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hawaiiansteel
02-22-2011, 02:47 AM
February 21, 2011

Mike Mayockís Thoughts on Combine

By TONI MONKOVIC


There are only two things guaranteed to N.F.L. fans this year: There will be a scouting combine and there will be a draft. The rest is up to the league, the players and the lawyers.

The NFL Network starts coverage of the combine on Thursday. More than five million people watched it last year, over four days.

Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald wrote: ďA weekís worth of MLB telecasts on ESPN (three games) drew a combined four million viewers last season. And keep in mind that ESPN is in 100 million homes, compared with 57 million for NFL NetworkĒ.

Some combine catnip is below: the transcript of Thursdayís conference call with the NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, as released by the league. Mayock said there could be nine defensive ends drafted in the first round. He also said Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett were supremely gifted quarterbacks who have a lot to prove in other areas.

Q. You mentioned the four quarterbacks in the first round. I wanted to ask you about Pat Devlin though. He seems to have a resume a lot like Joe Flaccoís, but heís not being considered first round. What can you do to get up there? How do you see his future from the draft on?

MIKE MAYOCK: I donít think too many people have a Joe Flacco resume because they donít have a Joe Flacco arm. Heís one of the few people in the NFL that can throw the football with the arm strength and accuracy with the 6í6? frame. So thatís a different kind of quarterback.

His resumeís similar on paper. Big school transfer, back to a local school, Division I?AA, goes to the championship game. All of that sounds good. I had a chance to watch him on film with Pat about two months ago, and he sat down at my house for three hours and watched tape with me.

And heís a really intelligent kid. He understands pass protections, he knows where and when to throw the football. He played in the East?West game. I think Pat would probably tell you he wasnít excited about his entire week down there. Heís a very accurate quarterback that didnít throw it as accurately as he should. And he struggled a little bit in the game.

So right now Pat is considered more of a mid?round guy, fourth, fifth round guy. As far as what he can do between now and then, nowís the time that heís going to shine because heís going to be really good in the interviews. Heís going to look you in the eye. Heís going to spit out protections and numbers and he gets the game of football.

Heís got to throw the football extremely well at the Combine, and heís got to do it again at his pro day, and thatís the only way heís going to move himself up.

Q. Can you talk about A.J. Green, the Georgia wide receiver you have ranked number one on your list, Mike?

MAYOCK: Iíve never heard of him. Who is he (laughing)? Heís a special wide receiver now. You know, the thing that really caught my eye was he had the four?game suspension, and he came back against Colorado. Colorado has two NFL corners in Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown. He came out with like seven catches for like 118, 120 yards, two touchdowns. He dominated the game.

It was his first week back. He had two or three touchdown catches. One of which was a one?handed back shoulder throw. So to me heís a top 10 pick. Heís the best wide receiver I saw on tape. Heís got the combination of height, width, speed. He catches the football. I believe heís physical enough to get off press coverage.

So if youíre ever going to look at a wide receiver and say this is the guy that fits any offense, I think A.J. Greenís the guy.

Q. Patrick Peterson, how do you rank him compared to Joe Haden of a year ago? And additionally, can he invade the top defensive linemen in this draft? Is he good enough to take at six?

MAYOCK: Patrick Peterson is potentially a top 10 pick, yeah. Heís a big corner. Hereís my take on Patrick Peterson is that whenever you see a corner of his size ?? youíre talking about plus or minus 220?pound corner ?? heís got a little bit of stiffness to him that the longer, bigger corners always do or usually do.

So heís most comfortable in press?man. If you try to play him in off?man, heís going to struggle a little bit. So I believe you need a team thatís going to let him press, get up in?your?face, knock him out at the line of scrimmage and turn and run.

Heís got a little stiffness to him, but ultimately he might be best served as a safety. I think he can play corner, but down the road a little bit, because heís a big, strong tough guy that can run, I think he might be an all pro safety.

Having said all that, itís a tough comparison with Joe Haden because Hadenís a smaller, quicker guy with feet. Theyíre different types of animals. So Patrick Peterson is certainly a guy that could be considered in the top 10. But I think it has to fit the type of team. Somebody thatís going to let him get up, press, be physical at the line of scrimmage. Thatís where heíll be the best player he can be.

Q. Iím wondering how many first round grades you have on players, and if this might be one of those years where you get into the 20ís, if thereís a clump of players that might be the same maybe down early into the second round?

