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What we learned from Mayock's NFL Combine teleconference

The Cleveland Browns' ideal scenario for the Nos. 1 and 12 picks of the 2017 NFL Draft doesn't involve one of the top quarterback prospects available, and requires a trading partner in the New England Patriots. But if they can make it happen, says NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock, the Browns should be thrilled.

"If I'm the Cleveland Browns, and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either (Myles) Garrett or Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the No. 12 pick to get (Jimmy) Garoppolo, I would be stoked," Mayock said on Monday during a media teleconference. "I would feel like I got a difference maker on defense, and we've got a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We've got five of the first 65 picks -- let's get to work. ... If they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."

The Browns certainly have a big need at the quarterback position, but whether any of the top passers available in the draft are worth the No. 1 or even the No. 12 pick is questionable. As for Garoppolo, he's short on NFL-game experience, but there is heavy speculation that the Patriots could move the former second-round pick. NFL Network analyst and former Washington Redskins general manager Charley Casserly believes Garoppolo's a better quarterback than any of the draft options.

As for the No. 1 pick, Mayock believes either Texas A&M's Garrett or Alabama's Allen would be good choices for the Browns at the top of the draft -- Garrett for a big impact on the edge of the defense, and Allen for a more versatile presence who can be disruptive in the interior. Mayock described Garrett as the prospect with the higher ceiling of the two, while Allen is the safer selection.

Here are seven other things we learned Monday from Mayock's teleconference with reporters:

  1. NFL clubs will begin to get a better idea of what Michigan's versatile defensive star, Jabrill Peppers, can do in the pros at the NFL Scouting Combine (March 3-6 on NFL Network) this week. It's not an easy read, because he played everywhere from cornerback to safety to linebacker in his Wolverines career, along with a few other positions. Two specific things club officials will want to see at the combine from the potential first-round pick: sub-4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, and hip flexibility in position drills. "Show a defensive back's skill set," Mayock said. "... The more he can do to show people he can be a starting safety from day one and also be a dime linebacker, the better."
  1. Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes' draft stock is making a climb even before he gets to the NFL Scouting Combine this week, and he's looking like a viable first-round candidate. Although Mayock ranks Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer as the draft's top quarterback, he spoke of Mahomes Monday on relatively equal terms with Kizer, Clemson's Deshaun Watson and UNC's Mitch Trubisky.

4.*Let there be no doubt: It's a big year for running backs in the 2017 draft. Five of them are worthy of a first-round grade (LSU'sLeonard Fournette, FSU'sDalvin Cook, Stanford'sChristian McCaffrey, Oklahoma'sJoe Mixon, Tennessee'sAlvin Kamara*), per Mayock. As for which will actually get a first-round draft call come April 27, Mayock sees Fournette, Cook and McCaffrey as first-round selections.

  1. USC CB Adoree' Jackson is one of the draft's most exciting athletes, but has a technique deficit that will require some development. Still, that doesn't mean he can't bring some immediate excitement as a rookie. "Whether he's a nickel or outside, I'm all in on the kid," Mayock said. "Day one, he's your punt returner and kick returner, and doing that, he can put the ball in the end zone for you while he learns his craft as a corner."
  1. While Mahomes is joining the conversation among the top quarterbacks in the draft, Chad Kelly is nowhere near it. The former Ole Miss quarterback was not invited to the combine due to the NFL's conduct policy for combine candidates, is recovering from a torn ACL, and could be waiting a while for a draft call despite a rocket-like arm. But where would he be selected absent character and injury concerns? Mayock said he's a second-round talent, at minimum.
  1. Tennessee hasn't produced a first-round draft pick since Ja'Wuan James went to the Miami Dolphins in 2014, but look for DE Derek Barnett to snap that drought this year. Mayock's expected range on the selection of Barnett is No. 10 overall (Buffalo Bills) to No. 22 overall (Miami Dolphins).
  1. The offensive tackle class is light on talent. How light? Mayock noted that the top two prospects at the position -- Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk and Utah's Garett Bolles -- have each started only one season at the major college level. As well, there are typically up to 10 offensive tackles worthy of a first-day or second-day selection. "I can't find 10 guys that deserve round 1-3 grades at tackle," Mayock said.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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