Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Mayock's draft analysis: Linebackers

Boise State´s Demarcus Lawrence. (Michael Conroy/AP)
Boise State's Demarcus Lawrence. (Michael Conroy/AP)

NFL NETWORK draft analyst Mike Mayock once again breaks down the top draft prospects for the Daily News. He assesses the best player at each position, as well as a player who is rising up the draft board and a late-round sleeper to keep an eye on later in the draft.

Mayock, 55, resides in Newtown Square and is a graduate of the Haverford School. The former safety was a 10th-round pick of the Steelers in 1981 and played two seasons with the Giants (1982-83).

4-3 outside linebacker

THE BEST

Name: Ryan Shazier

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    School: Ohio State

    Height, weight: 6-1, 237

    40 time: 4.38

    225 bench: 25 reps

    Vertical jump: 42 inches

    Arms: 32 3/8 inches

    Round projection: 1

    Mike Mayock: "When I talk to 4-3 teams, they all get excited about this kid. He's today's protypical 4-3 WILL linebacker. He ran a 4.38. He's a run-and-chase guy. He can play in your nickel and dime packages. He can stay on the field. He can play special teams. There are two knocks on him. One is he's not great at the point of attack, which is why defenses will try to keep him covered up and unblocked so he can just run and go. Secondly, he plays at about 225 pounds. He went to 237 for the combine and his Pro Day and he pulled a hamstring both times. Teams aren't sure whether he can carry the extra weight. But he's today's prototype WILL."

    THE RISER

    Name: Telvin Smith

    School: Florida State

    Height, weight: 6-3, 218

    40 time: 4.52

    225 bench: NA

    Vertical jump: 31½ inches

    Arms: 32½ inches

    Round projection: 2

    Mayock: "He's a smaller version of Shazier. Not quite as fast, but he flies. He's only 218. He kind of has a safety skill set, but he's big enough to play the WILL position. I don't think he's getting out of the second round. Heading toward the combine, teams were talking third or fourth round on him. But he's athletic. He's a good player. He's a good special-teams player, etc. There aren't enough of those guys out there, which is why he'll go in the second round."

    THE SLEEPER

    Name: Kevin Pierre-Louis

    School: Boston College

    Height, weight: 6-foot, 232

    40 time: 4.51

    225 bench: 28 reps

    Vertical jump: 39 inches

    Arms: 32¼ inches

    Round projection: 6-7

    Mayock: "His [workout] numbers were better than almost every safety at the combine. Ran a 4.5. Jumped 39 inches. But he's a WILL linebacker.

    He'll play in your nickel and dime packages. He added 15 pounds last year and kept it on. He was able to perform well at 232. He's going to be a late-draftable guy just because of his size. But he'll be a special-teams guy from Day 1. He'll probably get on your sub-package Day 1. And then he'll try to work his way into your regular lineup."

    3-4 outside linebackers

    THE BEST

    Name: Khalil Mack

    School: Buffalo

    Height, weight: 6-3, 251

    40 time: 4.65

    225 bench: 23 reps

    Vertical jump: 40 inches

    Arms: 33¼ inches

    Round projection: 1

    Mike Mayock: “I can’t find a hole in his game. His Ohio State tape was as dominant a tape as I’ve seen an outside linebacker have. He’s not quite as long as DeMarcus Ware or the prototype [3-4 outside linebacker]. But he can play 3-4 outside ’backer and he can play 4-3 SAM. Watching him drop into coverage, he looks like a safety. He has great change of direction. He has an edge to him. He’ll be a top-five pick. He’s cleaner than [Jadeveon] Clowney. You don’t have the concerns you’d have every week [with Clowney] about playing hard. Nobody is as talented as Clowney, but this kid’s cleaner. And I think he can play a multitude of positions. And he’s a safer pick with almost as much upside.”

    THE RISER

    Name: Demarcus Lawrence

    School: Boise State

    Height, weight: 6-3, 251

    40 time: 4.80

    225 bench: 20 reps

    Vertical jump: 34½ inches

    Arms: 33¾ inches

    Round projection: 2

    Mayock: “He played both inside and outside at Boise. He has some scheme versatility to him. He’s athletic. He’s tough. He’s got a little power to him. I think he’ll go in the second round.”

    THE SLEEPER

    Name: Cassius Marsh

    School: UCLA

    Height, weight: 6-4, 252

    40 time: 4.89

    225 bench: 14 reps

    Vertical jump: 32 inches

    Arms: 32¾ inches

    Round projection: 5-6

    Mayock: “He has some off-the-field issues. Questions about work ethic, etc. But he’s a pretty gifted kid. He can play end. He can play outside linebacker. I think he’ll be drafted late based on height, weight, speed and an ability to rush the quarterback. But he’s a buyer-beware guy.”

    Inside linebackers

    THE BEST

    Name: C.J. Mosley

    School: Alabama

    Height, weight: 6-2, 234

    40 time: 4.67

    225 bench: NA

    Vertical jump: 35 inches

    Arms: 33<SC101,197> inches

    Round projection: 1

    Mike Mayock: “Mosley’s special. He could start at all three linebacker positions. The knock on him coming into this year was, was he physically tough enough to take on blocks or is he just a run-around linebacker? I thought he did a better job this year of taking on blocks when he had to. But he makes plays. He’s a MIKE linebacker that can play three downs. He can play WILL linebacker. He can play in your sub-package. He’s heavily involved in your run game, but is excellent against the pass. In most drafts, he’d be a top-10 pick. In this draft, he should go in the first 16 or 17 picks, worst case.”

    THE RISER

    Name: Chris Borland

    School: Wisconsin

    Height, weight: 5-11, 248

    40 time: 4.83

    225 bench: 27 reps

    Vertical jump: 31 inches

    Arms: 29¼ inches

    Round projection: 2-3

    Mayock: “The only reason I’m saying he’s a riser is because since the coaches have gotten involved in the evaluation, you keep hearing people say, ‘Man, he’s a football player.’ Because based on his measurables — 5-11, 248, 29-inch arms — based on those, he’s probably not draftable. But based on college production, the kid was all over the field every game. But because of the short arms and because he gets stuck on blocks sometimes, a lot of scouts were saying he’s a fourth- or fifth-round kind of guy. But now that the coaches are involved, they’re saying, ‘Are you kidding me? This kid, he just finds a way. He’s everywhere.’ Worst case, he’s a third-round pick. And if I needed a MIKE linebacker, I’d take him in the second round.”

    THE SLEEPER

    Name: Andrew Jackson

    School: Western Kentucky

    Height, weight: 6-1, 254

    40 time: 4.82

    225 bench: NA

    Vertical jump: NA

    Arms: 32½ inches

    Round projection: 6

    Mayock: “Jackson is one of the few downhill thumpers left these days. He’s probably a sixth-round pick. He’s an edgy kid with some off-the-field issues. But I like him as a player and think he’s going to make a team.”

    Tomorrow: Cornerbacks and safeties

    MIKE MAYOCK For the Daily News
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