Mike Mayock loves talking football, so much so, the NFL Network analyst lost his voice in the third round of last year’s draft telecast.
This year, Mayock has done fewer interviews in order to save his opinions for draft day, but he did have time to conduct his annual pre-draft conference call on Wednesday.
The biggest news from Mayock’s call took place when the discussion moved to the first overall pick.
Many mock drafts have the Carolina Panthers taking quarterback Cam Newton of Auburn first overall, but Mayock is not so sure.
“I’m not convinced Carolina will take a quarterback No. 1,” Mayock said.
The informed draft guru didn’t knock Newton’s talents by any means; he just didn’t endorse the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback as the clear-cut, best player available.
Mayock said he wouldn’t “stand on a table” to make a strong case for drafting Newton like he would with previous quarterback prospects like Sam Bradford and Matt Ryan.
If Newton doesn’t hear his name called first, Mayock believes the Cincinnati Bengals, 49ers, and Tennessee Titans could consider him.
The other big news from Mayock’s call touched on the number of quarterbacks that could be taken this year. The analyst expects eight signal callers to be selected in the first three rounds of the draft, something that hasn’t happened since 1960.
Other noteworthy items from the call included:
-Washington quarterback Jake Locker is most accurate on the run, specifically throwing on play-action bootleg fakes. Mayock thinks Locker would be a good fit for the Washington Redskins.
-Mayock considers Newton to be an immensely gifted player. He said teams would be best served to slowly integrate Newton into their system, but also give him a group of plays that he’s comfortable with while he develops.
-Cornerbacks Patrick Peterson of LSU and Prince Amukamara of Nebraska should be selected in the first 11 picks.
-Mayock believes North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn is a top-10 player, who hasn’t fully developed physically. “He can be a dominant player in the league.”
-The outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid group is “pretty deep” according to Mayock.
-Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers is best suited for a 4-3 scheme. If selected by a 3-4 team, “you’d be taking away what he does best, which is rush the passer.”
-Mayock expects five, small-school players to be picked in the second and third rounds. He likes Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones to be the first small-school player taken. “Might be the fastest guy in the draft.”
For more of his draft takes, watch Mayock’s 2011 Mock Draft special on the eve of the draft, Wednesday, April 27 at 5:00 p.m. PT on NFL Network.
Posted in Announcements | 23 Comments »