NFL.com’s draft analyst Mike Mayock hosted a 2.5 hour conference call where he touched on a wide range of topics including depth of positions, particular team needs, and individual player evaluations. Here are some of the highlights of the conference call:
-Draft is different than most years, due in large part to large number of early entries.
-Better depth than the last few years
-No difference makers in the top 10
-Isn’t a great difference between having the 5th or 6th pick and the 25th pick in terms of talent.
-Major holes in the the quarterback class, no quarterback he would really like in the top 19 picks.
-Has 6 offensive tackles, 6 defensive tackles, and two guards with first round grades. Just one cornerback and two wide receivers have first round grades.
-Offensive line, defensive line and safety depth considered “outstanding”
-Success of read-option has not changed the importance of speed at the combine. To find the next Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson, the quarterback has to be a starting caliber as a pocket passer.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs should choose from one of G Chance Warmack, G Jonathan Cooper, T Luke Joeckel, and T Eric Fisher in the first round. Target a quarterback or a wide receiver in the 2nd round. If a quarterback is falling in the late first round they should consider trading back-up. Quarterbacks like Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib, and Landry Jones some of the quarterback options that fit Andy Reid’s west coast offense the best.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jaguars need an outside pass rusher more than an interior guy, should be their top target in the draft. Not a perfect fit among defensive ends for them. Sharrif Floyd could be a good fit, but again need more of an outside guy.
Oakland Raiders: Really like where Reggie Mckenzie and Dennis Allen are headed. They both want football players first, athletes second. That is from the Green Bay Packers school of thought, and sees the team headed in the right direction.
Philadelphia Eagles: Shouldn’t target a quarterback early. Offensive line a major question, while tackles are obvious could grab a top guard as well. Defensively, Philadelphia is set at 5 techniques with Cox and Jenkins (though likes Jenkins better as a DT in a 4-3). Thinks Antonio Dixon can be a fit at NT, if that is the case the focus needs to be linebackers and safeties. Feels that safety needs to be addressed, otherwise it won’t matter what moves are made upfront. Feels many of the former DE’s would be better in 4-3 (Curry and Hunt specifically), meaning the team will need to address the position.
Detroit LIons: Lions need an edge rusher, notes that Jarvis Jones could be a fit in as a 4-3 OLB who can rush the quarterback. Would make sense if his medicals check out.
Cleveland Browns: Shouldn’t draft a quarterback in the first round, and perhaps not even later since they don’t have a 2nd round pick. If Tyler Wilson or Tyler Bray are on the board in the third they could be options, but probably not perfect fits. Cleveland should look at an edge rusher, Jarvis Jones great option if he passes medical.
St. Louis Rams: Great position to be in with two mid first round picks. Offensive line, safety, outside linebacker, wide receiver and tight end should be their targets. If they can land either Kenny Vaccaro or Lane Johnson with the 16th pick they should take him. A tight end would be a great pick for their other 1st round pick.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Should look at Eddie Lacy given how he fits their system. If Jarvis Jones falls he’d be a great fit for them.
Washington Redskins: Vaccaro and Elam should be off the board, but Jonathan Cyprien would be a great pick-up for them at 51, and he could play free safety. Some corner options could include Logan Ryan, Wreh-Wilson, Marc Anthony, Robert Alford, and B.W. Webb.