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Mike Mayock: Playing draft matchmaker for 19 NFL teams

  • By Andy Fenelon NFL.com
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While Rich Eisen is on a quest to break 6 seconds in the 40, it appears his NFL Network colleague is pacing for a three-hour conference call with reporters next year.

On Tuesday, Mayock spent 2 hours and 40 minutes talking everything NFL draft with a gaggle of reporters attempting to bring a local angle back to their readers. And Mayock didn't disappoint, hitting on 19 of the 32 NFL teams, many times connecting specific prospects with the clubs.

Below are the 19 teams, ordered by division, and what Mayock had to say about each:

AFC East

Jets: Pick of WR litter

"They need some talent out there, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Jets pick multiple wide receivers this year. If you are sitting there at 18, I think you can have any one of three receivers sitting there. Marqise Lee fits in that side, then helps in the return game, versus the two big-bodied guys, (Mike) Evans and (Kelvin) Benjamin. I think all three of them are talented enough to work with that group.

"(Jeremy) Kerley is already a slot, (Santonio) Holmes is at the end of his career, Stephen Hill is an outside guy. I just think you pick less about Xs and Os (than you do about) which guy is the best football player.

"My perspective would be you can't go wrong with either Marqise Lee or Mike Evans."

Patriots: Amaro or Hageman if still on board

"Sitting there at 29 and obviously depending on how you look at this thing and what type of defensive tackle they are looking for, Louis Nix and (Timmy) Jernigan are probably gone. Then (Dominique) Easley, the kid I really like from Florida, tore an ACL, his second ACL, so he's not going to go. He's one of those picks that the Patriots tend to get in like the third or fourth round for value, a first-round guy later on.

"(Ra'Shede) Hageman from Minnesota is the big question mark there. If he's still on the board, because he's an explosive kid, he could play a couple different slots and coach (Bill) Belichick likes those versatile guys. He's had some off-the-field questions attached to him but he's got a ton of ability and talent. If Hageman was sitting there, I think he'd be really interesting.

"Now, the flipside of that is what happens with the tight ends. The North Carolina kid (Eric Ebron) is going to be long gone, and then there's a lot of different varying opinions on what you're looking for. (Austin) Seferian Jenkins is built like (Rob) Gronkowski, whereas (Jace) Amaro from Texas Tech is built more like (Aaron) Hernandez.

"There are a lot of people that like Amaro and point to him as that kind of guy. Depending on what you're looking for -- and that's probably the kind of guy they are looking for -- if he's sitting there and they like him, he would be logical at 29, and I think the other guy would be Hageman. Outside of that, I think the other top guys are going to be gone."

AFC North

Bengals: Cornerback, but which one?

"I think (Darqueze) Dennard and (Justin) Gilbert will be gone before Cincinnati is on the clock. You hear me talk about flavors all the time, and with corners, that's very true. What type of flavor are you looking for?

"There are a lot of (cornerbacks) with potential first-round talent out there -- the (Loucheiz) Purifoy kid from Florida, but he's had some off-the-field issues; (Marcus) Roberson from Florida had some injuries; Bradley Roby from Ohio State, some real good tape, some not-so-good tape.

"I am a Kyle Fuller guy. I think he makes a ton of sense (for the Bengals) but we need to see what he runs (at the combine). I have him ranked higher than most of the corners out there."

Browns: Which QB at No. 4?

"I'm not sure the Browns know yet who the best one of those three (top quarterbacks) is. On one hand, you talk about being in that division, you have to be able to throw the ball in the wind and the cold. You have to have big hands.

"There's a lot of stuff about quarterback in those conditions. I think all of those top three quarterbacks could play for the Browns. Blake Bortles is kind of a bigger, stronger guy, and people think he's got the biggest arm. I'm not sure if he does or not. I want to see him live.

"But I also think he's the least developed of the three. I think (Teddy) Bridgewater is the most ready to play NFL-style quarterback in this draft. He was in the shotgun (at Louisville), they threw the ball short, intermediate and deep. He understands three-step, five-step and he reads more than just half a field. You can put the tape in and watch him do things and say, 'Yeah, that translates to the next level.' He's not as much a wild card as (Johnny) Manziel, and I think he's more developed in his reads and throws than Bortles.

"Manziel has got that 'it' factor where I don't think it matters if it's Cleveland, Seattle, Dallas, warm weather, cold weather, whatever. I think he's just going to be who he is.

"(Sammy) Watkins would be awesome there. I think they can get a running back in a bunch of different places, given the number of picks the Browns have. I'm all in on that kid, he can really play.

