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Mayock: Prepare for 'confusing' quarterback draft

We're a week away from the NFL Scouting Combine, and it's completely unclear what April's draft will bring.

"I'm not seeing the difference-makers at the top end," said NFL Network's Mike Mayock during a visit to "The Rich Eisen Podcast."

Mayock -- faithfully grinding his way through film of this year's prospects -- had plenty to say about a quarterback group drawing nothing but lukewarm-at-best reviews after last year's class fascinated from start to finish.

We'll get out of the way and let you hear from Mayock himself. And be sure to check out Eisen's entire podcast, because there's plenty more where this came from:

On the uneven quarterback class: "Over the last several years, we've had defined quarterback play at the top, and we still talk about them ad nauseam. Everybody laughed at me last year at this time. I was trying to tell people Ryan Tannehill was not only going to be a first-round pick, but he might be a top 10 guy. And that's what happens with these quarterbacks. And I don't know who the best quarterback is yet, and I don't know if there's a first-round quarterback. Yet I hear all these people talk about Geno Smith going No. 1. So I'm fascinated. This is going to be, by far, the most confusing quarterback draft we've had in years."

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On Matt Barkley: "I'll tell you where I am with him. I'm confused, because I watched a lot of his tape a year ago, and the two things I knew was that he didn't take sacks and he didn't throw interceptions. And this year, man the tape is different. And he can make every throw and he's got a good but not a great arm; he's smart; but he makes a bunch of bad decisions and throws, which is what I thought this kid wouldn't do."

On Geno Smith as the first overall pick in the draft: "I have a hard time buying into that. ... I couldn't even pound the table today for first-round quarterback, let alone a first-pick quarterback. I watched a bunch of Geno Smith and he can make every throw, he's athletic, the ball jumps out of his hand. But there's a lot of things that make me nervous about him. He misses people by wide margins for no reason. I see a little bit of hesitancy with the blitz and pressure. When that first read is not there, it's not as pretty on the second and third read. His eyes come down, he makes mistakes."

On this year's hidden gem at QB: "I don't have him. I don't have him. And I mean, trust me, I'm looking for him."

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On Alabama prospects: "I'm never a big believer that you knock a kid on past performance, or raise a kid on past performance. But I will tell you this: I find myself looking at the Alabama kids, and feeling like I know what I'm getting with them. I know that they're being coached hard, they're playing against SEC competition every year, and I kind of look at the Alabama kids, and I go, 'OK.' I'm almost unconsciously placing them higher because I know what kind of performance I'm going to get from them. So, I'm in effect rewarding them for where they went to school."

On draft depth: "I think we've got more depth for the first three rounds than maybe any time you and I have done this draft, but I'm not seeing the difference-makers at the top end. Every year we've had a quarterback or a Von Miller -- I'm not seeing the explosive difference-makers at the top end of this draft, and I'm not sure the fifth pick is that much better than the 20th pick or the 30th pick. The good news is there's a lot of depth here."

Best player on tape: "The best player I've seen on tape is the guard from Alabama, Chance Warmack. Now, he's not going No. 1, but he's the best football player."

Do yourself a favor and download the entire podcast at or subscribe on iTunes. And don't forget to submit your very own #RunRichRun video.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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