NFL Network Mike Mayock talked ... and talked ... and talked during a conference call Tuesday to discuss his pre-NFL Combine take on the 2014 NFL Draft class. Mayock, who also just released his position rankings for the draft, spoke for 2 hours, 43 minutes, according to SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn, who hung in for the entire call.
Here are some of the key takeaways for fans of the New York Giants.
-- Mayock said "this is the deepest and best draft class I’ve seen in probably 10 years. That’s been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts I’ve talked to throughout the league. I had one GM tell me the other day that having a Top-20 pick this year is very similar to having a Top-10 pick last year."
-- Mayock believes the Giants should use the 12th overall pick on either an offensive tackle or a wide receiver. "I think, regardless, sitting at No. 12, you're either going to get the third tackle or the second or third wide receiver if you were interested in that wide out," he said.
-- Speaking of offensive tackle, one of the draft prospects who seems create arguments amongst Giants' fans in Michigan's Taylor Lewan. Mayock believes Lewan is worthy of being selected in the top 10. Fairburn writes that Mayock added the Giants should "sprint to the podium" if Lewan is available with the 12th pick.
-- Draft analysts who believe the Giants could grab a cornerback in Round 1 have been known to mock Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State [prospect profile] to New York. Mayock said Tuesday Dennard is his "favorite corner in the draft" and that he could step in and play immediately for an NFL team.
-- If a team wants a slot corner, and the Giants might if they think third-year man Jayron Hosley is better-suited to play outside, Mayock's favorites are Jason Verrett of TCU [prospect profile] and LaMarcus Joyner of Florida State.
-- We have spent a great deal of time this offseason talking about the tight end position. Mayock had praise for Austin Sefarian-Jenkins of Washington. "Seferian-Jenkins could play in any scheme," Mayock said. "You can line him up inline. He should be a better blocker than he is given his size. He’s athletic enough to block and tough enough to block, (but) at Washington they split him out so often I don’t think he developed as much as a blocker."
-- Mayock, of course, does analysis for Notre Dame football games during the college season. Following is what Mayock had to say about a couple of Notre Dame players who could be on the Giants' radar.
On offensive lineman Zack Martin:
Mayock has heaped praise on Martin for months, due in large part to his versatility at tackle, guard and center. The analyst sees a team selecting Martin around 20th overall. He rated Martin as the fourth-best tackle in this class.
"He can play tackle, but the beauty in this kid is he can play all five positions in the NFL," Mayock said. "Some teams look at him as a Pro Bowl guard. Therefore, playing at tackle [wouldn’t] make as much sense."
On tight end Troy Niklas:
" ... he could be the best blocking tight end in the NFL in two or three years. ... He’s a better receiver than people think," he said. "He is not a Tyler Eifert or a 4.5 guy [in the 40-yard dash]. He’s probably a 4.75-4.8 kind of guy. He can catch the ball short and intermediate and has really good hands. The other thing is that he uses his body to position it. I don’t think he’s getting out of the second round."