrett. J.T. Barrett is a hard one for me because I love the kid. I got to meet him a little bit at the EastWest game. You can see the leadership attributes. Everything you want in the quarterback he has, except for the high-level talent. So from my perspective, he’s probably going to be a later third day guy, and somebody’s going to buy into him because they love the kid and what he brings to the table in the meeting room and try to give him a chance to develop over time. He’s an ideal back-up or third quarterback, and I think he’ll play in the league for a lot of years.
Q. Regarding the Jets, just want to throw a couple scenarios out there for you. If they do get Kirk Cousins, I presume they’ll potentially target a Dback at 6 if they stay there. Can you give me some D-backs you think could fit there? Is it Ward? Is he too small? If they don’t get Cousins, who do you think is the best quarterback fit for them based on the guys likely to be available at 6?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, it’s a crapshoot as to who is going to be there at quarterback. Obviously you’ve got in front of you quarterback needs from the Browns at 1- 4, the Giants at 2, and Denver at 5. So it’s a little bit of a crapshoot, even a couple months in advance. But from my perspective, if they were able to sign Cousins, the corner that makes the most sense is Denzel Ward. I think everybody’s trying to figure out the rest of the corners, and I think the most intriguing corner in this draft is going to have a big week next week one way or the other, and that’s Josh Jackson, the corner from Iowa. He had eight interceptions. He’s only been a D-back for two years. He’s a wide receiver Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 5 of 18 coming into the program. He’s instinctive, he’s got some length. The question is how fast is he? And I think the answer to that will determine where he ends up going. I’ve heard second and third round grades, first round grades. But I think the only corner right now that you could bang the table for in the Top 10 would be Denzel Ward. As far as what quarterback makes sense, I mean, I think Darnold, Allen, Rosen, and Mayfield are all on the board right now for the New York Jets, and they’re trying to figure out what their own priority, what their own order is. I would think the Browns are going to take one regardless. I think the Giants would be up in the air, and Denver’s got to get a quarterback, but who knows if that’s going to be free agency or not.
Q. I’m curious, if you’re a 3-4 team, and are you looking at Edmunds from Virginia Tech? Is he an insider or outsider? And what skills do you see there that lead you to think that?
MIKE MAYOCK: The beauty of this kid is he’s 19 years old, he’s 6’5″, 250. At 19 years old. He doesn’t turn 20 until a couple days after the draft. I put the first tape in on this kid, and today he’s an off-the-ball linebacker. Meaning in a three-four, he’s an inside linebacker and he’d be great there. He also has a scary skill set as an edge rusher, which he did a little bit at Virginia Tech, and I know for sure he’s working on that now. So I see incredible upside. I see an off-the-ball linebacker, I think some of the three, four teams could look at him and say he could be a 34 outside linebacker, in addition to being a 34 inside linebacker. Right now what I say is a starting-off-the-ball linebacker and a potential sub at edge rusher. He’s got a skill set. I don’t use this word often, but he has a skill set that’s unique.
Q. I was going to say, does he remind you of anybody?
MIKE MAYOCK: No. That’s my point. That’s the definition of unique, there is only one of them.
Q. When you look at the Detroit Lions at No. 20, they have a need for running back, interior defensive lineman and a pass-rusher. When you look at the pass rushing position in particular, who are some guys maybe at No. 20 who might be there or who might be a fit for them?
MIKE MAYOCK: Sure. They’re a four-man front team. I think Chubb will be gone, I’m guessing Marcus Davenport will be gone. Okay, that sounds better. Marcus Davenport will probably be gone. If he’s not, I would jump all over him at 20. Arden Key from LSU is a really talented kid with some off-the-field issues. His character has to be checked, but he’s gifted. They’re the three primarily 4-3 edge guys. Beyond that, it’s hard. There are a lot of 34 smaller, quicker edge guys, but not the 4-3 guys that you’d like to see. A Tyquan Lewis could be available in the second or third round. But if you’re Detroit and looking for the edge, it would be Marcus Davenport, Arden Key, or you’ve also got to look at running backs, and as you said, I believe, interior offensive line.
Q. If you could put yourself in Chris Ballard’s seat, and you’re sitting at 3, this is a roster that needs a lot of help at all positions. Very few playmakers. Do you get more bang for your buck staying at 3 and getting one of those guys with Chubb or Barkley, or is there more value in moving back and trying to get more players but maybe not the difference-making players? What is your option on that?
MIKE MAYOCK: I think he has to be open for business, number one. They’ve got a — as you mentioned, they’ve got a variety of needs. I think the NFL is all about filling needs in free agency and the draft. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why the Eagles turned it around in two years. So it’s about filling needs. They’ve got a bunch of them. So I think the day before the draft or even the day of the draft you’re hoping they’re getting an awful lot of people that want to come up ahead of Cleveland at 4, ahead of Denver at 5, and get a quarterback. And depending on who has the draft capital to move up, I think you have to listen, you have to be open for business, and I think that’s the best of all worlds. If you can move down from 3 to somewhere else in the Top 10, that’s the best of all worlds. And I’m not sure that’s happening because, quite frankly, 7 through 10 don’t even have quarterback needs. You’re listening to what’s being offered and you have to weigh that against Barkley, Chubb or Quenton Nelson, and they’re really, really good football players. So it’s kind of like you want one really good football player who has a chance to be an All-Pro quickly, or do you want to try to satisfy three or four needs with a trade down? And I don’t think you can have that answer until you know what’s in front of you on the day of the draft.
Q. You wouldn’t look for 10 if you’re trading down, would you?
MIKE MAYOCK: What’s that? Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 6 of 18
Q. You wouldn’t go much further than like 10 if you’re trading back, though, would you?
MIKE MAYOCK: I would rather stay in the Top 10 if possible. But, again, if you were able to get multiple ones and twos and all of that, that’s a whole different conversation. Then you’ve got to trust your draft board.
Q. Wanted to ask you about Alex Cappa out of Humboldt State. Did he surprise you at all at the Senior Bowl or what you had seen on tape previously, if anything? Were you expecting him to be fairly impressive?
MIKE MAYOCK: Here’s what happens with me leading up to the Senior Bowl. I’m grinding tape of all these guys I’ve never heard of. About 19 out of 20 of them are just guys. But you’ve got to grind the tape. You’ve got to get through it. Every year a couple guys pop out that you go: Who is that? Wow, that was fun. For me this year he was one of my guys. Humboldt State, I didn’t even know where it was. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever looked at a Humboldt State guy. He was so nasty on tape, and keep in mind, obviously, it’s a lower level of competition, but he’s throwing people around like it’s nothing. He’s got a nasty demeanor. He’s got a tough edge to him, but more importantly, he has some movement skills in size also. I couldn’t wait to see him at the Senior Bowl. I thought he handled himself well. What he looked like to me is, even though he played tackle, I think his skill set lends itself to guard. I think he’s going to get drafted somewhere in the fourth, fifth, sixth round. I really like the kid. I think he’s a developmental guard prospect that’s got a chance to play down the road.
