NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock answered questions about the 2016 NFL Draft for two hours on a teleconference Tuesday and went into extensive analysis of the needs for various teams and how those needs might be met. College Football 24/7 compiled a quick look at some of Mayock's commentary connecting specific players with specific clubs, not just for first-round picks but later rounds as well.
"They're another team, sitting at (pick No.) 10, that has to look at an edge rusher. Noah Spence could be squarely in the middle of that conversation," Mayock said. "And the Giants typically don't take a lot of risks and he's one of the riskiest guys in the draft. But he's also one of the best edge rushers."
A year after former coach Chip Kelly put the franchise in the hands of Sam Bradford, a new regime just might be ready to put it in the hands of someone else.
"If I'm the Eagles, my priority list is quarterback No. 1. I don't know what they're going to do with Sam Bradford, but they'd better figure it out. And if they think there's a franchise quarterback at No. 13, they'd better take him," Mayock said. "My belief is that (Jared) Goff and (Carson) Wentz will be gone. The question is if Paxton Lynch is there. If Paxton Lynch is there at No. 13, and they believe he's the guy, they'd better take him even if he doesn't play one snap his first year."
With Ameer Abdullah being more of a speedy back who can excel on the perimeter and catch passes, a bigger back with more power could be in the Lions' draft plans. But with running back being a position that could offer intriguing value later in the draft, top-shelf options like Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry might not be the best move for the Lions, especially if Abdullah is already a valued piece of the backfield puzzle.
"I think a guy like C.J. Prosise from Notre Dame, about a 220, 222-pound player, (could fit the Lions). What I like about him is he was a wide receiver until this past year and jumped in at tailback and looked completely natural at the position," Mayock said. "So I think he's probably a fourth-round guy. I like his size. I like his speed, and I like his upside. He might make some sense paired with (Ameer) Abdullah."
"He can create and change a direction, can play press, can play off. If he went eighth to Miami, I think it would be a heck of a pick. He's that good," Mayock said.
Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith's medical evaluation at the combine will be crucial, particularly given the severity of his knee injury and it's late-season timing (Fiesta Bowl). Mayock said clubs will be looking to determine whether Smith's recovery will take the typical track of ACL rehabilitation, or if any potential complications might result in further delaying the start of Smith's pro career. One possible fit? Chicago.
"If (Smith) has a clean medical and you know you're going to get him for a half season-plus (as a rookie) and he's going to be fine, yeah, I think you pull the trigger on a kid like that," Mayock said.
Speculation that the Browns will renew their search for a franchise quarterback with the No. 2 pick is rampant, but what might the club's plans be in subsequent rounds? Wide receiver is one direction the club figures to go, particularly if a new quarterback is the plan at No. 2. Mayock believes Ohio State's Michael Thomas and TCU's Josh Doctson could be "logical" choices for the Browns if their wide receiver investment comes in Round 2.
"I think Pharoh Cooper is a really interesting guy with the ball in his hands from South Carolina, a slot/return guy. Tyler Boyd from Pittsburgh (is a) second- or third-round guy, a tough guy. There are just some names that could be interesting to the Vikings in the second and third (rounds)."
A year after drafting a pass rusher No. 3 overall in Dante Fowler and losing him in minicamp to a knee injury, could the club be looking at yet another pass rusher with another top-five pick in 2016? Don't count out the possibility. Mayock mentioned Ohio State's Joey Bosa as a solid option for the club, but suggested the secondary might be the more obvious area for the Jaguars to address.
"I think they'd have to be looking at Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves and trying to figure out where those guys fit. I think they need a center, but I think you can address that later," Mayock said. "They've got to be looking at the edge guys. Bosa, will he fall to them? (DeForest) Buckner, you know all the names sitting right there, but I think Jalen Ramsey, Joey Bosa, Hargreaves, they're all logical conversations at No. 5."
Priority No. 1 for the Colts? It easily could be more effective protection of quarterback Andrew Luck. The elite pass protectors like Laremy Tunsil and Ronnie Stanley aren't likely to be around with the No. 18 pick, but there are other possibilities for Indianapolis to keep Luck on his feet. Mayock suggested Michigan State's Jack Conklin or Ohio State's Taylor Decker as potential fits in Indianapolis.
The Bills aren't an easy team to project from a needs standpoint, particulary with them not picking until No. 19 overall. However, the defensive line is an area Mayock believes Buffalo might address.
"How about Sheldon Rankins at No. 19? We keep talking about what a pass-first league this is, and it certainly has become that. So anybody that can create immediate interior pressure has got higher value than he did five years ago. Rankins is one of those kind of guys," Mayock said.
"If they were going to take one at No. 25, it would have to be the kid from Arkansas, Hunter Henry. Do I think it's too early? Not necessarily. I think the kid could step in, he can play in line, he can flex, he can block, and he's a very good pass receiver. He's a late-one to mid-two, and I think he would fit with what Pittsburgh likes to do," Mayock said.
Without a first-round pick, and with their usual late-position in the draft order following a successful season, the Patriots will be waiting deep into Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) to make their first pick. And as long as Tom Brady is around, new blood at wide receiver will be a viable consideration. Mayock suggested Will Fuller of Notre Dame or Josh Doctson of TCU as second-round possibilities for New England. If they wait until Round 3? "Rashard Higgins maybe from Colorado State," said Mayock, who has been impressed with film of the former CSU star nicknamed "Hollywood."
"I think Ronnie Stanley is a Day 1 starter and would be a solid option for Baltimore at No. 6," Mayock said.