Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
Mike Mayock is the foremost expert on the NFL Draft, and he's dropping knowledge once again.
The NFL Draft is a little over two months away, but with the regular season over and the combine coming up, the ranking of prospects is getting into full swing.
he has released his rankings for every position. Mayock's thoughts are certain to change as we move closer to the draft and go through things like the aforementioned combine and pro days, but here are his initial thoughts.of NFL Network is one of, if not the most, respected draft experts, and
Below at Mayock's rankings with my insightful analysis.
- Geno Smith, West Virginia
- Matt Barkley, USC
- Mike Glennon, North Carolina State
- Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
- Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Smith is the clear-cut No. 1 quarterback at this point. After starting for three years and putting up impressive numbers in Morgantown, Smith has separated himself from the pack. However, he's still not believed to be a top selection by many, with some NFL people whispering he's not even a first-round pick.
Barkley has seen his stock take a brutal hit since last year when he would have been a top-10 pick. The California native had a tough year with the Trojans and now is a second-round prospect. Glennon is probably the toughest man to peg for a projection because some see him as a top prospect while others see him as a mid-round talent.
Nassib and Jones are projects at this time, likely going on days two and three of the draft. SB Nation has Jones ranked 10th in this quarterback crop.
- Eddie Lacy, Alabama
- Montee Ball, Wisconsin
- Andre Ellington, Clemson
- Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
- Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
This is another position that isn't thought to have elite talent. It's tough to see any first rounders in this group, with Lacy and Ball representing the bruising style of back that's seemingly going extinct in today's game. Ball is ranked ninth by SB Nation, showing the difference of opinion on him.
Ellington has an interesting blend of power and speed, making him an intriguing choice for a team looking to bolster its ground attack.
Bernard is under the radar but could move up the draft boards considerably with a good showing at the combine. Lattimore's stock is all about his heath. If Lattimore's gruesome knee injury doesn't scare a team away, he could be taken on day two.
- Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
- Keenan Allen, California
- Terrance Williams, Baylor
- Tavon Austin, West Virginia
- Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech
This is another position without a ton of star power. Noticing a theme?
Patterson and Allen are far and away ahead of the class. Patterson brings size to the table at 6'2 and 205 pounds with great speed. Allen is very similar, making the two hard to separate.
Williams has draft experts split, but Mayock seems to like him more than most. Austin is a true burner, someone who can stretch the field and make things happen after the catch. He almost certainly will be a day two pick.
Patton is bigger than people give him credit for at 6'0 and 200 pounds, but he lacks top-end speed. It was very surprising to not see DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson on the list. Some experts see him as a first-round player with SB Nation ranking him third on the list behind Allen and Austin.
- Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
- Zach Ertz, Stanford
- Gavin Escobar, San Diego State
- Travis Kelce, Cincinnati
- Jordan Reed, Florida
Eifert and Ertz are clearly the two best tight ends coming into the draft. Eifert has been productive for years for the Fighting Irish and should be the first taken off the board out of this group. Ertz is another Stanford tight end that will be taken early after his ex-teammate Coby Fleener was drafted in the second round last year.
Escobar, Kelce and Reed will all be mid-round selections barring something unforeseen. SB Nation has Dion Sims ranked fourth, the only man in our top five who isn't in Mayock's.
- Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
- Brian Schwenke, California
- Barrett Jones, Alabama
- Khaled Holmes, USC
- Braxston Cave, Notre Dame
- Chance Warmack, Alabama
- Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
- Larry Warford, Kentucky
- Kyle Long, Oregon
- Brian Winters, Kent State
- Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
- Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
- Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
- D.J. Fluker, Alabama
- Menelik Watson, Florida State and Justin Pugh, Syracuse
As always, the tackles are seen as the biggest prospects on the offensive line, with Joeckel a potential No. 1 overall pick. After that, things get murky. Fisher and Johnson are certainly top-20 picks, but it's tough to say who will come off the board first.
The guards are a very strong group, with Warmack and Cooper also projected to go very early in the first round. Warford is likely a second-round pick for a team looking to fortify its offensive line. No center will go on day one without a Pouncey in the draft.