MAYOCK: I think thatís an interesting question. Iíve got a deeper first round than Iíve had in the past several years. I think it starts because of the defensive line class, and let me give you an example.

Iíve got eight or nine defensive ends with first round grades. Typically four defensive ends go in the first round. And I start looking at kids like Muhammad Wilkerson from Temple, an underclassman. He could be a defensive tackle or a defensive end. He could go from 25 to 40, and the kid is a heck of a football player.

I think he would fit into the first round a year ago easily, and he might get pushed into the second round with the quality and depth of this defensive line group.

I think depending on what youíre looking for ? and this is how I always look at it ? if youíre looking for a corner at the end of the first round, you might have a problem. If youíre looking for a defensive end, a defensive tackle or maybe an offensive tackle, youíre in luck.

So itís about whether or not your needs meet up with the strength of this yearís draft. Because the corners there is a big drop off after the first two in my belief. The same thing, running backs are really interesting. But there are a lot of running backs in the third round that can get one. So itís really about what youíre looking for in your scheme.

Q. Cam Newton gets compared a lot to Tim Tebow. How do Camís throwing mechanics compare to Tebow, and how are Camís throwing mechanics overall?

MAYOCK: His throwing mechanics are excellent. If you want to compare them to the two best runners in the last bunch of years of big quarterbacks, Vince Young and Tim Tebow, his throwing mechanics are superior to both. Heís a big, strong guy.

We all know he can run, and thatís one of the reasons why last week when he had that media throwing extravaganza I knew I didnít have to go because Iíve seen it on tape. I knew he was going to look great in a pair of shorts.

So to me there are two questions to Cam Newton, and this is what I mean about these quarterbacks that youíve got to figure out. He comes out of a very simple pass offense at Auburn. Basically, one look, and either the ball comes out or he comes on out.

Can he process from an IQ perspective, a complicated NFL pass offense? That is number one. And number two, thereís some baggage to the kid. Weíve got to figure that out. I say the same thing with Ryan Mallett. There is some baggage to the kid. Can you figure that kid out? Because those two kids might have the best ?? Iím amazed at how well those two kids throw the football.

In a pair of shorts you say I want them on my team. But you donít play in gym shorts on Sunday. So you better figure out their work ethics, their toughness, and their football IQ, and therein lies the rub with the top quarterbacks this year.

Q. If youíre picking a three?four end to be a playmaker, top of the draft, who are the guys youíre watching in the next few months and who should you take?

MAYOCK: Some really good three?four ends this year. Iím very impressed with J.J. Watt from Wisconsin. He can play inside or outside. Heís a monster, and he could be sitting there when San Diego picks at 18, although I think heíll be gone.

Cam Jordan from Cal had a great week in Senior Bowl. Love him. Heís a five technique defensive end. Cam Hayward from Ohio State, if you put on the Sugar Bowl ?? not the Sugar Bowl ?? put their Bowl game on and he dominated that game. It was phenomenal against Arkansas.

As you go down, Muhammad Wilkerson from Temple. He might be there in the second round, but to me heís a first round player. This is one of the better years Iíve seen. You could pick up a Brandon Bair from Oregon in the third or fourth round. So there are a bunch of those three?four defensive ends out there this year.

Q. Wonder if the uncertainty surrounding a free agent situation this year changes or tweaks the way teams might approach the draft?

MAYOCK: Itís a good question. I really believe that you donít even know what the free agent situationís going to be this year. Is there going to be free agency? Is there going to be a four?year guy, six?year guy? How are they going to deal with that whole thing?

If you donít have those answers, you have to go into your draft room and draft like you always do every year. I think you have to look at the big picture and not just, oh, oh, if we donít have training camp, do we need a guy thatís ready to play today?

I think if you start trying to answer questions with draft picks on the short?term, youíre going to get beat on the long?term. So the best thing you can do is take a step back and say weíre going to do what we always do. Weíre going to draft the best football players that fit our scheme because we canít worry about things we canít control right now.

Q. Can you tell me about some of the prospects in Southern California schools, and in particular what you think of UCLA?

MAYOCK: To me, Akeem Ayers Iíve got him, I believe, as my number two outside linebacker prospect. Heís played both with his hand in the dirt and up. He played linebacker at UCLA. I think heís got first round ability because of his natural ability to get to the quarterback.