Q. We talk a lot about the flat-out ability of receivers that not, I guess, so much how these specific skill sets could fit with the quarterbacking scheme. I’m wondering what does the receiver need to do on the field to become a weapon, specifically for Cam Newton? And who are the early to mid-round guys that you see in this draft class that could do that?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, we talked earlier about an ability to separate. That’s what a wide receiver needs first and foremost, beyond great hands. Okay, an ability to separate, and how do you separate? And I think in the Carolina offense they lost the guys that they traded last year, Kelvin Benjamin that had size and an ability to win outside the numbers in back shoulder throws and contested throws. I think that’s what helps out Cam Newton more than anything, rather than the timing, quickness, trying to get the ball out on time, anticipate wideouts. I think what Cam is best with is when he’s got a big body he can grow to that he knows where he’s going to be and has a chance of winning the contested throw. The Devin Funchess, the Kelvin Benjamins, et cetera. So when you look at the wide receiver class this year, Courtland Sutton would be the potential first round guy from SMU. I can’t wait to see him at the combine. But there is a bunch of big-bodied players that are going to be second, third, and even fourth round players. Moore from Missouri. St. Brown from Notre Dame. Simmie Cobbs, who is from Indiana, Allen Lazard from Iowa State, Marcell Ateman, Oklahoma State. They’re third and fourth round people. And I apologize, guys, if you’re hearing something. I’ve got a guy blowing leaves or something outside my house. So if you’re hearing noise, I apologize. But that’s kind of — there are a whole bunch of bigbody wideouts in this draft, and they’re the kind of guys that can help Carolina in camp.
Q. Question Dolphin-centric, there is a lot of debate here whether one of those top four quarterbacks falls in at 11 they take him. Do you think that would be the better idea for the Dolphins, or they’re going best player available?
MIKE MAYOCK: I think the Dolphins are kind of at an important landmark in their franchise. I think year three of that regime, you’ve got a quarterback coming off an ACL that’s around 30 years old and has not lived up to his first round expectations. So I think you’re at a point where you’ve had one good year and then one bad year with this group, and what’s next? Are you going to hang your hat on Tannehill and say that’s our guy, or are you going to try to be bold and go in a different direction? I’m really not sure what the right answer is. I think it would be easier in that building to talk yourself into we’re not that bad, we’re not that far away if we can get in and Tannehill can play well, Adam Gase is a very good quarterback coach, blah, blah. I think you can tack yourself into that conversation that if Tannehill’s our guy, it’s not a rebuild. What we need to do is fill in around him, be a better football team. My gut tells me they’re going to go in that direction. I think it’s difficult to say, okay, if we’re not going to sign a free agent quarterback, then at No. 11 who is going to be available at that point? And none of us know. Is it Baker Mayfield? Do you go in a completely different direction and go Lamar Jackson? Do you wait and go in the second round? And another way to handle this, do you take the quarterback in the second or third round? And I can’t Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 7 of 18 even remember what Miami has available.
Q. They have their second and third round picks.
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, I’m trying to remember what they do, and I think they do also. But my point is if one of those guys, a Luke Falk, a Mike White, if they like any of those guys, I think it’s an insurance policy to back-up the Tannehill thing. But that’s a long way of saying I think they’re at a crossroads. I’m not sure what the right answer is, but my gut tells me they’re going to hang with Tannehill.
Q. Was wondering if there were two or three Pac-12 players not named Darnold or Rosen that you’re particularly interested to see this week?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah. I mean, I think you’ve got to start with that Vita Vea from Washington. He is a dancing bear. He’s a freak. He’s 340 pounds, and everybody says he’s going to run a sub 5.40. The last defensive lineman to do that was Dontari Poe, and I think he went at No. 11. And Vea is a better player than Poe was coming out of college, more advanced. He’s a plug-and-play nose tackle in any scheme. If he runs 4.85 or 4.9 at 342 pounds, to me that’s more impressive than watching John Ross run a 4.22. Seriously. For me, that’s first and foremost. Outside of that, who else am I intrigued about? The USC running back intrigues me. I want to see him catch the ball and run routes. I’m talking about Ronald Jones. He’s a track guy, he’s going to run fast, but I really want to see him run some routes. I can’t wait to see him run routes at his Pro Day. I think he’s a guy that could be an immediate productive player in the NFL, and I think he’s going to go in the second round. So there are two guys I can’t wait to see and I’m excited about.
Mike, could you discuss what makes Roquan Smith the first rounder at linebacker, and the Georgia running back, Sony Michel, and Chubb, and the rushers, Carter and Bellamy?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, I love Roquan Smith, and I think he’s today’s NFL off-the-ball linebacker. It’s mostly about speed. You know, he’s 225 pounds. Deon Jones was drafted in the second round in Atlanta two years ago, and he’s been the prototype. I think Roquan Smith takes it a step further. Very similar type guy. I love the way he plays. I didn’t even know who he was the first tape I put in. I think it was Notre Dame-Georgia and he just jumped off the tape. I got excited sitting there going, who is this guy? The tailbacks, the more I watch Sony Michel, the more I think Sony Michel can make an impact like Alvin Kamara in the run game. I think he has burst acceleration, better toughness than people think, better contact balance than I expected. What he doesn’t have yet is the pass game ability Kamara did. I think he’s got good hands, but I’m not sure yet because they didn’t throw it to him too much. I know he didn’t run great routes. It was just check downs and flair screens. So the combine and his Pro Day are very important for him. The other running back, Chubb, I think he’s one of the toughest running backs in his career. Downhill, northsouth, one cut, make him miss. I think he’s a warrior. He’ll fit his own scheme, and he’s a really good player. The edge guys. Carter, I like Carter. I think Carter is going to go on the second day in the draft. He’s got almost the same size as Leonard Floyd. His production wasn’t the same. He needs to get stronger, as does Bellamy, Davin Bellamy, the other edge guy. I think Bellamy has more upside than people give him credit for. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went in the fourth round or so. But I think Carter and Bellamy are both what today’s 34 outside linebacker looks like.
Q. I wanted your thoughts on Antonio Callaway, the Florida receiver. Obviously pretty talented and has a bunch of off-the-field questions. Where do you see him right now?
MIKE MAYOCK: You’re right, he is very talented, and you’re right, he’s got a lot of off-the-field stuff that is going to affect his ultimate evaluation. That’s why, quite frankly, what he does off the field at the combine is really more important. It’s more about the meetings at night, the conversations he’s going to have. Keep in mind, this is a guy that had three punt returns — excuse me, three return touchdowns. I think it was two punts and one kickoff return. He had three touchdowns in two years at Florida, suspended this entire season. People will recognize his talent. They’ll recognize his explosiveness and his ability to return the ball. I think he’s going to be a third-day guy, and I think the team has to get comfortable with who he is off the field.
