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2017 NFL Draft: What we learned from Mike Mayock’s positional rankings

What surprises are lurking?

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

When NFL Network Draft analyst Mike Mayock says something with regards to the draft, it’s usually a good idea to pay attention. Tuesday afternoon he released his first positional rankings for the 2017 NFL Draft.

A few positions were about as expected. but as always Mayock has his own ideas and assessments regarding players and positions, so some of his rankings are definitely not consistent with his media peers.

But while Mayock is sometimes off-beat, he famously nailed the New York Giants’ selection of Justin Pugh when nobody else considered it likely. So then, it might behoove us to see what we can learn.


There isn’t anything too surprising here. Mayock has the same top three quarterbacks as most every other analyst, though he deviates from the norm a bit by having Clemson’s Deshaun Watson higher than North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky. Considering Watson has played in consecutive National Championship games while Trubisky only really has one year of production under his belt, it’s understandable.

Mayock does surprise a bit with Cal’s Davis Webb as his fifth quarterback. I have had Webb as a potential mid-late round sleeper and developmental pick, but given Mayock’s connections in the NFL, perhaps I should revise that opinion.

Offensive Line

The surprise here is the presence of Wisconsin Badger Ryan Ramczyk at the top of the list. Despite Ramczyk only having one year of experience in D-I football, he is a talented blocker with plenty of strength and athleticism. Many other outlets list Utah’s Garett Bolles as the top tackle, but Mayock has him second. Also surprising, he has Alabama’s Cam Robinson who came into the season as the prohibitive top left tackle prospect, listed as a guard.

Defenisve Line and EDGE

The interesting rankings here are two Alabama players. First, defensive lineman Jon Allen is listed as an interior defender. And if he shows up to the Combine at 280-290 pounds, that is probably the best place for him (a la Aaron Donald). However, if he slims down some from what he was listed at in college, he could be a better fit as an “EDGE” player, likely a base end in a 4-3.

Also interesting is Tim Williams. Williams pass rushing prowess can’t be questioned, and he might have the best first step in the entire draft class — including Myles Garrett. However, there have been rumors of serious questions regarding his off field conduct, comparing him to Randy Gregory. On the field, his ranking as the number two EDGE prospect is valid. However, if there is something to those off-field questions, he could be in for a precipitous drop.

It’s also interesting that Stanford’s Solomon Thomas is only fifth in Mayock’s rankings. Thomas is a game-wrecker off the edge despite having a build that will make some question his position in the NFL.

Defensive Back

It’s somewhat surprising that Mayock has Washington’s Sidney Jones above Ohio State’s Marshawn Lattimore. Lattimore is gaining steam in many outlets as the top cornerback in the draft despite having just one year of experience. But it seems that now — and this will likely change as the draft process unfolds — Mayock is erring erring to track record.

Also, Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers has become a controversial and polarizing figure in scouting circles. He started the year as the prohibitive “number 1” safety in the draft thanks to his versatility and explosive athleticism. However, after another year of playing pretty much every position Jim Harbough could think of, Peppers has slipped, and some are even questioning whether or not he is even a first round talent. Bucking that trend, Mayock has him listed third.