By Ryan O’Halloran
During a conference call Wednesday, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock discussed numerous draft prospects. Here are his thumb-nail views on some of the offensive players and other thoughts about that side of the football:
On the quarterbacks:
*Robert Griffin III: “You’re bringing up one of the more gifted kids in the draft. … The more tape I put in, the more fun I have watching him. The bottom line is, he’s a play-maker and this is what this league is all about, especially at that position. … I love everything about the kid. The question I have, he doesn’t throw with anticipation, mostly because he didn’t have to. He has great touch and accuracy, middle and deep [down the field]. He’s tough and he takes hits. He initially looks to get the football down the field and I like that.”
*Ryan Tannehill: “After last year, we had [Christian] Ponder and [Jake] Locker go in the first 12 picks and I think we were all surprised and the same thing could happen this year with Tannehill. … He’s got everything you want – size, arm strength and he’s a really good athlete. All you have to do is look at his tape as a receiver. What I don’t like him is that he waits for routes to develop – he lacks anticipation and because of that, he throws late into coverage and makes mistakes. But that’s not atypical of a lot of college quarterbacks. I think he’s going to be a first-round guy.”
*Brandon Weeden: “I like him. He’s really accurate when he sets his feet. He’s a timing and rhythmic guy. He has to be on time, in a good rhythm and when that happens, he’s really, really good. But when he has to hasten the process and re-set his feet, he loses some of that great accuracy and he’s not nifty in the pocket. To me, that’s a guy you have to develop a little bit. But he’s 28 years old. Do you have time to wait? That’s the problem here. I’m of the opinion, having gotten to know him and watch him work, if he’s a guy you had to throw him there [this year], he could play.”
*Russell Wilson: “I was intrigued by both Russell Wilson and Kellen Moore. They don’t look, smell or taste what those first-round quarterbacks are supposed to be. … I’m anxious to watch the process develop [with Wilson] as we get closer to April. I would love him as a back-up because I think he’s smart, he’s instinctive and if your starter got hurt, he could get you through 4-5 games.”
The non-quarterback prospects.
*Alabama RB Trent Richardson, when asked if he could be an immediate 1,200-yard back: “I believe he is and I don’t say that often. The last guy you banged the table this hard was [Adrian] Peterson. I think his height, weight, speed, toughness – all of them constitute the[high] pick.”
*Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon, who Mayock doesn’t expect to get past Jacksonville at No. 7: “I don’t think he’ll run a great 40 – 4.5, 4.52 seconds. You’ll have to say that’s OK because he’s big, physical, tremendous body control and tremendous ball skills.”
*Virginia Tech RB David Wilson: “He’s interesting and there are some people who think he could be a first-round pick. I probably watched four of his games last week and I think he’s really quick with great feet and balance. He doesn’t have as much shake-and-bake, make-you-miss, but with his feet and acceleration, he makes you miss anyway.”
*Mayock has USC’s Ryan Kalil as the top-rated left tackle and even though he doesn’t have Iowa’s Riley Reiff with a top-10 grade, he wouldn’t be surprised if that happens.
*Mayock has four receivers with first-round grades. “There are an awful lot of big receivers that will have to run well,” he said.
*If he was running the Rams, Cleveland offering Nos. 4 and 22 for the second overall pick would get a deal done for him.
Contact O’Halloran at firstname.lastname@example.org