"(Derek) Carr would be an interesting guy at 26. I didn't love his USC tape in the bowl game at all, but I do believe he's got the arm strength and athletic ability to be a starter in the NFL. I don't think he's a Pro Bowl-type starter but he's a competent starter. You've got to ask yourself, at 26, are you getting significant improvement over what you think Brian Hoyer is, because if you're not, then you need to move on and get another positional player."

Ravens: Receiver makes sense

"I really believe when the Ravens get on the clock, that probably at least one, if not two of those three (top receivers), will be available, and they bring different things to the table. (Marqise) Lee can play inside or outside. He's a dangerous kickoff-return guy. (Mike) Evans and (Kelvin) Benjamin are kind of today's flavor in the NFL, those 6-foot-5, 230-pound wide receivers.

"If there's a wide receiver there, I think it makes a ton of sense. Secondly, if all three of those top (tackles) are gone -- (Jake) Matthews, (Greg) Robinson and (Taylor) Lewan -- then I go back to Zack Martin. The reason I like Martin is because he can play all those positions and Baltimore has got a player that's playing guard for them now, an all-pro guard that was projected to tackle; they have done pretty darn well with him.

"I would be really surprised if (Eric) Ebron was still there, but if he was, I would jump all over that. (Austin) Seferian Jenkins would make sense to me, also.

"At 16 in this year's draft, I really believe somebody -- it could be the third tackle, it could be the second wide receiver or the third wide receiver -- there's going to be somebody that gets to them where you go, 'Wow, that's a great football player.'"

Steelers: Nose tackle top need

"If you're going to live at 3-4 (defensive scheme, which they do, the nose tackle position is pretty important. They like (Steve) McClendon. He's a pretty interesting guy. The only guy that's even worth looking at that early would be Louis Nix, and you have to buy into the fact you're going to (need) a significant number of snaps from him, and I'm not sure you can.

"Kyle Fuller makes a lot of sense for what they do and how they do it. He plays a lot like the kid they lost to New Orleans (Keenan Lewis) as a free agent. You would have to buy into (Louis) Nix at 15 if you were going to go there, but Fuller I like. Jason Verrett is a second-round corner and a nickel, I like him, also."

AFC South

Jaguars: Lots of needs

"I'm a believer in Jedd Fisch, the offensive coordinator, and one of the better young coaches. If they do fall in love with one of those quarterbacks, is he available at three? That's the first question. Their second need after quarterback becomes an edge rusher. (Jadeveon) Clowney or (Khalil) Mack to me make a ton of sense.

"So I think quarterback, edge, and then I don't know what's going to happen with Justin Blackmon coming off suspension. At some point I think they have to deal with the wide receiver issues and then some offensive line depth, especially inside."

Texans: Lots of options

"If there's a quarterback they fall in love with and they say, 'He's our guy for the next 10 years,' you don't even think about trading down, you pull the trigger and you go to work with him and he's the face of your franchise.

"If you're concerned about all three of the (top) quarterbacks, then the next question is: Who is the best position player in this draft and how does that fit with our needs? And if somebody wants to come and trade with us, we ought to be wide open for business.

"If they took the (Jadeveon) Clowney kid and paired him with J.J. (Watt), that would be pretty awesome and it would start to kind of parallel what Seattle tried to do, which is getting talented pass rushers and getting after quarterbacks.

"If they went after the wide receiver (Sammy Watkins) at No. 1, would it be surprising? Yeah, but that kid is special."

AFC West

Broncos: Joyner a good fit

"I think if you're talking at the back end (of the first round) at safety, a guy like Lamarcus Joyner from Florida State could be there. He's an explosive, quick-switch athlete that can play safety or nickel. He played mostly corner at Florida State and he's got some special-teams ability, also.

"And then that whole middle linebacker thing is interesting to me. Most people would say it's a little high, a little rich for Chris Borland, but I don't believe that. I think Borland could step in and immediately stabilize that whole situation."

Raiders: QB vs. best available?

"What makes the most sense is a quarterback if there's one there (at No. 5) they believe in and I don't think there's any doubt there will be. I was sitting here the other day looking at the Raiders' roster, and in big letters I wrote, 'No. 5: Quarterback,' then 'Best player available.'

"They have got to get the quarterback, if possible. They have so many needs that I think they can't get all locked into, 'Oh, we have to get a wideout with the second-round pick or we have to get an offensive lineman.' They have got to get football players."

NFC East

Eagles: Need an edge rusher

"I thought their defensive coordinator and their defensive staff did a phenomenal job last year because they had a group of guys that they just kind of signed off the streets as free agents, and that defense went from a very much a below-average defense to a playoff defense by the end of the season, without a lot of talent.

"They need an edge guy at some point in this draft, and then (a pick) on the back end. The biggest need of this defense is they need people everywhere. I love (Brandon) Boykin, but I think he's best inside. They need a safety or two, they need a corner or two.

