2014 Draft Talk

Mike Mayok’s conference call

Film room guru and Notre Dame broadcaster Mike Mayok shared his initial thoughts on this year’s draft  yesterday. The conference call lasted a staggering three hours where media members asked about prospects, position groups and matches for certain teams. For those interested, you can find the full NFL communications transcript here.

I didn’t bother to read all of it; instead, I found media tweeted highlights compiled in a post here (via http://www.carolinahuddle.com) Feel free to look at both, but these were the pieces that interested me most (for the Panthers):

  • “You can go three or four rounds deep this year and get a starting offensive tackle.”
  • Mike Mayock prefers Brandon Thomas at tackle (instead of guard.) Projects him late 2nd round.
  • Nevada OT Joel Bitonio is a likely second round pick.
  • “My favorite nickel CB in the draft is Jason Verrett from TCU. He’s ideal for the slot. Quick-footed, tough.”
  • “Dennard and Fuller, the two corners, I think they’re awesome but my concern with both is long speed.”
  • DE Kony Ealy: “He’s not as athletic as Aldon Smith, but a little more physical, better against run. 4-3 end.”
  • “Chris Borland (LB) is one of my 2 or 3 favorite players in the draft. He could be this year’s Kiko Alonso.”
  • WR Jared Abbrederis: Understands routes better than most receivers. Needs to get stronger. 3-4th round.
  • “Calvin Pryor (S) is a bigger Bob Sanders; more of a box safety” while HaHa Clinton-Dix is a “complete” safety.
  • “I think Kyle Fuller (CB) is a first-round talent and a first-round lock with sub-4.5 40.”
  • “TE Amaro would be logical at 29 (NE). So would DT Hageman. Other top guys (at DL/TE) will be gone.”
  • Thinks South Carolina’s Victor Hampton (CB) has second round talent but may not go that early.
  • Utah Keith McGill (CB) has the ability to be a second or third round pick but needs to be more consistent.
  • DE Scott Crichton is a “poor man’s Chris Long.”
  • “Zack Martin, Cyrus Kouandjio, David Yankey (OL) makes sense at No. 27 for Saints right now.”
  • CB Darqueze Dennard is a top-15 pick. “My favorite corner in draft.”
  • Seantrel Henderson (OT) one of biggest boom-or-bust guys in draft. Probably a fourth-round pick this year.
  • “One of my favorite players in draft is LSU’s Jarvis Landry (WR). Reminds me a little bit of Hines Ward.”
  • “Jimmie Ward (S) is one of my favorite safeties in this draft. I don’t see him getting out of the second round.”
  • Colt Lyerla (TE) a 1st or 2nd round talent. Because of character concerns, he’ll get picked on third day of draft.
  • Cyrus Kouandjio (OT) up and down last season. Had bad Sugar Bowl. Combine meetings are important for him.

As Tackle is one of the biggest needs for the Panthers, the first statement feels reassuring about the possibility of getting a prospect, although not as polished, as  Kouandjio or Martin landing to us at 28.

Secondary is another need, whether it’s at safety or cb, but I haven’t taken a look at anyone yet. I have trouble evaluating these posititions especially if nothing jumps out about somebody. Kenny Vacarro (the first safety taken last year) was an obvious talent that you could see. Reid, Elam and Cyprien you could tell were starters but someone like Rambo falling into the end of the 6th round I didn’t see happening. He didn’t have a great year either, but my guesses were 4th-5th round.

The tight end position at 28 is intriguing; Amaro could very well be there. But something to take note of. Dave Gettleman mentioned Ben Hartsock’s importance to our run game and that if we didn’t resign him due to his age and injuries that his replacement (inline blocker / adequate pass catcher) might be found in this year’s draft. He mentioned Martellus Bennet’s name and how he impacted the run and pass game with the Giants; so someone early in the 2nd or 3rd like ASJ, Niklas, or Fiedorowicz would be more likely.

Thanks and look out for upcoming posts regarding the draft!

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Initial 2014 Draft Season Thoughts

Welcome to the newest section of the website (NFL Draft Talk). In the remaining 11 weeks until 2014 NFL Draft I will use this section to share links, media and some thoughts on the prospects set to enter the league. Admittedly, I am not a scout who could definitively tell you that player X should go in round Y  (i.e. I had Jake Long in the 2nd round last year). What I do enjoy is watching player’s footage at http://www.draftbreakdown.com (compressed game footage) and comparing players of the same position to determine which are better others. That’s generally what I’ll write about here.

There are many sites out there that I visit each day that produce good content that I will be referencing:

NFLDraftScout (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft)
Draft Breakdown (http://draftbreakdown.com/)
RotoWorld Draft (http://www.rotoworld.com/sports/cfb/nfl-draft)
SB Nation (http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-draft) along with the sub-category..
Mocking the Draft (http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-mock-draft) (podcast here)
Draft Countdown (http://www.draftcountdown.com/) (podcast here)

And I also try to listen to a few draft based podcasts as well:

Mocking the Draft and Draft Countdown (links above this)
The Audible
 (http://subscribers.footballguys.com/podcast/)
NFL.com’s CFB 24/7 (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nfl-college-football-24-7/id494673224?mt=2)
TFY Draft Insider (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/draft_insider)

I find the draft evaluation interesting even though at the end of it all, each team only gets 1 out of every 32 players. But for me – it’s just a lot of fun. Perceiving the “value” of a player who is still there just a few spots ahead; everything lining up for them to fall in the laps of your team; it is just a rush. Draft night is definitely a highly anticipated event for me now that the NFL has me in a firm grasp.

But anyways; check those sites and podcasts out and look for new posts in the coming weeks.