Q. The Saints have lacked a dynamic receiving tight end threat in recent seasons. I know you mentioned a couple tight ends earlier in the call, but who would fit the Saints scheme in your opinion?
MIKE MAYOCK: I mentioned earlier that I really like Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 8 of 18 Hayden Hurst from South Carolina. He’s 25 years old because he signed a baseball contract out of high school. But in addition to being able to catch the football, he puts effort into the run game. The funny thing about the Saints, I believe, is when they won their Super Bowl and everybody talked about Drew Brees in the pass game, they had a commitment to the physicality of the run game, and they still do because of Sean Payton and who he is. So if you’re going to bring in a tight end at a high level, you have to have a commitment to block, in addition to just being a pass catcher, and I think that’s Hayden Hurst. I think Goedert from South Dakota State, Gesicki from Penn State, and Mark Andrews from Oklahoma are all outstanding receiving options. None of them are primary blockers in the run game. That’s their edge control on the back side. So if you wanted to go later and just get a pass catcher, you could look at a Troy Fumagalli from Wisconsin. He could probably get in the fourth round. Chris Herndon is another guy from Miami I like who will block a little bit, but he’s coming off an injury. There’s a bunch of tight ends in this draft. 90% of them are pass only, receivers only. But there are a few, like a Will Dissly from Washington who will stick his hands in the dirt and move people, but he doesn’t have the same receiving skills. So every year we have the same conversation about college tight ends. There are only a few that will block and then a bunch of receivers, then who fits what scheme the best. So if you look at Zach Ertz in Philadelphia, I think that’s what you’re seeing with a Goedert, with a Gesicki, with a Mark Andrews, with a Troy Fumagalli. Those are similar-type guys and could have similar-type impact.
Q. Wanted to get your opinion on the offensive tackle from Western Michigan, Okorafor. I don’t know if you’ve seen him yet. But as a prospect, I’ve heard some mixed things on him. And more in general, you mentioned the Lions and interior offensive line earlier. How deep is this offensive line, the interior class, and day two, day three I’m thinking for the Lions in that position?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, Okorafor is a guy I’m intrigued with, but he always leaves me wanting more. Last year when I was watching Moton, who I believe went in the second or third round out of Western Michigan, I’m like, why is he playing right tackle, this Moton kid? Then I looked at the left tackle and I’m like, that’s why. They have a big left tackle in this Okorafor. So I couldn’t wait to watch him this year. He’s a big body. When you draw it up, what you want is a left tackle that looks like him. He’s got some movement skills. He’s big, he can move people in the run game, but he’s highly inconsistent in the run and the pass game. Doesn’t have a lot of interest in the backside of the run game. I look at him as a talented player that needs to be a much more consistent player. But there is talent there. I think will probably go on the second day. As far as interior, offensive line class, the top end of it is really good. I mention Quenton Nelson will be gone early, the next group of guys, Isaiah Wynn, James Daniels, Will Hernandez, Billy Price, I think they’ll all probably go, worst case, by the end of the second, beginning of the third. Then Frank Ragnow from Arkansas, Braden Smith from Auburn. And a guy who I really like doesn’t get enough publicity is cornerback bet from Nevada who plays tackle, Austin Corbett, and I think he’s going to get kicked inside and be a starting guard. That’s eight offensive interior linemen. That’s the average for a group of interior offensive linemen in the last five years in the draft. So there’s a logical guy.
Q. Little earlier you were talking about edge rushers that could be available for the Lions at 20. I was thinking for the Cowboys at 19 it could be something similar. I was wondering why maybe Hubbard or Harold, the other kid wouldn’t be a fit there? Also, I was wondering about maybe middle of the draft receiving back. I know the Cowboys were interested in Darnell Humphrey last year and weren’t able to get him. I was wondering if there’s anybody like that that might fit this year?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, there are a bunch of good running backs that could fit. To answer your edge rusher conversation, depending on scheme, and Dallas is a four-down scheme, and obviously priority number one for them has got to be to re-sign Demarcus Lawrence. They don’t have a lot of cap space, but I would imagine that’s going to happen. I think Davenport will probably be gone by then, but if he’s not, Marcus Davenport to me has got the most upside of perhaps any edge rusher in this draft. Arden Key from LSU, I mentioned earlier also, beyond him, Sam Hubbard is not a dynamic edge guy. But I do think he’s going to get hustle sacks, plays the run really well, and be a rock-solid player in the NFL. Whether or not I think he’s more of a second round pick than a first round pick, Harold Landry is more of a 34 outside linebacker, doesn’t really fit your scheme. I think a guy that’s interesting on the second day, Rasheem Green from USC third-year junior. Probably Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 9 of 18 came out a year early. However, massive body. I don’t think he’s ready to handle the interior defensive line, just not strong enough yet. I think he can be a base end and kick inside to help the sub-rush. I think he’s an intriguing player. Then as far as the running backs are concerned, I tell you, when you get into that group, seven guys go in the first three rounds, average for running backs. So once you get into some of the third down change-of-pace guys, Mark Walton from Miami had some injury issues, but quick, change of pace. Nyheim Hines from North Carolina State, football and track, change-of-pace guy on third down. Catches the ball extremely well. You could even get into Justin Jackson or Phillip Lindsay in the fourth, fifth round type of player. Again, not big enough to carry the full load, but catches the football very well out of the back field.
- I’m not seeing any Canadians so far this year with draft grades, but I’m wondering first what you saw in at last month’s Shrine Game, the University of Montreal receiver Regis Cibasu and University of Alberta offensive lineman Mark Korte. And, second, if you have any easements of UCONN’s Trey Rutherford, a tackle, or the tackle at Nebraska, David Knevel?
MIKE MAYOCK: Oh, man, you’re digging deep on me this year. Killing me. I would tell you the wide receiver of the East-West game and the interior offensive linemen both got high efforts for effort. I don’t think either of them is draftable. I have not watched tape of the other two. So unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot of information for you this year.
- When you’re talking about Josh Allen, how much of a concern is the completion percentage? Is that something you think could be fixed on the next level? Would the combine be important for him in that area?
MIKE MAYOCK: I don’t think the combine’s important for him in that area. I kind of laugh because I’ve had quarterbacks over the years ask me and some of their agents, hey, should I throw at the combine? Jay Cutler’s dad asked me at the Senior Bowl. I’m like, if I had an arm like your son, then I would throw everywhere, anywhere, anytime, because it’s just going to help. I was going to say the same thing about Josh Allen. I don’t care if he throws it eight yards over the guy’s head. The scouts know you’re not throwing to your receivers. They just want to see the ball come out of your hand and what it looks like. This kid has a huge arm. Get out there, rip it, have some fun. That’s all they want to see is the quarterbacks get out there loose and rip it. Now, the Pro Day is a different conversation. The Pro Day is going to go out there and you want to see, and this is kind of part and parcel of the same question, the accuracy. It does worry me that he was a 56% guy. I was going for a bunch of stuff a few weeks ago, trying to figure out how many college quarterbacks with sub60% accuracy or completion percentages ended up being significantly better in the NFL. When you’re talking about high-level guys, I think Matthew Stafford was the only one guy I could find. I think he was fifty-five, six-seven, somewhere like that at Georgia. And obviously Matthew Stafford is a franchise quarterback. So it’s a difficult conversation, and I think with this kid, it starts with the ground up, and I don’t think his feet and his eyes are connected. And that’s a big, big deal with quarterbacks. He’s the most physically gifted quarterback in this draft class, but he’s got a lot of work to do on his footwork. I know he’s doing it right now with Jordan Palmer who he’s working with. And what I would hope to see is by the time he throws the ball on Pro Day, a more consistent thrower from the ground up. I don’t want to see every fourth or fifth ball get missiled somewhere and you go where did that come from? So his team wasn’t very good. He didn’t have a lot of receivers. You can make up excuses. But at the end of the day, if you’re taking a high pick on a kid with a 56% completion percentage, the anticipation better be that you think you can help that get over 60.
Q. Do you see any comparison with Kizer? I mean, he had the same accuracy issues once he got to Cleveland, and he’s a big kid with a big arm too?
MIKE MAYOCK: I think Kizer was a different conversation. This kid’s got a bigger arm. He’s no Kizer. Kizer’s physical skill set was good. I thought he struggled in the fourth quarter of a bunch of games two years ago at Notre Dame. I think this kid is a better version, and I think their issues are completely different. I don’t see the comparison.
Q. I had a question for you about inside linebackers. I don’t want to compare anyone to Ryan Shazier and the pick in 28, so any of the premier guys, obviously, will be gone. But do you see some guys in the lower end who are that Shazier type, that sideline-to-sideline, explosive, quick guy that could be there at their turn?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, I would imagine that Tremaine Edmunds and Roquan Smith will be gone. A guy that I’m really intrigued by, and I need to do more work on, is Leighton Vander Esch from Boise State. If you put his tape on against Oregon, which I believe was his Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 10 of 18 Bowl game, it was as good as off-the-ball linebacker tape as I’ve seen in years. He goes sideline to sideline. He’s great in the pass game. He’s one of those guys that naturally slips under or over blocks to make the play. He’s like 6’4″, 240. I want to know what he’s going to run in the combine. In my head, I’ve got an over-under, 4.65. And I’m hoping it’s under. If he runs in that 2.46 range, he’s going to go late first round, and I think he’d be a great fit.
Q. You had Mayfield in your quarterback rankings. How did his Senior Bowl affect his draft stock, and what does he need to show at the combine to improve his standing even more?
MIKE MAYOCK: His tape is really good. He’s close to a 70% completion guy. I’m not too worried about him being 6′ or 6’1″, even though there is a very small percentage of those quarterbacks. I think it really comes down to off the field, face-to-face, in the meeting rooms, with the decision-makers whether or not you’re going to buy into his character and him being the face of your franchise. I think there are going to be some teams that say no, I’ve seen some talent, but it’s not my guy. I think some other teams are going to say no biggy, maybe some emotional competitive immaturity, but outside of that I’m good. But he still sparks that conversation with every team in the league. When you say what canhe do, I think it’s less physically and more how we represent, and whether or not a team can look him in the eye and say, yeah, that’s my guy. That’s the face of the future for my franchise. Again, he’s a different cup of tea for everybody.
Q. Is Baker considered a system quarterback?
MIKE MAYOCK: That’s an interesting question, and it’s a really interesting question. I think the West Coast people would like him because he has the quick release, gets the ball out very quickly. The systems have been changing over the last six, eight, ten years because of the type of quarterbacks we’re getting from college football. You could see what Doug Pederson did with the Eagles. When they had Carson Wentz, they were doing one thing. When he got Nick Foles, they were doing another. I think NFL coaches are doing a better job of getting college quarterbacks and setting the system up around what that kid does best. Look at Deshaun Watson last year. Phil O’Brien did a great job. So if you draft Baker Mayfield in the first round, you better set your system up around what he does well, as opposed to just saying we’re a West Coast or we’re a down the field, or whatever you want to call it. So I look at him and go, yeah, components of the West Coast system fit him well, but there have to be components of the RPO, play action, get him out in the run. He’s an exciting talent, and I think an intelligent coach will know how to use him to the best of his ability.
Q. I wish I had a different player to ask about, but I do want to touch on Baker for just a second, Baker Mayfield. Whether or not you agree with the Manziel comparison, and I know there’s a lot of debate whether that’s valid, is it sticking to him as he goes to the combine with NFL people?
MIKE MAYOCK: Here’s what I would tell you, the world of 6’1″-and-under quarterbacks is a small one, to start with. When you compound that with some off-the-field issues and extend the athletic play on the field, there are going to be comparisons, whether he wants to distance himself or not. I go back to what I said a moment ago, which is he’s going to have to prove in the meetings that he is a different guy than Johnny Manziel off the field, especially; that he has the character where he’s going to be the first guy in, the last to leave. You’re not going to see any of the BS you saw in college. He’s not going to be giving anybody the finger or whatever. He’s going to be about business. It’s great to be exciting and it’s great to be excitable, but at the end of the day you have to be the leader of a football team. He’s got to convince people that not only is he dynamic and a positive leader, but he’s also going to be a great guy in the locker room in the face of your franchise. That’s his challenge. Whether he likes it or not, being under 6’1 inches, having some off-the-field issues and having an athletic quarterback is going to throw him into the conversation with Manziel, just the way it is.
Q. You mentioned Logan Woodside sort of in a drive by on your first conversation with the quarterback. I’m just curious what you see for him, how he played maybe against Miami, does that shape how teams look at him, and maybe an overall projection for him?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah. What I like about him is the kid makes a lot of plays. At the end of the day — I’m trying to recover which tape it was. I’m trying to look it up for you right now. I think he’s got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, because he wasn’t recruited and all the rest of that. He’s a self-made kid. I watched three of his tapes, and he broke all of Gradkowski’s records, every Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 11 of 18 ball was in a good location that I saw. His accuracy, forget that he was at 69% one year, a 63 and up. Forget those numbers. He put the ball where the receivers could run with it. So at halftime of the Miami game, they’re up 16-10, and he continued to push the ball down field. I saw, the Miami game, I really liked because that chip on his shoulder where, why didn’t you recruit me, you could almost see it on tape. So when I looked at him earlier, I kind of put him and Kyle Lauletta in the same conversation because they’re similar height, body types, et cetera, but I think Logan Woodside has not gotten enough credit, and he’s the guy I’m looking forward to watch throw the ball at the combine.
