NFL Network's Mike Mayock is one of the most trusted draft voices in the football universe, and today he treated us to a conference call chock-full of information. Thanks to Rotoworld and Pro Football Talk's Evan Silva for live tweeting the call:
Mayock says DE Olivier Vernon is "rising the fastest" of all Miami Hurricane prospects. Predicts Vernon will be drafted in 2nd or 3rd rd.
My Take: In a draft without an elite edge rusher, Vernon could be more coveted than usual. He's explosive, strong, athletic and quick enough to be a good 3-4 OLB in time and produce as many sacks as anyone in this draft if he hits his ceiling.
Mayock on Browns at 4: "If you're not gonna take a quarterback, I think you have to take Trent Richardson."
More Mayock on Browns at 4: "I don't think those receivers should be in this conversation. ... I think Richardson's the guy at 4."
My Take: I think the team should give more consideration to Morris Claiborne, but Mayock and I are in agreement that if Ryan Tannehill isn't the pick, Justin Blackmon should not even be considered.
Trent Richardson is a cornerstone, but he won't find a lot of room to run until the Browns have a passer that can threaten defenses downfield. Maybe Brandon Weeden can be that guy at No. 22 or 37.
Mayock on Cincinnati DL Derek Wolfe: "I've heard ppl say 1st round. I don't see it. I see maybe late 2 to early 3."
My Take: Mayock kind of glosses over the fact that Wolfe was a fourth- or fifth-rounder on a lot of boards a few months ago. He has the length and strength to be a terrific 3-4 end in the mold of Aaron Smith.
Mayock on Memphis DT Dontari Poe: "Moves like Haloti Ngata, but he's a very average football player right now."
My Take: And this is why I am predicting Poe to have one of the biggest falls of any widely accepted first-rounder. The film just isn't there to justify a top 12-15 pick no matter how impressive his measurables are.
Poe also doesn't fit as well at nose tackle as some seem to think. He's a penetrator, not a hold-the-point-against-double-teams DT. Don't be surprised if he falls out of the top 20.
Mayock on Jaguars at No. 7 overall: "Obviously, if Justin Blackmon gets there, that's a no-brainer."
My Take: I'm not so sure that's true. If the assumption is that he's there because Fletcher Cox went at No. 6, I believe it a little more. Still, the Jaguars could take a high-floor player like Riley Reiff, a high-ceiling player at a position of need like Stephon Gilmore or any number of pass-rushers.
Blackmon is not a no-brainer for them, especially when you factor in the chance that the Jaguars want to trade down, and Blackmon is one of the better trade-up targets at No. 7.