Prominent draft analyst Mike Mayock recently shared his thoughts on the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft via conference call with members of the media. What did he have to say about players Atlanta may be targeting?
Offensive Tackle or Pass Rush?
Mike Mayock has mocked Taylor Lewan to Atlanta and he's pretty intractable about it, although he acknowledges the possibility that the Falcons trade up to draft Jadeveon Clowney. As far as Lewan, Mayock says the following.
I don't think (Lewan's) going to pass either tackle. I think he's going to be the third tackle off the board. Some teams might even like Zack Martin better.
And Zack Martin might be an option for Atlanta if they want to trade back and stockpile some picks. Here's what Mayock had to say about the versatile offensive lineman.
I love the kid. Even though I have him fourth as a tackle, he'd be my number one center or my number one guard. I believe that he is the only player in this draft that could start and play at a high level at all five offensive line positions.
When asked about the wide range of opinions on Clowney, Mayock points out the disparity between Clowney's talent and what scouts see on the tape.
There are times when he just kind of disappears. The Clemson tape, the left tackle from Clemson, Brandon Thomas, I thought got the best of him the entire game. If you're that good, why do you disappear for a full game? It's not as much technique, double-teaming or triple-teaming. It's just sometimes he gets blocked and he stays blocked.
What about Anthony Barr, a player who has been identified as a possible edge-rusher for the Falcons?
This draft is not deep in edge rushers. The bottom line with Barr is I think his best football is ahead of him. You might have to wait two years. He only played the position for two years.
On Running Backs
The Falcons have met with Charles Sims from WVU. Here's what Mayock had to say about this intriguing option at running back projected by Mayock as a fourth-round selection.
I think the combination of catching the football, being a big enough back to pass protect, and some natural running skill sets really helps him. He's a solid fourth-round guy that provides versatility.
For what it's worth, Mayock also has running backs Ka'Deem Carey, Jerick McKinnon, and Lache Seastrunk projected to go in the fourth round, so there are quite a few prospects in that range that Atlanta can consider.
On the Depth of the 2014 NFL Draft
Mayock thinks there's a lot of talent that will be available into the late round of this year's draft.
...we can drop down in the third round and talk about guys. We can talk about the fifth round and drop some names that I think can be some productive NFL players. It's quality at the top and depth throughout.
What do you think of Mayock's take on the draft?