The are all sorts of shows, blogs and opinions out there concerning the NFL draft, but when Mike Mayock speaks, people around the league take notice.
Mayock, 50, is a Philadelphia native and former Giants safety who has slowly built a reputation as the most cogent of talent evaluators, working for the NFL Network. Yesterday he spoke to reporters covering the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Your Eagletarian wanted some detail on Mayock's views of the top of the offensive tackle class, since that seems a direction the Birds are likely to go with one of their two first-round picks, which are 21st and 28th overall. And Mayock provided it
There are four top o-tackles that nearly everyone has going in the first round -- Jason Smith of Baylor, Andre Smith of Alabama, Eugene Monroe of Virginia and Michael Oher of Mississippi. Oher is profiled in today's Daily News.
"There are some different flavors there," Mayock said. "There might be five" taken in the first -- Mayock noted that last year, eight o-tackles were drafted in the first round last year.
"I like the Baylor kid, Jason Smith, a lot. He reminds me of Ryan Clady, who went with the 12th pick last year, to Denver (and finished third in rookie of the year voting, behind quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco). It's a little hard to evaluate him in the run game, since Baylor runs a spread offense and they're in a two-point stance 90 percent of the time. But I like him a lot -- he's my No. 1 offensive tackle. No. 2, Eugene Monroe, is the guy that kept Branden Albert at guard (in college), Albert went 15th (last year) and started for Kansas City and became a left tackle. (Monroe) is a very talented pass protector, not as tough in the run game as some of the other ones, but in the NFL, for a left tackle, you want a pass protector, and that's what he is.
"Those two guys, I think, are both Top 10 picks. After that, you've got some issues. Andre Smith yesterday came in at 6-4 (short for a tackle these days) but his arm length was over 35 inches, so he's got the arms of a 6-7 guy, even though he's 6-4. I've had a chance to watch a lot of tape on him the last week or two, and I have some reservations. He's got good feet for a big guy, but I'm not sure he's an elite left tackle. Some teams are even talking whether he's better suited inside at guard. He's got some weight fluctuations. You'd kind of better know what you're getting if you draft him high.
"Michael Oher is a tremendously gifted athlete who has been inconsistent, I think, as a player. I think you saw that at the Senior Bowl. What I saw at the Senior Bowl is exactly what I saw in his career at Ole Miss -- he looks great for two or three or four or five plays in a row, then a pass protection busts. That inconsistency can get you killed in the NFL.
"Eben Britton is an interesting guy, from Arizona. Six-six, he's got short arms, he might only be a right tackle, but he's a very athletic kid who's a technician."
Britton might be the only one of the group the Birds wouldn't have to trade up to have a shot at taking.