NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock talked about the strength at wide receiver, who falls in behind the top two quarterbacks and shares his thoughts on University of Pittsburgh offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings.
Mayock on wide receivers being a good group this year, and comparing the group to 2014 when 15 went in the first three rounds:
"In the last five years, there's been an average of 13 wide receivers that go in the first three rounds, and an average of 3.8 in the first round. Now, more importantly, last year's wideout group was historically tremendous. All five first round picks were highly productive. In the second round you have Jordan Matthews, Davante Adams, Allen Robinson, (Jarvis) Landry. In the third round you had Josh Brown, fourth round Martavis Bryant. It wasn't just the guys up top, it was the depth throughout.
"I think there are reasons in today's NFL why rookie wide receivers can come in and play well early. These kids have been used to catching the football forever. Everything is a pass first league now. Number two, with the emphasis on the five yard rule, the smaller wideouts are getting off press coverage, they know after five yards they can run routes with impunity. Finally, the big bodied wideouts, they don't really have to be route runners. With the advent of the back shoulder throw, they can be productive day one. I think the league is set up to be productive more so than ever for rookie wide receivers and tight ends.
"This particular class, Kevin White, Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker are consensus top 20 picks. However, after that, there's a bunch of question marks. I do believe it's going to be highly productive because, A, there's a bunch of talent, and B, the rules and the way we play in the NFL today lend itself."
Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell, WR Antonio Brown and WR Martavis Bryant began their careers at the combine.
Mayock on the depth at quarterback behind the top two prospects, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston:**
"I don't think it's a great quarterback class. I also think the NFL is going to have to start getting used to evaluating these spread quarterbacks. It's really hard. So what happens is you know what (Jamies) Winston is on the field because you can see what he does. But you get the Bryce Petty and Brett Hundley, both of whom probably have second round talent. They have good size, good arm strength. Hundley is a good athlete. Petty is a pretty good athlete. There's a lot to like about both of those kids. When you watch them within the framework of their offense, they've got a long way to go to become pocket quarterbacks. They don't throw with anticipation. If the first look isn't there, both of them are hesitant and indecisive which leads to stacks and other problems. You want to say you're going to need at least a redshirt year as a second or third round draft pick, but what they need is live snaps, not seven-on-seven snaps in practice. It's a really difficult issue. They're the two that I like the most after the top two. Garrett Grayson from Colorado State is one of those guys that does everything pretty well. No real elite traits. I like the kid. I think he's a strong backup quarterback candidate. Sean Mannion from Oregon State, big kid, reminds me of Mike Glennon a little bit. After that, there's not a whole lot. It's not a great quarterback class and most of them are projections."
Mayock on the top offensive tackles, including the University of Pittsburgh's T.J. Clemmings:"It's intriguing because Brandon Scherff is going to be whatever he's going to be by whatever team picks him. But then there's like five or six guys that all are kind of prototypical left tackles that are really gifted athletes, but there are holes in their game for some reason or another. There are five of those guys, and then there's La'el Collins from LSU who's a first round right tackle, or he could be like Scherff, either a right tackle or an inside guy, and I really like him because of his power.
"When you take him out of the equation, (T.J) Clemmings is so gifted, high school basketball player, he only played two years of high school football. He was a defensive lineman when he got to Pitt. He only got the offensive line his last two years. I thought his tape was phenomenal, given all that. Now, he got to the Senior Bowl, and because he's raw, he was exposed a little bit, but that didn't hurt him. We all know his talent, and people respected the fact that he came out and competed. I think he's going to get drafted, I think, somewhere in that kind of 15 to 25 range."