Q. Just want to know what you feel are the two deepest defensive positions in this class, and how many first round grades you have on players at those respective positions?
MIKE MAYOCK: I think interior defensive line at the high end is outstanding. I think at least four are going to go — Vita Vea, Payne, Maurice Hurst, and Taven Bryan. Harrison Phillips from Stanford is an interesting player. B.J. Hill from North Carolina State. But I’m saying four interior defensive linemen go. I also think the off-the-ball linebackers are really good this year — Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Rashaan Evans. I think those four have the chance to go as off-the-ball linebackers. Typically, there’s only two off-the-ball linebackers, so that would be a big year. I really like those two groups. I think we’re still trying to get through the corners and figure out after Denzel Ward where everybody goes. Josh Jackson, Mike Hughes, Isaiah Oliver, Jaire Alexander, Davis from Auburn. I mean, there are six guys there. I think at least four of them are going to go in the first round.
Q. Wanted to ask about Sam Darnold. With some of the USC quarterbacks that have gone into the NFL in the past few years — Leinart, Barkley — the track record hasn’t been outstanding. Does that have any effect when teams evaluate Sam? And, in general, do teams pay attention to how a school’s previous guys have done when they’re looking at guys like that?
MIKE MAYOCK: It’s an interesting question. I will tell you this. There are certain schools that have had a reputation. And this has nothing to do with USC. There are certain schools that have had reputations with NFL teams as being soft, programs aren’t run real hard. There are certain schools that NFL teams love to go into because they feel like not only is the level of player high, but they’re coached hard and they come out ready to play in the NFL. So there is no doubt there is some of that. I think the USC thing with Sam Darnold holds no water. It’s a different coaching staff doing different things, asking him to do different things. I think he’s a better player than Matt Leinart was coming out. I think Matt kind of rode the wave of an outstanding football team. I think Sam Darnold has just more individual talent. Bigger arms, better athletes across the board.
- Wanted to ask you about a couple Auburn guys — Kerryon Johnson, Carlton Davis, and Braden Smith. You’ve touched on them a little bit already, but what is your assessment of each of those three?
MIKE MAYOCK: Kerryon Johnson is fun to watch. He’s a little bit long and leggy. Sometimes presents a bigger target because of that. He’s so athletic, so soft. At the running back position I mentioned seven going the first three rounds, I’ve got him as a solid second round pick. As far as Braden Smith, I think he’s going to show off both athleticism and strength at the combine. I’ve got him as a second round guard. I think he needs to be more consistent. Watched one tape. I think he’s a first round pick. Watched another tape. I think he’s a third or fourth round pick. Just needs consistency, and I think we’ll get that going forward. Then Carlton Davis, the corner, I think he’s a prototypical long corner. He can run, gets a little grabby, but I think he’s a press corner. Right now I’ve got him in the second round. So basically I’ve got all three of those guys on the second day, predominantly, the second round.
Q. Patriots have potential needs at corner and linebacker. I want to get your quick reads on two Alabama types. I know you touched a little while ago on Rashaan Evans and Ronnie Harrison as well. What is Bill’s approach toward the draft suggested to you about what way he might lean toward the end of the first round? That’s a lot, I know.
MIKE MAYOCK: Well, no, I just don’t think you can guess what Bill’s going to do. I really don’t. I think he’s the smartest football person I’ve ever been around. And I think you mentioned two Alabama players, which brings up Nick Saban, who is one of the smartest football people I’ve ever been around. Those guys are a little bit outside the box. But the way they run their program speaks for itself. So I would imagine, and I can’t speak for Bill, but Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 12 of 18 obviously Alabama players are interesting guys because when they come out, they’ve been coached hard, you know what you’re getting. Rashaan Evans is a great off-the-ball linebacker. He can run, shows up in coverage, comes downhill, tackles. He’s going either late one to early two. Harrison the safety, all over the field. I’ve got him as a second round pick, but he could go in the first round. Again, I think he can drop down and cover people, but I don’t think that’s his forte. In today’s NFL, I think you’re looking to get safeties that can drop down and cover a slot. He could, but I think he’s better in the box. It’s almost impossible to guess what Bill’s going to do. Just when you think he’s going to trade down, he trades up. Or he signs a future Hall of Fame wide receiver to free agency. You just never know with Bill, and I wouldn’t even try to guess.
Q. You’ve seen Mike McGlinchey for years. What stands out about him now, and assuming the combine has not changed much, what is the draft range for him?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, he’s one of my favorite players in the draft because I know the kid, and that helps me with evaluation. I know what kind of kid he is. He’s Matt Ryan’s cousin. I saw this kid play football and baseball at Ben Carter High School. I know the kid well. I did Notre Dame games when he was young, and I’ve been around him when he works out in the weight room. So the reason I have him as the No. 1 tackle in the draft, and by the way, I believe very much that those other tackles — Orlando Brown, Connor Williams — are in the same category as players, but I love two things about Mike McGlinchey. I love that he got coached by Harry Hiestand at Notre Dame, which tells me when he comes out, he’s going to be ready to play. I don’t care if you put him at right tackle or left tackle, he’s going to be ready to play. And, number two, his work ethic and passion for the game of football is unparalleled. So I know what I’m getting with that kid, and that’s why I bang the table for him.
Q. You already talked about Baker, but had a Big 12 question. Wondered what guys you were intrigued by and most interested in seeing this week from the Big 12?
MIKE MAYOCK: Okay, we talked about Baker. I’m looking forward to seeing Mason Rudolph. He didn’t get to throw or play at the Senior Bowl, so I’m looking forward to watching him throw and hopefully spend a little time with him. The wide receiver thing is always very, very interesting. You know, James Washington and Marcell Ateman are two guys I’m looking forward to watch. I get frustrated a little bit watching Big 12 tape, and I know the Big 12 coaches probably don’t like me for it. I know how well they’re coached and how much talent there is on the offensive side, and I get frustrated when I see guys running wide open all over the place, especially the wide receiver class. I think Washington and Ateman are of interest to me. Beyond that, they’re the four guys that I have off the top of my head. The two quarterbacks and those two wideouts. If there’s anybody specific you want to ask me about, please do.
