Mike Mayock has a pretty sweet gig with the NFL Network. Contacts all over the league, all the tape he can watch, and VIP status at every draft event — the Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, Combine, Pro Days, and the draft itself — from January to May.
And unlike pretty much every other draft expert, Mayock doesn’t need to churn out big boards or mock drafts every week. No, instead he releases his top five prospects at each position and updates it a couple times throughout the process. He doesn’t even have to offer explanations regarding his thought process in making or updating the rankings.
Like I said: Sweet gig.
However, Mayock is also fairly universally recognized as one of the very best in the business. His access to tape, league contacts, and abilities as a scout mean that when he says something, it’s worth paying attention to.
Tuesday morning he released his revised “Top Five” list, and in addition to movement at just about every position group, there are always some surprises.
There aren’t really any surprises here. After a terrific combine Christian McCaffrey ascended to number two on the depth chart, and Leonard Fournette took the top spot from Dalvin Cook, who fell to number three. Also, Samaje Perine made it to the list in favor of teammate Joe Mixon.
No real surprises here either. Corey Davis and Mike Williams are still one and two in the rankings, but after setting a new combine record in the 40-yard dash, Washington’s John Ross is Mayock’s third receiver. New to the list is USC wideout Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster.
The top of the ranking isn’t changed. However, Southern Alabama tight end (though some teams might see him as a receiver) Gerald Everett rose from fifth to fourth, and Iowa Hawkeye George Kittle took over the fifth spot from Jake Butt.
Curiously, Virginia Tech tight end Bucky Hodges is nowhere to be seen despite having a good Combine workout, which included setting a record of his own in the broad jump.
Mayock breaks the offensive line into tackle and interior groups, but there aren’t any major changes in either. Dion Dawkins and Ethan Pocic traded places in the interior group, and were joined by OSU center Pat Elflein who ties Pocic at fifth.
There aren’t any changes on the interior of the defensive line, but there is movement at the Edge Rusher position. Alabama sack artist Tim Williams dropped from second to fifth after a disappointing combine, while Stanford’s Solomon Thomas jumped from fourth to second. Takkarist McKinley rounds out the list by moving up from fifth to fourth.
There aren’t any major changes or surprises among the linebackers. The only change is a swap between Jarrad Davis and Zach Cunningham, who traded third and fourth positions (Davis rose while Cunningham fell).
With the injury to Sidney Jones, who was Mayock’s top corner in the first edition of the rankings, there has been a big shake-up this time around.
Marshon Lattimore and Marlon Humphrey each rose a spot to become numbers one and two respectively. The rest of the depth chart is filled out by Washington’s Kevin King (third), OSU’s Gareon Conley (fourth), and UCLA’s Fabian Moreau (fifth), all of whom were unrated in the initial rankings.
There weren’t any changes in Mayock’s “Nickel” rankings.
The big change here is the rise of Jabril Peppers from third to first, which isn’t surprising after an extremely gutsy performance at the Combine that not only showed off his athleticism and versatility, but an eagerness to compete at every opportunity. Ohio State’s Malik Hooker feel from first to third to make room for Peppers.
UConn’s Obi Melifonwu moved from fifth to fourth, making room for Utah’s Marcus Williams and Florida’s Marcus Maye, who were not rated, but now tie for fifth.