NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock was busy Saturday on NFL Network reporting from the NFL Scouting Combine.
Here are some takeaways from the great one:
1. 'Red flags' around Clowney
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney doesn't work out until Monday, and while Mayock praised his talent -- Clowney has the potential to be "the most dominant player in the league," Mayock said -- he also is not sold on Clowney. Mayock reiterated that he would take Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack ahead of Clowney and openly questioned Clowney's intensity level. "I think there are red flags there" in regard to Clowney's work ethic, Mayock said. He also said it was possible Clowney does not go in the top five picks.
2. Offensive tackle class a great one
Mayock said each of the top three tackles -- Michigan's Taylor Lewan, Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Auburn's Greg Robinson -- "put on a show today" and described them as "big, strong, fast, highly athletic." Mayock seems to like Robinson the best and raved about his Saturday workouts, which included a 4.92 clocking in the 40-yard dash at 332 pounds. "He's saying, 'You know what, I am your top tackle,'" Mayock said of Robinson. He said Robinson has the highest ceiling of any offensive lineman in the draft. Lewan, who is 6-7, had the fastest 40 time among the linemen (4.87 seconds) and also the best broad jump (9 feet, 9 inches).
3. Sam a 3rd- to 5th-rounder
Missouri defensive end Michael Sam is another who won't work out until Monday, but Mayock and NFL Network host Rich Eisen were complimentary of Sam's news conference performance Saturday. Mayock was asked to discuss the X's and O's on Sam. "He's explosive and quick off the edge," Mayock said, but he has tweener size and lacks a linebacker skill set. Mayock said Sam fits as "a situational pass rusher and a core special-teamer" who should be drafted between the third and fifth rounds. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Sam is "somebody you can count on on third down" and compared him to Philadelphia's Trent Cole.
4. Tight ends disappoint
Mayock said he was disappointed in the showing by Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, who impressed onlookers with his bench press Friday but had a slower-than-expected time of 4.74 in the 40. Mayock said he thought Amaro would clock in the 4.55 range. He also noted that Amaro dropped some passes in drills and said, "I have to go back and look at my tape" of Amaro from the 2013 season.
Actually, Amaro's day sort of epitomized the day for all the tight ends: Mayock said he was disappointed in his four top tight ends. Amaro was slow and showed iffy hands. North Carolina's Eric Ebron didn't run as fast as expected and missed most of the drills. Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins has a foot issue and didn't participate in any of the drills, Notre Dame's Troy Niklas reportedly was just "80 percent" and didn't run the 40, though he did do the on-field drills. Oregon's Colt Lyerla is a fringe prospect because of his numerous off-field issues, but he was thought to be a great athlete. He was disappointing, too, Mayock said: "I thought he would make a bigger statement today." Mayock said the position as a whole is "really good up top" but lacks depth.
5. Ebron has high ceiling
Ebron didn't run as fast as he expected in the 40-yard dash, but he still had a 4.60 clocking, second-fastest among the tight ends. While Mayock was disappointed in that clocking -- he, like Ebron, expected around a 4.50 -- early in the day he had said Ebron is a "more complete football player" than San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis at the same stage of their careers. Ebron didn't participate in any of the drills because of a minor injury, and Mayock said Ebron's pro day would take on added significance now. Davis was a top-10 pick in 2006, and near the end of Saturday's telecast, Mayock said, "I don't think we're going to see a tight end in the top 10" this year.
6. Questions about Kouandjio
Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio (6-7, 322) is massive, has a high ceiling and is considered a likely first-rounder. He can be particularly dominant as a run blocker. "He's got all kinds of talent," Mayock said. But he also has what Mayock called "inconsistent tape" and didn't show all that well Saturday. He struggled in the so-called "mirror drill," and his best 40 time was a 5.59-second clocking, with his best 10-yard split an unofficial 1.87 seconds. "He ran a slow 10, and he ran a really slow 40," Mayock said, and for a potential first-rounder, "that's a red flag." Later, Mayock said, "You certainly want a starting left tackle to run better than that." There are some analysts who feel Kouandjio is a better fit on the right side in the NFL. His draft stock wasn't helped by reports Saturday that he'd failed several physicals at the combine.
7. Henderson inconsistent
Miami tackle Seantrel Henderson has incredible athletic gifts, especially for a guy who measures 6-7 and 331 pounds. He is mammoth and has a huge wingspan and excellent coordination. But he also had a checkered college career, including three suspensions, and has admitted issues with marijuana. And while he is a prototype left tackle, he couldn't handle that role at Miami and instead played mostly on the right side. Henderson flashed some of his athleticism Saturday, running the 40-yard dash in 5.01 seconds, including a 10-yard split of 1.71 seconds. (And remember those times were turned in by a guy who is 6-7 and 331 pounds.) Mayock said Henderson has "first-round talent," but he also said Henderson has "a lack of consistency both on and off the field" and could go anywhere from the second to the seventh round.
8. High on versatile Martin
Mayock is the color analyst on Notre Dame games during the season, and he has seen a lot of Irish offensive tackle Zack Martin. He obviously thinks highly of Martin: "I think he can start at all five positions on the offensive line." Some teams like Martin best at guard, and Mayock said if he were ranking Martin as a guard, "I would have him as my No. 1 guard." (UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo currently is Mayock's No. 1 guard.) Mayock also called Martin "a top-20 pick."
9. Nevada's Bitonio 'a hidden gem'
Mayock didn't hide his appreciation for Nevada offensive tackle Joel Bitonio (6-4, 302). Mayock called Bitonio "a hidden gem" and said he could be a second-round pick and an NFL starter. Bitonio played on the left side for the Wolf Pack, but there are some NFL teams who think he is a better fit on the right side or even at guard. Mayock isn't so sure: "I'd make him prove he can't play on the left side (at tackle) first" before any potential move. Bitonio tied for the fourth-fastest 40 time among the linemen, with a 4.97 clocking. Bitonio also had a broad jump of 9 feet, 6 inches, second-best among linemen. Mayock said, "He ran well and he did extremely well in the drills."
10. Hokies' Thomas is intriguing
Mayock said he was looking forward to seeing Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas' workouts Sunday. From a physical standpoint, "he's everything you want in a quarterback," Mayock said. Alas, as Mayock pointed out, there is a lot of bad tape from Thomas in his time with the Hokies.