Q. How about Brown, Connor Williams, Jefferson?
MIKE MAYOCK: Malik Jefferson, to me, I love the way he plays, but he’s going to have to be an off-the-ball linebacker in the NFL. Because of that, I think he’s had some trouble getting off big bodies. I think he’s more of a third or fourth round guy, Malik Jefferson. Holton Hill is intriguing. He’s had some off-the-field stuff, obviously, but he’s a long, press corner kind of guy you draw up when you’re looking at corners. Along with the safety, DeShon Elliott. I think I’ve got him as my sixth or seventh safety in the draft right now. I think he’s a sixth or seventh day pick. He’s a confident, zone player. Comes downhill, strikes and hits. Don’t think he’s a great man-to-man match-up guy, but I think he can handle tight ends and running backs.
Q. I know you mentioned Sam Hubbard earlier. I know a lot of people had him 1, a lot of people had him 2. He seems like he’s kind of on that fringe. Obviously, I don’t know how he can really improve his stock over the weekend, but what are the things that you think will be the ultimate tipping point, he’ll be a first because of this or he’ll be a second because of this?
MIKE MAYOCK: I think probably 95% of the hay is in the barn for Sam Hubbard. I think we know who he is. His tape speaks for itself. I think he can be a base end, and I think he can be a three four outside linebacker, which helps him. He checks every box — he’s got character, work ethic, health, all of that. If he went out there and ran 4.52 or something, we’d probably all go: Oh, my goodness. We’ve got to go check this out. We’ve got to see if he plays to that kind of twitchy level. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t think anything’s going to push him up or down, to be honest. I think he’s going to test fairly well. I think he’s going to knock it out of the park in the meeting room. I think teams are going to love him. Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 13 of 18 At the end of the day, at the bottom of the first round, if the teams are looking for a safe first round pick, he’s your guy. If not, he’ll slide into the second round.
Q. You talked a little about Antonio Callaway already. But what about the rest of the Florida guys — Pineiro, Townsend, Marcell Harris, Duke Dawson? After two seasons that have been sort of unremarkable, what do they need to show the guys this weekend, and where do they fit into this draft?
MIKE MAYOCK: I missed some of that. I think you were asking about the Florida players. You said you already heard Callaway, and what did you say?
Q. Yes, just about the rest of them as well. What do they have to show after a somewhat unremarkable season for the team, and where do they fit into this draft? Specifically for a guy like Eddy Pineiro, can a team risk a higher pick on that kicker?
MIKE MAYOCK: I’ve got to be very honest with you, I don’t know how to evaluate kickers. So what I do — seriously, and I apologize. What I do every year is a week before the draft I call five or six of my special team buddies around the league and say, okay, who do I need to know about and why. So I’m not there with kickers, and I apologize. I would tell you that Taven Bryan is a borderline first round pick. I really like what he brings to the table. I think Duke Dawson, like his tape. His physical skill set lends itself toward nickel. I think they come in day one, play special teams and then nickel. Is there anybody else we want to know about?
Q. Marcell Harris, does he have enough tape to speak for itself already?
MIKE MAYOCK: I’ve heard it both ways with him. I think at the end of the day with that, he’s going to be a third day decision. The durability is a concern for a lot of the teams.
Q. Wanted to ask you about the Bucs at 7. Couple different directions they could go. If you presume that there’s probably three, at least three quarterbacks going ahead of them, likely Chubb as well, just what you see as a match for them and maybe the best use of that pick at No. 7?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, I mean, they’re an interesting conversation. I look at that and go, first and foremost, I think you’re getting Noah Spence back. But you’ve got to get some pressure. You’ve had 20, 22 sacks last year. So you’re sitting at No. 6 from an edge perspective. If Bradley Chubb was there, I think you’d run to the podium, first of all. Second of all, Minkah Fitzpatrick from Alabama can fit any need on the back end. You guys spent a first round pick on Hargrave. He hasn’t played where I expected him to play yet. Brent Grimes is getting older. T.J. Ward is a free agent, I believe. You can plug and play him any of the four starting positions, plus nickel and dime linebacker. That’s how good he is. So from my perspective, I think at six, depending on how many quarterbacks go, even if I’d look at Chubb, Fitzpatrick, and Quenton Nelson, because I think Barkley will be gone.
Q. I wanted to ask you about the three Penn State guys that kind of impressed the Senior Bowl — Daesean Hamilton, Christian Campbell, and even Troy Apke. What do they need to do to keep that momentum going?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, basically, they need to run fast. With Hamilton, in a 14-day period, with the East-West game and the Senior Bowl, he helped himself as much as anybody in the country. I mean, I thought he got better every day, which says a lot, and coaches love that. The ability to process information and then execute it on the field the next day. So the East-West game helped him, and then he came off the Senior Bowl. So he went from a third day afterthought to somebody that’s potentially now a third round pick. Apke, the safety, he’s a guy that’s, I think, going to run fast, and I think he can play special teams for a period of time to earn himself time to learn how to play the safety position. I think he can also play some dime linebacker. So I think after you’ve had some value as a late thirdday pick — and you mentioned the corner, I believe, correct?
MIKE MAYOCK: I like both corners, by the way. I like Haley maybe even better, because I believe he can play nickel. Even though he won’t test well, I like Haley a lot. I think he’s going to come in and compete and play nickel and be a better football player than people think. I think Campbell is a long press corner, not as good off. So it’s going to be the teams that want to press, and he’s got to run well. That’s kind of the question on him. So he needs to run well. And I’d love to see Haley sneak in a good time, too, because he’s a good football player.
Q. Similar to Baker Mayfield, there seems to be personality-based questions following around Josh Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 14 of 18 Rosen over the past season. How much are teams concerned about Rosen in that way? And how often do you think players at high-profile positions like quarterbacks intend to be downgraded, even unnecessarily, when questions like that swirl around for a year or more?
MIKE MAYOCK: I think what’s critical at the quarterback position is that you get to know the kid as well as you can. I even find from my own evaluation perspective, when I get to know a quarterback, I do a much better job. I jumped on the table with both feet with Carson Wentz because I got to know the kid. What I missed on quarterback a lot of times has been because I never met the kid, never had a feel for him. And I think to take it to a much further extreme, the NFL teams have to get to know these kids — what makes them tick, what kind of passion do they have for the game, what is their work ethic. How are they at raising the level of play with people around them? Are they natural leaders? Are they the face of your program? All of those things are critical. When you take a kid like Rosen — I’ve never met him yet. I’ve watched his tape and formed an opinion based on his tape. The next step for me, and I think what the NFL teams are doing a better job at, is spending time with these kids and getting to know them. He’s — from what I’ve been told, he’s a very intelligent kid, so that’s not an issue. He can process information. He’s really good understanding the playbook. I think what they want to get to know is what is his passion for the game? Does he love it? Is he committed for the next ten years to be the best he can be, or is he going to be content with just being a pretty good player and hanging out? It’s nowhere more important in the NFL than it is at the quarterback position to find out what makes the kid tick. I think with Josh Rosen, no different than any of the other guys, they’re going to dig deep.
