Posted: 4:00 pm Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
By D. Orlando Ledbetter
INDIANAPOLIS – NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock is ready to hold court for the next week and help anchor the league’s television coverage.
He likes the 2014 draft class, which is headed by South Carolina’s defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
“This year, the draft is stacked,” Mayock said. “I think you can get a quality player for three or four rounds.”
After the 2013 collapse, the Falcons are set to pick sixth overall in this deep draft. They have all seven of their picks and
could end up with three or four compensatory picks.
“One reason is the playmakers at the top of this draft,” Mayock said. “It’s not just a couple of guys. There are three offensive
tackles that could go in the top 10. Three quarterbacks could go in the top 10. Then you have guys like Khalil Mack, who’s a difference maker. The (Anthony) Barr kid from UCLA, C.J. Mosley from Alabama, and (Sammy) Watkins from Clemson is a tremendous wide receiver.
“I didn’t even mention the safety from Louisville (Calvin Pryor) and the tight end from North Carolina (Eric Ebron).”
While Dimitroff has traded up in the first-round in three of six drafts (50 percent), he might want to keep his picks this season.
“There is more quality at the top end of this draft than I’ve seen in a long time,” Mayock said. “From a position standpoint: wide receiver and offensive tackle are particularly deep. You can go three or four rounds deep this year and get a starting
offensive tackle. There are some pretty good corners, three or four rounds deep..”
It appears that the Falcons would have to trade up to land Clowney.
“If I’m an Atlanta fan, I’m rooting for the three quarterbacks to go as fast as possible, so I’m left with nothing but great position players,” Mayock said.
Most consider Clowney the top player in the draft and Houston has the No. 1 pick.
They could elect to take a quarterback and will be under heavy pressure to select Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The Falcons could trade up to get Clowney, with the Texas dropping back to sixth, where they likely still could Manziel or Central Florida’s Blake Bortles.
But Clowney is not a slam dunk after his level of play dipped dramatically last season. Some teams have questions about his
“I already know that he’s got the physical make-up to be the best player in the draft,” Mayock said. “If you want to compare him to Mario Williams, I think he’s a better football player with more upside than when Mario came out of college. So, from a physical skill-set, this kid is as freaky as they come. He plays a position of critical importance in today’s NFL, which is the ability to get to the quarterback. He can play multiple places on the defense.
“All those things (add) up. My biggest concern is just what’s his mental makeup. How important is it to him when he gets a big paycheck to become the best player in football or is he just going to be happy to be a millionaire. That’s the most critical checking point from an organization (standpoint), is finding out what’s the motivation.
“I know what kind of football player he is when motivated. I just want to know what kind of kid I’m getting.”
Let the 40-yard dashes and 225-pound lifts begin!!!!