We're a week away from the 2014 NFL Draft and before he jumped on a flight to New York City, NFL Media Analayst Mike Mayock sat down for a marathon chat with the media about top prospects, what direction teams will go, potential first-round picks and everything else.
All told, the veteran media analyst took 72 questions over two hours and amazingly had just one brief bathroom break in between. Here's a sampling of some of the top draft nuggets he discussed:
» Mayock: "I'm not sure you want to go up and get anybody in this draft. Can't give up picks."
» Mayock knows the Giants at No. 12 will have options and could be looking at Martin, Ebron and Evans.
» The Ravens are frequently mentioned as a team that could move around in the draft, and Mayock believes the team will likely make a move since a number of the first- or second-rated players at various positions will be gone by the time they pick at No. 17 in the first round. He believes Brandin Cooks would be a good option at wide receiver for Baltimore.
» As for the Eagles, Mayock thinks Jimmie Ward and Lamarcus Joyner could be selections for the team in the second round as they look to beef up their defense. One issue for the club is they need a safety who can play both the free and strong spots. If Anthony Barr or Clinton-Dix start to slide, they could be worth the team trading up to get.
» New Orleans is a good football team in Mayock's eyes and could be in position to get USC wideout Marqise Lee or a top corner. The analyst thinks they will focus on drafting the best player instead of reaching for someone.
» Mayock believes Seattle is in a good position to trade back and pick up additional picks as other teams try to get ahead of Houston picking a quarterback atop the second round.
» On Clowney: "There are times where he just kind of disappears. If you're that good, why do you disappear in some games?"
» One of the fastest-rising signal-callers, Tom Savage, throws the ball as well as anybody in the draft, according to the analyst. Mayock isn't a believer that he can go on the first day and sees him more as a third- or fourth-rounder.
» Antone Exum of Virginia Tech is being looked at by teams as both a safety and corner, according to Mayock. His teammate Kyle Fuller is one of Mayock's favorite players in the draft.
» Mayock believes six wideouts could go in the first round. After Watkins and Evans, the analyst sees Beckham and Cooks as the next two off the board in the 13 to 20 range. Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin and USC's Lee could be the next names heard after those four.
» All six first-round wide receivers and offensive tackles could be gone by pick 28, when the the Carolina Panthers are on the clock. Both are big positions of need for the franchise.
» Mayock believes Notre Dame's Martin is the only player in the draft that can play all offensive line positions at a high level in the NFL. "He's awesome and is about as safe a player as there is in this draft. You better get him early." There's no way he'll make it to the Dolphins, who select 19th overall.
» "I don't think there's any doubt the running back position has been devalued." Mayock doesn't have a running back in the first round. He said Ohio State's Carlos Hyde and LSU's Jeremy Hill are both three-down backs and the off-the-field issues could affect the latter's value.
» Mike Evans is what today's NFL "is all about," according to Mayock, but he has Watkins rated higher because the Clemson product is a better overall football player.
» Mayock's favorite name in the draft, Canadian offensive tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is "really intriguing" and could be a fourth- or fifth-round pick for some team.
» Ten quarterbacks have first-, second- or third-round grades, according to Mayock. That's the most he's ever had, but just about all of them need a "redshirt" year. Aaron Murray and Manziel could be the only two that can start right away in the NFL.
» Among the two quarterbacks coming off ACL injuries, Mayock would be surprised if Zach Mettenberger doesn't go in the second round and says he has an impressive arm. Murray might play the position better than anybody in the draft, however he likely ends up in the third round.
» Mayock continues to struggle with Teddy Bridgewater's evaluation. He watched four games prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, saw him live at his pro day, and then watched a few other games of him on tape. "It was one instance where I struggled tape versus live, and I think some other teams are struggling, too." It will be a surprise if he goes in the first round and Mayock thinks he needs a year of seasoning.
» AJ McCarron is "better than the average Alabama quarterback," and has a chance to be a starting QB in the league.
» Per Mayock, Logan Thomas is intriguing because "somebody will want to put Humpty Dumpty back together again." Considers him a third- or fourth-round pick.
» San Jose State's David Fales is a quarterback that will "wear a baseball cap for 10 years" as a backup and who can compete for a starting job. Mayock sees him going in the fourth round or later.
» Defensive end Will Clarke is one of the fastest risers in the draft. Mayock has him as a third-round pick.