Q. You talked already about a few of the Penn State guys, but I wanted to ask you about safety Marcus Allen and linebacker Jason Cabinda. What are your initial assessments of those two guys?
MIKE MAYOCK: Cabinda is a pro. Just works hard. Is not as naturally gifted as some of those linebackers that are going to run 4.5 at the combine. But I watched him at the East-West game. After every snap he came off the field, went up to the defensive coordinator and had a conversation. When the slot goes in motion, what is the check? He’s a true pro. He comes prepared to play. I think he’s a two-down player with some physical limitations that’s going to make a living on special teams. Marcus Allen is a safety that’s great in the box, will strike you, will get after people in the run game. I think he’s got some range in the pass game, and I think he can cover running backs and, to an extent, tight end. But I think the more athletic a game gets, I think he’s going to struggle. But I think he’s a starting safety in the NFL.
Q. I was wondering, the Eagles, obviously, are picking last in the first round, which is kind of a new position for them to be in. I was wondering your thoughts on how that might change their strategy going into the draft and what kind of players do you think the Eagles might be looking at at that spot.
MIKE MAYOCK: Sure. I think probably 1960 was the last time they were picked last. But anyway, I think I have to preface it by saying the job that Howie Roseman did the last two years ranks off the general manager’s Hall of Fame and what they did with that roster and how they turned it over in a two-year period to win a Super Bowl. Then when you look going forward, you realize that every starter, except I think Nigel Bradham is under contract for this coming year, and they’ve really positioned themselves pretty darn well. Even to the extent that they’ve got a corner that they drafted in the second round last year coming off achilles tear that’s ready to step in and play. So I’m just highly impressed with what Howie Roseman and that group has done. When you look at sitting at 32, and I’ve had this conversation with teams that are used to drafting late, I think you’ve got to be multiple. I think you’ve got to be versatile. By that I mean you’ve got to get a good football player, but you also have to have an ability to move down if possible, if necessary. And the Eagles don’t have, if I remember this correctly, a two and a three. So an ability to move down would be first and foremost in my mind. A lot of teams like to move up to get quarterbacks at the end of the first round to get that extra fifth-year option. So sitting at 32 is prime real estate for a move down. That’s first and foremost. Secondly, if you’re sitting at 32 and you’re going to pick, you want to pick somebody that you think is safe. And I think Zach Berman asked earlier about Mike McGlinchey from Notre Dame. And I think I know why Zach asked, and Mike McGlinchey will be a great pick as a tackle at 32. I don’t think he’s going to last that long, but I think you’re looking for somebody that you can plug in year one in your system that will contribute somehow. Regardless of the position, he better be Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 15 of 18 comfortable with who he is as a football player, and he’s going to come in day one and compete.
Q. What separates Quenton Nelson from the other offensive linemen in this draft?
MIKE MAYOCK: Good question. The first is DNA. First, he’s 330 pounds. He’s got a nasty demeanor. He finishes with an edge. He’s probably the best runblocking interior offensive lineman I’ve seen in years. Plus, in today’s NFL, you’ve got to protect your quarterback. Every quarterback I’ve talked to in the NFL says what bothers them the most is immediate pressure up the middle. So you’ve got a guy that can set a physical edge in the middle of your lineup front and allow your quarterback to step up. That’s a big deal. So he’s great in the run game. He’s very good in the pass game. He was coached by Harry Hiestand, who I think is one of the best offensive line coaches I’ve ever been around, who is now with the Chicago Bears. So he’s got talent, he’s got coaching, and at the end of the day, he loves football. I know this kid. He’s got a passion for the game. He’s got a passion to be the best he can be. So when you add all those things up, unless he’s injured, unless he gets a bad injury, I love the fact that I think he can come in day one and be a high-level NFL player.
Q. You talked about Taven Bryan a couple times. How high do you think he can go in a best-case scenario? And is he a guy you expect to impress at the combine with his strength to boost his stock a little bit?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, I do. His tape is really good. Effectively a one-year starter. I think what’s really going to help him is the versatility of his game. He can play defensive tackle in the 4-3. He could play defensive end in a 3-4. I know you could play him as a base end in a 4-3 and kick him inside in a subpackage. I think his value to teams is where they’re going to look at him and say, okay, we know he’s a tough kid, and he can defend the run, but can he affect the pass game, and I believe he can. So regardless of your scheme, I think he can affect the pass game, and I think teams are going to look at him as an ascending talent, and I do believe he’s going to go in the first round.
Q. Evans was already talked about, but I have a question on Tim Settle. He’s a guy that’s being mentioned more the last couple weeks. What are your general impressions of Tim Settle, and what are some issues of defensive linemen that come out as third-year players? He’s just a red-shirt sophomore. What are some issues that those guys face when they enter the league?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, I like Tim Settle. He’s one of those players I didn’t know anything about when I first put his tape in. Actually I noticed him when he went in to watch Edmunds and was like: Who is this big dude in the middle? I mean, wow. I love it when I notice a guy and I’m not even studying that particular player. So when I went back in to study him at 335 plus or minus pounds, he’s got short area quickness that’s rare. That’s the first thing that jumps off. Can he affect the pass game at 335? Maybe. Again, that’s rare. I know he can stop the run. When he stays low and plays with leverage, he’s hard to move, even with the double team. He’s got short area quickness that he can threaten the pocket. And he plays hard. I can’t remember which tape it was, but he chased down a screen pass about 30 yards from behind. You don’t ever see 335-pound guys do that. So I really like everything I saw. We’re kind of facing a changing dynamic in this draft, with the underclassmen, and more and more are coming out every year. Even if positions are not used to seeing them come out, like offensive line and defensive line. I think the hard thing for some of these guys to get used to is the NFL — and I’m not talking about this kid, I’m saying in general — defensive linemen coming out early, every snap you have to play with your hair on fire in the NFL. Every snap. Can’t take downs off. Got to make every snap count. I think the rotation helps in the NFL, but I think it’s something that young players have to get used to.
Q. With Derwin James, his positionless kind of a term that gets thrown around with him. I wonder what your take is on him, and how much that positionless can be an asset in the NFL?
MIKE MAYOCK: I’m sorry, what was the term you used?
Q. Positionless, and how versatile he is on the defense.
MIKE MAYOCK: Yes, yeah, yeah. When I put his tape in the first time, I thought I was going to get to see a strong safety that was limited a little bit with movement skills, and that’s not the case. It’s a big guy. He’s got easy movement skills. He can cover wide receivers. Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 16 of 18 He can cover tight ends. He can go down in the box and hit you. So the versatility of his game is critical. And in today’s NFL, which is a pass-first league, when you can drop a safety down on a slot and feel comfortable, that guy is worth his weight in gold. So he can drop down on the slot. He can play deep middle, he can play a two-deep half, and he can play a linebacker and cover a running back. Today’s NFL is a match-up league, and he’s a match-up player, that’s why his value is so high.
