When NFL Network’s Mike Mayock talks about the NFL draft, people listen.
He is the premiere analyst when evaluating talent and projecting how the first round pans out.
On Wednesday, he finally released the one and only mock he puts out each year, and right away three separate picks completely jump off the page as shockers that nobody was expecting.
No. 4 Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
The Browns already have a receiver in Greg Little who possesses similar talents to Blackmon, and the bigger need is at running back.
Trent Richardson will be on the board, and he’s the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson back in 2007.
Blackmon is certainly a premier prospect, but there are questions about his ability to run sharp short routes with his elongated strides. Considering how important hitting a home run with the fourth pick is for Cleveland, Richardson is the much safer and likelier pick.
No. 14 Dallas Cowboys: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
The Cowboys have to go with a pick in the secondary here.
Mark Barron is who they covet, but he’ll be off the board by then. They also would be thrilled if corner Stephon Gilmore, whom Mayock has going one pick later to the Eagles, is still there. Dre Kirkpatrick is a strong option as well.
Brockers has slowly dropped down the draft board in recent weeks after gaining almost 20 pounds since his last collegiate game. He is a project and a team like the Cowboys doesn’t have time to watch him develop.
No. 20 Tennessee Titans: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
The Georgia Tech product may have blazing speed, but his collegiate production (820 yards, five TDs) pales in comparison to Kendall Wright's (1,663 yards, 14 TDs), who Mayock has going 30th to the San Francisco 49ers.
When a player has doubled the production of another, in a superior conference, you have to wonder if the Titans will ignore such an accomplished collegiate career for a guy they may believe has better speed.
No. 20 is too high for Hill.