"(Khalil) Mack is a top 10 player; I actually think he's a top-5 player. I think (Anthony) Barr has got considerable upside and will be off the board before the Eagles pick. The one guy that's kind of interesting, and it might be a little bit high, but Dee Ford from Auburn is kind of that edge-rush guy. He doesn't have as much length as you might like, and he might be more comparable to Bruce Irvin when Seattle took him two years ago. He's a guy with some real edge burst that would fit what the Eagles do."

Giants: In good position

"Wide receiver and tackles make a lot of sense right there. Regardless, sitting at 12, you're either going to get the third tackle or the second or third wideout if you were interested in that wideout.

"Taylor Lewan is a guy that can get there and if he got there, I'd jump all over him. And if all three (top tackles) were gone, you could still make a case for Zack Martin. I think he's a better. He's very similar to Justin Pugh, who they took a year ago, but I think he's a better prospect. Then I'd also be wide open to looking at that wide receiver position and looking at Marqise Lee, Mike Evans, (and Kelvin Benjamin). Sitting at 12, they could get one of those three."

Redskins: No first-round pick

"That's a tough one sitting at 35 and you have no idea who is off the board. I know Jay (Gruden) really well and Jay loves to throw the football, but from a Washington perspective, you've got Pierre (Garcon) and beyond that? (Aldrick) Robinson, is he going to develop?

"At 35, wide receiver kind of matches up with who Jay wants to be and Jay wants three, four, five quality wideouts, and he wants to push the ball down the field. He sits there early in the second round and who is going to be there, (Jarvis) Landry? I would sprint to the podium if I could get Landry at 35. (Odell) Beckham, Brandin Cooks from Oregon State, there are really good football players and wide receivers who can contribute immediately."

NFC North

Bears: Could go defensive end

When you're looking at the pure 4-3 ends in this draft, they are few and far between. (Jadeveon) Clowney is going to be gone, and if (Kony) Ealy is there at 14, he's a good pick. In the second and third rounds, the logical guys are from Oregon State and maybe even Trent Murphy from Stanford.

NFC South

Buccaneers: Mack could be nice fit

"First and foremost, they need an edge guy. If (Khalil) Mack was sitting there, he and an offensive tackle would be of interest to me. Now, what I think is interesting on top of that, is they also need a new-age tight end ... went (TE at) No. 7 and gave your quarterback another weapon, I'd be all for it."

Falcons: Pass rusher, then tackle

"I personally think they need to get an edge guy at six if they can and then go get the tackle later. But, if you want to know about those tackles, I think the safest pick in the offensive line is Jake Matthews from A&M. He's already a professional. He's got a skill set, you plug him in Day 1 and he'll play at a high level.

"Greg Robinson from Auburn might have the highest upside of any of the offensive linemen in this draft but he's not quite as polished as Matthews or Taylor Lewan. Lewan gets a little top heavy at times but he's got a nasty finish. I think he's very similar to (Eric) Fisher and (Luke) Joeckel from last year.

"If I'm an Atlanta fan, I'm rooting for three quarterbacks to go as fast as possible so I'm left with nothing but great position players."

Saints: O-line needs addressing

"At 27, late in the first round, who is left?

"I think they have got to get better on that offensive line again. They have had issues there the last couple of years, and when they are really good, Drew Brees can step up in the pocket. So at 27, it's just a matter of being nimble, trying to find who is the best offensive lineman left, with some of the guards, might make some sense, like the (David) Yankey kid from Stanford. And who knows what's going to happen with Jimmy Graham, if they re-sign him."

NFC West

Cardinals: OT in first round?

"I think Zack Martin is going somewhere in that range, plus or minus 20. If he's available, do the Cardinals buy into him as a tackle? The beauty in this kid is he can play all five positions in the NFL and some teams look at him as a Pro Bowl guard. Therefore, playing him at tackle doesn't make much sense.

"If not Martin, I think the next guy is (Cyrus) Kouandjio from Alabama; I think he's going to be a guy that can go somewhere between 20 to 30. If you're not going to jump on a tackle in the first round, you can get one into the second round, even later into the second round.

"Morgan Moses, Brandon Thomas from Clemson, they would probably go late second round. There's a guy named Joel Bitonio from Nevada that most of the fans out there never heard of; he's going to be a second- or third-round tackle that starts immediately. Jack Mewhort from Ohio State -- second- or third-round starting tackle.

"My point is, I think at 20, sometimes you've got to identify the best player that's there, as opposed to just what your need is, and I think whether they get the tackle at 20 or in the second or third round, they can get a good one."

Rams: O-line focus

"They probably have to go offensive line unless they take Sammy Watkins, so Jake Matthews could be logical there."

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