Q. Wanted to get your thoughts on a couple of Iowa Hawkeyes that might go in the first round. You mentioned Josh Jackson earlier. What does he have to show this week, and can he be a Top 10 guy potentially? And also James Daniels is very intriguing. What do you like about him?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, James Daniels, whenever you’re watching Iowa offensive linemen, you know you’re going to get a technique proficient guy. That is what it is with James Daniels. A big, square dude, can coach very well. The Kirk Ferentz tree of offensive line coaches is phenomenal. So I know what I’m going to get when I get an offensive lineman from Iowa. In the case of Daniels, not only is his technique good, but he’s a big kid with physical ability. I think he can play all three interior offensive line positions, but being a center for me gives him more value. I think he’s got a chance to go late first round. Josh Jackson, man, converted wideout. I’ve heard people talk about is he the next Richard Sherman or whatever. But kind of intriguing that he came out early. Eight interceptions. I think he got his hand on 18 other passes. So he had 26 passes defended. What I like about him is he can play zone. He understands what the number two and three receivers are doing when he’s out on number one. He’s got great eyes, great instincts, and he trusts them. It’s rare when you get a corner that has great instincts. Look at Marcus Peters, an off corner with great instincts. Josh Daniels — excuse me, Josh Jackson, what he has to show is at what level can he run? Is he a sub-4.5 guy? Is he a sub-4.5 guy, or is he a 4.6 guy? We’re going to find out next week, and I think that’s the big question on him.
Q. Regarding Saquon Barkley, considering his film and his reputation, what will NFL personnel be looking for him from the combine? What does the combine ultimately mean for him?
MIKE MAYOCK: Really, all it is is confirmation of his physical gifts. For a guy like Barkley who has worked so hard to develop his gifts, I mean, for him it ought to be a victory celebration. It really should. You got to come in and knock it down, one drill after another. He’s going to walk out of there four days later and everyone’s going to go: Wow, he’s just as good or better than we thought he was. So when he goes into the meetings at night, he’s going to blow people away also. I talk about the last three or four run being backs that went in the Top 10, which were Fournette, Ezekiel Elliott went at 4, Gurley went at 10, McCaffrey went at 8. They’re the last four Top 10 backs. They’ve all helped their teams become better. I could make the case that this kid Barkley is the best of those guys, best of all five of them. He’s clean off the field. And he’ll be great in your locker room. I would be absolutely stunned if this kid doesn’t go in the Top 5
Q. I want to ask you about the Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough. Obviously, with his injury concerns, is this a guy that can really raise his draft stock at the combine? How do you assess him?
MIKE MAYOCK: I’m sorry. My phone just clicked out there. Can you tell me again? I thought I heard Alabama, but I didn’t hear anything after that.
Q. I was asking about running back Bo Scarbrough.
MIKE MAYOCK: Right.
Q. How do you assess him, the guy with his injury issues and kind of been up-and-down? Is he someone that can actually improve his draft stock at the combine?
MIKE MAYOCK: I think he’s a player the teams look at with question marks. The combine is important to him because of that. I don’t think he’s ever had more than 125 carries in a year. So he’s had a light workload, yet he’s been injured a lot. It’s a bad combination. Teams are going to want to get a look at him up close. They all know he’s a five-star recruit. They know what he looks like in the flesh. He’s a height, weight, speed guy that’s probably going to test very well. If he does, it begs the question, you know, where was the guy that played the final three or four games of the 2016 season? That’s the guy we want. I think it’s a combination of durability, trying to get to know this kid, his work ethic and passion for the game. I think a lot of that is going to determine where he goes. In my mind today, if I had to pick, I’d say he probably wasn’t going until the fourth round, if not later
Q. With University of Tennessee running back John Rev #1 by #206 at 2018-02-26 21:27:00 GMT page 17 of 18 Kelly, what do you feel like his stock is, and what can he do at the combine to improve it? Couple other Tennessee guys, Rashaan Gaulden and Kahlil McKenzie, what do you see as their stock?
MIKE MAYOCK: The L.A. kid is interesting, because you put the Florida tape on and you go: Wow, that was a good football game. You see contact balance, a burst acceleration. His last three games, I don’t know if it was him, his offensive line or a combination, but they just looked different. You hate to knock a kid when the whole team is struggling like it was at the end of the season. But they looked different at the end of the year. So I chose to take the Florida tape and say, okay, at his best, who is he? At his best, I thought he was a midround player. Best case third round. But I don’t really think that’s happened. I think best case, fourth round, realistically. Fourth or fifth round running back. I think if he runs well and catches the ball well at his Pro Day, that could really help him. Gaulden, the defensive back, he’s kind of interesting. I don’t know what he is. I watch him on tape. He plays nickel. He’s tough. He hustles to the football. He’s got some range. I want to see what he runs. He’s 6’1″. He might play corner. I don’t know. If he runs 4.48, he might be interesting as a long corner. He also might be interesting as a free safety. I know he can play special teams, and I kind of feel like right now he’s probably an early third-day pick. But I think he could help himself. Lot of people were surprised that McKenzie came out this early. Five-star recruit, pretty stout against the run. But right now there are more questions than answers about him. I’m guessing he’s going to come in and move pretty well because he’s got some movement skills. But, quite frankly, I was surprised he came out early.
Q. For the Ravens, how soon do you think they need to draft a quarterback to potentially replace Joe Flacco? And in this year’s draft, if they get one in the middle rounds, who are some guys that could fit?
MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, I think right now they’ve got Ryan Mallett, and I forget the third guy. Maybe Josh Woodrum or somebody? I forget.
Q. Yeah, they have Woodrum, but Mallett’s a free agent.
MIKE MAYOCK: I think there are two questions here when you’re talking about your quarterback Joe Flacco. One is, A, the quality of play, and B is the age. At this point, from an age perspective, I think he’s fine. I don’t think there’s been any noticeable deterioration. I’m not sure everybody’s excited with the way he’s played since the Super Bowl year. But I don’t think it’s an agerelated topic. I think they’re better on offense around them. But I do believe he and Matt Ryan came out in the same year. You start getting into the league for 10 or 12 years and you’re in your 30s, at some point you’ve got to start drafting a potential back-up. I think the Ravens have to be in the quarterback market, either with a third or fourth round potential player. We’ve talked about Mason Rudolph, Luke Falk, Mike White, Lauletta, Woodside, those kind of players. Or they’ve got to be looking to sign a veteran free agent just as insurance, or both.
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Article originally posted on Tha Sports Junkies 101.
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