For the last several years, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has sat down with the Daily News before the draft and broken down each position. Yesterday, he looked at the offensive line. Today, he analyzes the inside linebackers and safeties for us:
Mayock: ``He’s a big, strong, fast straightline linebacker, and this is a really bad inside linebacker class. Some 3-4 teams are even looking at him as a potential outside rush linebacker because he’s so long. He has 34 1/2 –inch arms. He’s a little tight in the hips, but his height, weight and speed are intriguing. The 3-4 teams are trying decide whether he can play that inside linebacker position that’s kind of like the WILL (in a 4-3) or whether they’d like to look at him as an outside rush guy. Either way, he’ll be a second-round pick.
Round projection: 2
Mayock: ``It doesn’t hurt to have the name and the bloodline. He’s not as explosive or as natural an athlete as his brother Clay. But he’s always around the football. Great motor. Great instincts. In this inside linebacker class, he has a chance to go in the third round.’’
Round projection: 3
Mayock: ``He’s a strong, tough kid. Probably only a two-down linebacker at the next level, but I think he’s going to make somebody’s team as a core special teams player. He might not get drafted. He will be a late pick or a priority free agent. But he’s the kind of kid who will be difficult to cut.’’
Round projection: 7-FA
Mayock: ``He can play corner, but ultimately, I think his best position is going to be inside. In today’s NFL of multiple-receiver sets and pass-first offenses, I think you’re going to see more and more free safeties who look like corners. Williams reminds me a little bit of the kid out of Ohio State that the Saints drafted a couple of years ago, Malcolm Jenkins. He was kind of a borderline first-round corner, but when they kicked the kid inside, he had a heckuva year last year. If I drafted him, I’d probably try him at corner first, but I think he’s eventually going inside.’’
Round projection: 1-2
Mayock: ``A lot of teams talk about him (going) in the fourth or fifth round. Some teams have him at corner, some at safety. He’s got more of a corner body, but he’s got safety eyes and instincts. I think he’s a starting free safety. You can drop him down in the slot (in nickel). He can play man-to-man. He’s got loose hips. He has real good range in the middle of the field. I like his instincts a lot and his ball skills are better than I thought they were. All these teams that are talking about him in the fourth and fifth round, there’s no way he gets out of the third. He’s a really good football player.’’
Round projection: 3
Mayock: ``He’s not very fast, but at the East-West game, I watched him fly around practice every day. Every coach on the team loved him. He’s a core special-teamer that will play on every special team. I’m not saying he’s your punt returner because he doesn’t have any kind of speed. But he’s got better feet than people think. Probably a fifth- or sixth-round pick and I think he makes your team.’’
Round projection: 5-6
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