Most of the three?four teams are very interested in him. Although I think he can play in a four?three scheme. So if youíre scheme diverse, thatís a good thing.

Secondly, Rahim Moore, the free safety at UCLA, in a bad, bad safety year, heís the best safety out there. Whether or not that gets him in the first round, I donít know.

He reminds me a little bit of a poor manís ?? kid from Texas last year who I loved. Why am I drawing a blank? Started for Seattle this year.

ERIC WEINBERGER: Earl Tomas.

MAYOCK: Thank you. You can tell how quickly they leave my mind. He reminded me on tape a little bit of Earl Tomas. Not quite as good, but heís got great range. I think heíll fit somewhere late one to mid two.

Over at USC youíve got the big offensive tackle. Moving upwards, everybodyís anxious to see what his real weight is. Nobody seems to know what it is. He looks like heís about 280, and everybodyís hoping heís 300?plus. But what a great frame. Real good athletic ability, huge wing span. People are very anxious to see him at the Combine.

The defensive tackle, Jurrell Casey looks like a late one to mid two. Reminds me of the Patterson kid from a year ago. Then there are several other kids, as there always are at USC, whether itís Ron Johnson the wide out, Shareece Wright, the corner. Theyíre more middle round guys, third, fourth round type of guys.

If there is anybody else specifically youíd like me to hit, just let he me know.

Q. Iíve got a multi?part question about Aldon Smith. The NFL Network sent out the top 5 at each position, I believe it was dated yesterday. You donít have him listed either at defensive end or outside linebacker. Just what do you think of Aldon? Is he the classic guy who should have stayed in school for at least another year? Ideally do you see him as a three?four or outside linebacker and a four?three end? Is there a guy that when you watch him, he kind of reminds of you of who is kind of in the league right now?

MAYOCK: Yeah, heís an interesting kid. You could go Jason Pierre Paul. The first tape I saw of Jason Pierre Paul, and I saw a little Simeon Rice. One of whom is a defensive end, one of whom is an outside linebacker. So heís got a little of that ability to go either way.

When youíre going through my top 5 list, unfortunately, because itís only top 5, you heard me mention earlier Iíve got eight or nine defensive ends that I have first round grades on. So Iím not trying to disrespect Aldon Smith. Iíve got him as my number seven defensive end, which puts him in my first round as far as a first round grade.

Now he played hurt a lot this year. I have had several scouts tell me he had a more explosive year the year before. The Ď09 tape is apparently better, but Iíve only seen the 2010 tape.

But I think heís a kid thatís too explosive and too fast to not go in the first round. He may even go higher than I have him right now. But people want to qualify him, see how big he is.

Like all these juniors, the first real exposure the NFL gets with these kids live is at the Combine. And thatís a big piece of whatís going to happen next week. Those kind of kids. How do they work out and present themselves? Even what they weigh and how long are they?

So Aldon Smith to me is a first round pick, and he probably could play in either scheme but that is something we need to see at the Combine in the drills.

Q. You alluded to Ryan Mallett earlier, and the concerns teams have about him. Just basically what are those concerns and do you think he can overcome them in Indianapolis? Why do you still have a first round grade on him?

MAYOCK: I didnít say I have a first round grade on him. I said that Iíve got four guys with first round ability. To me there is a distinction there, and people just assume when I say that I think heís a first round guy.

Hereís what Ryan Mallet is. Ryan Mallett has unbelievable, God?given ability to throw a football. And when he has clear pocket and clear vision, there is nobody in the game better. Comes from an offense where you can see him drop back under center, you can see him play action. And there are two plays in the Georgia game that to me summarize this kid, back?to?back throws.

The first play he throws a 35?yard post against Georgia that was on the line the whole way. Thirty-five yards, on a line, he hit his receiver right in the helmet. It was an unbelievably difficult throw, and he made it look easy.

Literally the next play on a 7?yard hitch, he made a throw where three Georgia players touched it. An under guy, a linebacker coming under, and a corner from behind. It was one of the worst decisions in throws Iíve seen on back?to?back throws. That is the problem with this kid.

Every time I get excited he does something from a decision making or an accuracy perspective that bothers me. The common denominator is when he goes bad itís because of pressure in the pocket. When he canít step up, when he canít see, when he doesnít have clear vision, I believe his production goes way down.

Having said all of those things, I would be very concerned about taking him in the first round.

Q. Do you think he can bridge that gap between first round talent and first round grade with Indianapolis? Are there concerns about his leadership and things like that?

MAYOCK: Itís not about him throwing in shorts. Heís going to look great whether he throws in Indy or at Arkansasís pro day or both. Heís going to throw the hell out of the football. Itís more about what he does at night in the meetings and whether or not he can convince the NFL people that he understands the game. He can continue to work through his pocket awareness and get better and better.

Q. The Vikings situation, they obviously need to take a quarterback. But at number 12, do you see them trying to target somebody there, trade up or potentially wait until a later round? Second, third and try to grab somebody at that spot there? What is your view of that?

MAYOCK: I think what they have to do is theyíve got to grind the top four guys real hard. Gabbert, Locker, Newton and Mallett. Theyíve got to look at those four guys and first make the decision that at number 12, we believe that many of them are worthwhile at that pick.

Second thing, if we believe Blaine Gabbert is the best of the four, are we willing to move up? If so, how far do we have to go and what is is going to cost us?

Cam Newton, what do we think about him? Would we be willing to move up, or if heís there, are we going to take him? That is the first level. And the second level of discussion is if there is a play maker, theyíre not convinced, for instance, if they say Gabbertís the only one that we like ?? and I donít know any of this, Iím just throwing it out as an example ?? if we like Gabbert, and heís not there at 12, weíll take somebody else and come back in the second round.

And who are our choices at that point? And basically youíre looking at Andy Dalton, Ponder, Stanzi, and Kaepernick. Those are the guys that comprise the next level. And I guarantee you that Rick Spielman and his guys are grinding the heck out of that group of eight players, because I think one of those eight has to be a Minnesota Viking next year.

Q. How much does quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Roethlisberger, and Josh Freeman, their ability to extend plays against exotic blitzes help guys like Gabbert and Newton especially with no consensus number one picks in this draft?

MAYOCK: I think the most important thing is having confidence that your quarterback can understand a very complicated NFL offense, and what NFL defenses are doing in like 1.2 seconds and be able to make the right decisions.

I think the ability to defend plays physically because youíre so big and strong or because youíre so gifted footwork wise is the next level. I think the more important thing is, and Dan Marino is the guy that everybody points out with the quick release and ability to get rid of the football, but if you have that, the rest of it doesnít matter. If you know when and where to throw the football and have a good release, you can play in this league at a high level.

Now all of these quarterbacks this year ?? I mean, Gabbert is more athletic than people give him credit for. Locker is an incredible athlete. Heís probably going to run a 4.5 or better. Cam Newton is an unbelievable athlete. Mallett, not much. But those first three guys are real athletic, and Mallett is okay. None of them are stiffs.

I think in todayís pressure?packed NFL defenses, it helps to have a guy with good feet and an athletic body. But with anything, youíve got to have the football IQ to make it work.

Q. The defensive coordinator with the Niners likes to bring a lot of pressure and bring in the three?four, they donít have a great pass?rushing outside linebacker. Can you talk about theyíre picking seven, the guys that would make sense?

MAYOCK: I think that Von Miller from Texas A&M is the prototype 3?4 rush linebacker. Heís got an amazing ability to not only have a great get off and quickness, but also to bend his body to twist and turn, flatten the corner to get to a quarterback.

Heís a tiny bit undersized and youíve got to get yourself comfortable with that. Heís not as big as a DeMarcus Ware was when he came out but I think heís tough enough to overcome that.

If youíre talking about in the first round at number 7 and youíre looking for an edge rusher, I think Von Miller is the guy as far as the outside linebackers are concerned. I think there are a bunch of guys, as I mentioned before, that I think the defensive end in a 3-4, you could probably pick a real good one up early in the second round.

I think some people are going to look at Clayborn from Iowa as a conversion guy, a defensive end that could play outside linebacker. Didnít have a great senior year.

And outside of that, DaíQuan Bowers and Robert Quinn are two of the most gifted pass rushers in this draft. I think theyíre both fitted more for a four?three than a three?four.

Q. With the Bills at three, obviously theyíve been looking for a long?term solution at quarterback for a while. Cam Newtonís a name that constantly comes up. Also with the defense thatís ranked 32nd against the run, there is pressure to fix that side of the ball as well. Can you just weigh the dilemma, for a lack of a better term there at three, between plugging some holes up on the defensive front versus getting the answer at quarterback with some of the questions that are out there that you already mentioned?

MAYOCK: To me itís pretty simple. If you believe there is a franchise quarterback at three, and I donít care if itís Gabbert, Newton, Locker, whoever, if the Buffalo Bills believe that, that need trumps everything else.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is okay, but you need a franchise quarterback. If your belief is such, youíve got to draft them. If not, if you have any doubts whatsoever, you look to the defensive side.

Who makes sense for Buffalo on the defensive side? I think Von Miller makes a lot of sense. The rush linebacker from A&M. I think a corner could make sense. Patrick Peterson could go that high.

So if youíre sitting there with Buffalo and you donít go quarterback, there is an awful lot of play making defensive players to pick from. Whether itís Fairley, whether itís Marcell Dareus, Miller and Patrick Peterson would make a ton of sense.

Q. I was curious about the Browns at number six, and kind of the dilemma of number one receiver or defensive end. I donít know how you feel about that. And do you think Quinn not playing last year is a big detriment that early?

MAYOCK: I think as this draft gets closer, youíre going to see Quinnís name move higher and higher. Iíve actually just ordered a bunch more tape from him in Ď09 because Iíve got to figure him out better.

I do know heís a physical freak. Heís probably best fitted in the four?man front. You could probably make a Julius Peppers comparison if you want to stay within the same school he goes to. Heís a special, special athlete. Youíve got to figure him out off the field. Heís obviously got some baggage.

What was the other question?

Q. Iím just curious about the receiver and defensive linemen. Then you have these great defensive linemen out there?

MAYOCK: Yeah, youíve got to take a look at A.J. Green who is the real deal. The top 10 type versus Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Robert Quinn, or DaíQuan Bowers is out there. All of whom could fit your scheme. So that is a tough question.

Typically Iím not big on wide receivers in the top 10 because I always think you can kind of drop down and get other guys that fit your scheme. However, youíve got a young quarterback. You donít have a lot of play making wide receivers. Youíve got a couple of pretty good young wide receivers, but theyíre not play makers.

So I think A.J. Green becomes very, very legitimate in that slot. But it depends on which one of these defensive players slips through to number six.

Q. From the perspective of the Broncos at number two and Carolina right ahead of them, Broncos going to the four?three probably with John Fox. Just wondering DaíQuan Bowers or Nick Fairley, do you think?

MAYOCK: I mean, you just mentioned two incredibly talented guys that each have boom or bust potential. And DaíQuan Bowers is a one?year wonder. It was a wonderful one year, but you better make sure that youíre getting what you hope youíre getting because he did not have much production prior to that.

As far as Nick Fairley is concerned, I would also throw in Marcell Dareusís name. I think Nick Fairley might have a tiny bit more upside than Dareus, but I think Dareus has a higher floor. You kind of know what youíre getting with Dareus.

I would throw all three of those names in the hopper and say the teams are going to grind the hell out of DaíQuan Bowers and Nick Fairley because theyíre great football players with all kinds of upside and you just better know what youíre getting after you hand that guy millions of dollars.

Q. Wondering if those eight quarters that you mentioned, you said the Vikings have to come out of there with one of them. Do you think the Bengals have to come out of there with one of them, and is Ford a reach for a quarterback?

MAYOCK: I think Gabbertís a top 10 guy. Having said that, every team in the top 10, for me, thinks they need a quarterback to grind the heck out of all of those guys, especially Gabbert. I donít know. Youíre closer to Carson Palmer than I am. I donít know whatís going to happen are there, you probably do.

Youíve got to grind the quarterback. And itís the same answer as previous, which is if you think heís a franchise guy, it trumps everything else and youíve got to take them.

Q. I donít think anybodyís close to him now. But you like Gabbert, right? You like his size?

MAYOCK: I like Gabbert a lot. He can throw. Heís a bigger kid than I think everybody thinks. Iíve got more homework to do with him especially football IQ wise and off the field. He had a couple of bad games. And I think it was a Nebraska tape, he was like 18 for 42 if I remember. I think it was just a bad game.

But if you put the tape on, you realize the kid didnít realize he had a second to throw the football. Nebraskaís getting home with three and four defensive linemen. Didnít even have to blitz. They were killing him.

So youíve got to take with a grain of salt some of the poor performances of Gabbert. And Iíve probably seen at least seven of his games purely on tape. He reminds me of the guys that have done well the last couple of years. He reminds me of Bradford. He reminds me of Matt Ryan.

If you look at the last three years, NFL teams have done a really good job with their first round quarterbacks. Itís been like six hits in a row with no bust. Which probably means weíre due for a couple of busts this year.

Q. I was curious what you think of the depth of the receiver class to the point that the Ravens might want to look at someone like Torrey Smith where theyíre drafting toward the end of the round, and if someone like that might outrank maybe a good pass?rusher like some of these good defensive ends youíve been discussing and what you think the Ravens needs might be for this draft?

MAYOCK: The wide receiver is difficult. Itís going to get interesting starting with the Combine. What is Julio Jones going to run? What is John Baldwin going to run? If youíre talking about the Baltimore Ravens, theyíre looking for a vertical guy. Theyíre looking for a guy that flies, and Torrey Smith fits that.

Heís a guy thatís going to run 4.35 or 4.38 or something in there. When you put that with 17 catches or whatever it was, thatís what you see. You see vertical speed. You donít see him up against press. You just see him run vertical routes, crosses and bubbles, and he can do that. I mean, heís really special when it comes to those kind of routes.

Do I believe heís physical enough with the ability enough to get off press coverage consistently? Itís something heís going to have to get better at. But when you start to compare him to whatís left on the defensive board when you get to where Baltimoreís drafting at number 26, I think theyíd love to find a real good corner around are there, but you tell me.

After Amukamara and Patrick Peterson, there is a drop off. And Iím not sure the kid from Texas, Aaron Williams, and Iím not sure ?? I donít like the Miami kid up are there, Brandon Harris. So I donít think there is a fit for the Ravens at corner at 26.

I do think a receiver will be there, and I do know that some of those defensive linemen and linebacker types that they like will be there.

Q. Any names that you can throw out that are appropriate for that part of the round at the ďDĒ line and linebacker position?

MAYOCK: I think at that point, I think Aldon Smith will be there. I think Muhammad Wilkerson will be there. I think those kind of guys make a lot of sense. Cameron Jordan, if he was there, they all make sense.

Q. So many times in the past the personnel moves have been free agency first, and then sort of use the draft to fill in what you canít do or couldnít do in free agency. Do you see the draft changing at all or have the dynamics changed this year with the likelihood of having no free agency before the draft? Also as a quick follow?up, at 22 can the Colts get their left tackle finally?

MAYOCK: Iíll take the first one. I do think there will be a good left tackle there. Whether itís Castonzo from B.C. or Solder or Tyron Smith or Carimi. Those four guys are all first round tackles.

And I think out of that group, Carimiís probably better on the right side but could handle the left. I also think Derek Sherrod from Mississippi State is a guy that a lot of people have in the second round that probably could be a first round left tackle.

So I believe that guy will be there for Indy. As far as changing your draft plans because of the uncertainty of the CBA, I said earlier, you can get in trouble if you start putting the cart before the horse.

You donít even know what the free agencyís going to look like this year. Four years, six years, what is it going to be and who is going to be available? So you have to go back to the basics, which is what Bill Polianís great at. Which is who fits our screen, and weíre going to go get them. If you start looking for Band?aids because the CBA is so uncertain this year, long?term itís going to hurt you.

Q. So the draft has to be your life blood even more so now?

MAYOCK: I donít think it changes now. The good teams always have been draft teams.

Q. Assuming that the Browns choose one of those elite prospects over A.J. Green at number six, who are some of the wide receivers they might look at with their early second round pick?

MAYOCK: It depends on what happens. Early in the second round, what I think is going to happen is John Baldwin from Pitt is probably sitting there. Heís an athletic freak. I think heís probably going to put on a show at the Combine. With his height, weight and speed, I donít see him getting much past the mid?point of the second round.

I also think if youíre looking for vertical guys, Titus Young from Boise State could still be there. I thought he was the best senior receiver at the Senior Bowl this year. He gets in and out of his breaks, catches everything. Reminds me a little bit of DeSean Jackson both on and off the field.

And I think at that point if Torrey Smith is still there, I think theyíre the logical guys. Titus Young, Baldwin Smith, then youíll drop down into Randall Cobb from Kentucky. Heís a little bit of an all everything type of guy.

