When NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock released his first set of positional rankings for the 2015 NFL Draft he listed Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, often mocked to the New York Giants with the ninth overall selection, as a guard. During a conference call on Monday, Mayock explained why:
"I think he can play tackle. I think he can start. I said this about Zack Martin last year. I thought Zack could play all five positions in the offensive line.
"I think it's a question of a very similar conversation we had with Zack Martin last year. You could start at left tackle, probably be a good left tackle. You could start at right tackle, be a very good right tackle. As it turned out, he was an All-Pro year one at right guard.
"When I look at Brandon Scherff, I see a similar example. I see a bigger kid with longer arms. That lends you to believe that he could play outside more easily.
"Again, I believe he can play outside. However, I think his best position, because of his power, his toughness, his football sense, is inside. I think he's an all pro guard. But that doesn't mean he can't play tackle in the NFL."
That was only one of many topics Mayock addressed during a call that took 28 pages to transcribe and apparently lasted around three hours. Here are some other topics that could impact the Giants.
Mayock was asked about a trio of players from the University of Miami who might be of interest to the Giants, offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, linebacker Denzel Perryman and running back Duke Johnson:
"Flowers has caught my eye. I really like the kid and I think he shows a high-level starting right tackle worst case, and maybe left tackle, maybe even a Pro Bowl right tackle down the road. I like him.
"Perryman is fun to watch on tape. He flies around. Reminds me of a Jon Beason. Everybody said he was too small. All he does is make plays.
"I also like the tailback Duke Johnson. Second-round grade on him. Quickness, explosion, catches the ball well, really a tough kid."
If you believe the Giants could or should be interested in a wide receiver with the No. 9 overall pick, Mayock thinks there are three worth of top 20 selections:
"I think the league is set up to be productive more so than ever for rookie wide receivers and tight ends. This particular class, Kevin White, Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker are consensus top-20 picks."
Want a linebacker on Day 2 of the draft? Mayock likes several of the guys who have been discussed as possibilities for the Giants:
"Benardrick McKinney from Mississippi State is a big downhill player ... a poor man's Lavonte David is Paul Dawson from TCU. Probably more fitted to the weak side, but I think he could play in the middle. Denzel Perryman from Miami and Eric Kendricks from UCLA are phenomenal, active, quick, fast inside linebackers."
A linebacker who showed up in one of Monday's mock draft scenarios is Kwon Alexander of LSU. Mayock said Alexander "fits" what the NFL is today."
"Kwon Alexander is a linebacker that can run. Heavy production this year. I think he fits what today's NFL is, which is they're getting smaller and faster at the linebacker position.
"I think he's probably a third or fourth round linebacker. I think he can fit any scheme. He can run. He's not quite as much a downhill thumper, but that's the old school NFL. He fits what the NFL is today."
Here are Mayock's thoughts on defensive tackle Danny Shelton and linebacker Shaq Thompson, a player Mayock has listed at safety in positional rankings:
"Shelton is a top-10 pick for me. I love him. Reminds me of Haloti Ngata. I think everybody sees that comparison. Powerful, better feet than you think, and I'm surprised at how many snaps he can play at a high level ... There are very few guys that play that position at 350 pounds that can play plus or minus 80 percent of the snaps.
"Shaq Thompson is one of the most fun guys to watch on tape this year. I know GMs were looking at him as a running back, linebacker, and safety, most teams as a linebacker. I've got him as a safety. I think he can be a Kam Chancellor type on first down in your base and then drop down and play linebacker in your dime, and that's really important in today's world."
If there is one player in the draft I knew nothing about a few weeks ago but have become enamored with it would be Northern Iowa running back David Johnson. Here are Mayock's thoughts on Johnson:
"Intriguing kid, tremendous size at running back. Combined with an ability to catch the football ... He's got great hands. He runs routes. He made a couple stutter moves on the linebacker at Iowa that were just awesome. Then he comes to The Senior Bowl and he played really well, did everything well.
"My one nitpick with him would be given his size at 225, 230 pounds, I'd like him to be more consistently physical instead of just kind of bracing for contact. I'd like to see him embrace contact. I'd like to see him be more physical and finish. But I think at this point I've got a third-round grade on him, and he could go even higher."