CFB 24/7  

 

What we learned from Mayock's 2017 NFL Draft rankings 2.0

Print

Here are six things we learned from NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock's latest positional top-five draft rankings, which were released on Tuesday:

2017 NFL DRAFT

1. Fournette over the top. LSU RB Leonard Fournette debuted at No. 2 in Mayock's running back rankings, but overtook Florida State's Dalvin Cook for the No. 1 spot in the second edition of the rankings. Fournette's 4.51-second 40-yard dash at 240 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine was certainly an impressive feat, even if his 28.5-inch vertical jump was less than inspiring. Fournette's momentum as the draft's top back has also been underscored by NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly, who polled 20 NFL clubs and drew 13 preferences for Fournette over Cook among them. ... Not to be forgotten in Mayock's shuffle at running back: Cook slid to the No. 3 spot, also falling behind Stanford's Christian McCaffrey.

2. Status quo at QB. There was no movement at quarterback in Mayock's rankings, indicating the analyst didn't see anything from the signal-callers at the NFL Scouting Combine, or Deshaun Watson's pro day, to move the needle. Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer remains in the No. 1 spot.

3. Peppers makes a move. Cook wasn't the only prospect previously ranked No. 1 at his position to fall to No. 3. Another was Ohio State's Malik Hooker, who slipped to No. 3 among safeties and gave way to Michigan's Jabrill Peppers for the top spot. The players have different styles: Hooker is the more classic free safety with the range and instincts to play the deep part of the field, while Peppers is the more versatile option, bringing college experience at multiple positions, including linebacker, and offering return skills as well. They also played for rival schools, so Mayock's update provides Buckeyes and Wolverines fans with a ready-made barstool debate.

4. Jones moved to special exception list. Washington CB Sidney Jones suffered an Achilles tendon injury at UW's pro day workout earlier this month, and the once-projected first-round pick is now subject to a significant draft slide. Mayock bumped Jones off the list of cornerbacks, allowing for Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore to rise to the No. 1 ranking, and placed Jones on his list of special exceptions. That was just the beginning of a big shuffle among Mayock's top corners. His top five lost some SEC flavor with the exits of Florida's Teez Tabor and LSU's Tre'Davious White (Alabama's Marlon Humphrey remains), and added Washington's Kevin King (No. 3), OSU's Gareon Conley (No. 4) and UCLA's Fabian Moreau (No. 5).

5. Extra nickels. The 2.0 version of Mayock's rankings adds nickelbacks as a separate category. With the primary responsibility of covering slot receivers while also maintaining a presence as a run defender, nickelback play demands a skill set that is something of a cross between a cornerback and a safety. The best five for the role, per Mayock: 1) Washington's Budda Baker, 2) Colorado's Chidobe Awuzie, 3) Michigan's Jourdan Lewis, 4) Iowa's Desmond King and 5) San Diego State's Damontae Kazee.

6. Mixon falls from RB list. Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon was moved to the special exceptions list, allowing room for former Sooners teammate Samaje Perine to crack the list at No. 5. Mixon's draft status is complicated by character concerns and an uncertainty about how many NFL clubs will remove him from their draft boards.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop