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Mike Mayock tips NFL draft cap to four movers, shakers

  • By Simon Samano NFL.com
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NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock eats, sleeps and breathes game tape. We're almost positive a personalized film room, complete with toilet and shower, exists in the basement of his home.

So when draft day finally arrives, if there's only one analyst you should pay attention to, it's Mayock.

That being said, Mayock's winners after Thursday night's first round are as follows (in no particular order): the Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The common theme among all these teams is that none of them stood pat. All were involved in draft-day trades.

First, the Jaguars. They swapped first-round picks and gave up a fourth-rounder to the Buccaneers to move into Tampa Bay's No. 5 slot and draft Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon.

"It's a great pick," Mayock said. "The Jaguars have to give Blaine Gabbert an opportunity. They had nobody to throw to last year. Now all of a sudden, there is hope, because Justin Blackmon attacks defenders, attacks the football. He's powerful. He's as good as anybody I've ever seen in college football at elevating."

The Bucs moved into the Jaguars' No. 7 slot and selected Alabama safety Mark Barron.

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"Boy, is this a solid pick," Mayock said. "I love this kid because his floor and ceiling are the same thing. His ceiling is to be a Pro Bowl safety; his floor is to be a Pro Bowl safety. That's how good this young man is."

The Buccaneers weren't done dealing, though, trading with the Denver Broncos to move back into the first round and select Boise State running back Doug Martin. It isn't Trent Richardson, but it turns out LeGarrette Blount will have competition anyway, coming from a guy with whom Mayock is impressed.

"This makes a ton of sense," Mayock said. "He's a three-down back. When I put the tape on, for 229 pounds, he's got a surprising burst. He's patient, too, behind the offensive line. I really like him."

Not to be outdone in making two first-round picks were the Patriots and Vikings.

As far as Mayock is concerned, New England did itself a huge favor in trading up twice to land impact defensive players Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower.

"Bill Belichick's M.O. is to trade down," Mayock said. "However, I believe Bill knows a thoroughbred when he sees one. He knows that defense is what they lacked in last year. So all of a sudden, they get one of the best linebackers in this draft to go with one of the best pass rushers."

The Vikings might have outshined all of Mayock's winners, though. They traded back one slot to No. 4 and still got their guy, offensive tackle Matt Kalil, while adding three additional picks from the Browns. And then knowing they had a bunch of extra picks, the Vikings moved back into the first round after trading with the Baltimore Ravens to select Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith at No. 29.

"This is a pick I really like," Mayock said. "They haven't had a safety in Minnesota since Darren Sharper left for New Orleans. Smith will step in right now. I think he's the best pure zone safety in the draft."

We confident in calling Mayock the best pure draft analyst in the business. So feel good if you're a fan of the Jaguars, Patriots, Vikings or Buccaneers. Mayock believes your team just got much better after Round 1.

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