How do you evaluate Greg Little who missed his entire senior year from the University of North Carolina? And at had that point, I think it starts to drop off and youíre looking more at late second and third round guys.

Q. Wondering what you consider the top draft needs at 25. You got an a up close look at them in the New Orleans Playoff game. Then how does the quarterback situation work into that? Hasselbeckís going to be a free agent and they made a trade from Whitehurst last year. So overall who Seattle might be looking at with that number 25 pick?

MAYOCK: I donít even know what their free agency prospects are right now because I donít do team needs until after the Combine. But from a quarterback perspective theyíve got to make some decisions right now, obviously. Matt Hasselbeck is not getting any younger.

Whitehurst had kind of an interesting season. Had he some highlight, especially at the end of the year there. But I donít think he answered all the questions. So the first thing that Pete Carroll and those guys have to decide is are they looking at a quarterback there?

There is a guy right down the street who has first round ability, but hasnít always shown that. It would be interesting to see what their evaluation of Jake Locker is because thatís a really talented kid who has first round potential, but has struggled in the pocket.

Lot of people are writing him off, and Iím not. Iím not. I think he we have to do a bunch of homework on him. If you want to ask me any specifics about positions you might think theyíre looking at, thatís fine.

Q. Yeah, defensive line and interior line, you know, maybe a guard to pair with him now that theyíve got him at tackle. They have ten different offensive line combinations.

MAYOCK: I agree with that watching them on tape. They had a bunch of guys in and out of that lineup. I think Pouncey from Florida probably is gone at that point. Couple of guys Iím intrigued by are Danny Watkin from Baylor, and Clint Boling who played tackle at Georgia. Both of them were tackles in college. Both of them I believe will be interior linemen.

Watkins is a Canadian kid who has only played four or five years of football. Heís got some upside. Heís a tough, nasty kid. And Boling is a better football player than I gave him credit for. I liked what he did at The Senior Bowl.

Heís probably more of a second round guy. But there are some pretty good interior guys.

John Moffitt from Wisconsin, another second or third round interior guy. He can play center or guard, and Rodney Hudson from Florida State is another guy who has played guard. I think he might be a better center to be honest with you.

I could give you a bunch of different names because, for instance, Marcus Cannon from TCU is a kid who played tackle. I think heís better at guard. There is a small school kid named William Rackley from Lehigh who you could get from the third and fourth round, so I think heíll be a starter in the league.

Itís a pretty good year for interior offensive linemen. You donít necessarily have to get them in the first round.

Q. But you think bottom line they have to figure out if thereís the possibility of getting a franchise quarterback late in the first round depending on their evaluation of Locker?

MAYOCK: I think you always start with the quarterback. If youíre not, theyíve got to evaluate their own two guys first. And if theyíre not sure, and there is one sitting there, theyíve got to take him.

Q. Given what you said about the cornerbacks, do you view that is a position that will take at the end of the first round? And what do you think are the best positions for them to target at the end of the first round?

MAYOCK: I think corner and offensive line are their two most obvious areas of need. Pittsburgh is one of those teams that typically takes the highest rated player at their biggest position of need. And Kevin has done a great job with that.

Remember, these are my preferences. Pittsburgh might like the kid from Texas. They might like the kid from Miami. I happen to think the kid from Miami to me is a second or third round corner. Heís not a first round corner.

The kid from Texas, Aaron Williams, to me Iím still trying to figure him out. Iíve watched about three or four of his tapes, and heís the guy that could fit in at the end of the first round.

Aaron Williams, I think would be interesting to them. Heíll tackle. Heís kind of a physical guy, bigger corner. He might be the guy that they look at. If itís not corner, then I think it has to be offensive line.

I thought they did a great job keeping it together with all the injuries theyíve had this year. But theyíve got to go get one of those big tackles that Iíve already mentioned or get one of those inside guys. One way or another, theyíve got to upgrade the athleticism of the offensive line.

Q. If heís still there, what would the Rams be getting in Julio Jones at wide receiver? And if heís not, are there a couple of defensive linemen either ends or defensive tackles that might be good value in the Rams four?three scheme?

MIKE MAYOCK: If Julioís there, theyíd probably sprint up the podium with the card. I think heís a real logical fit, and they have to start complementing Sam Bradford. Theyíve got to get some talent out wide.

I think heís the most logical guy at the entire draft for them at 14. For me, I think thatís where he goes is somewhere between 10 and 18. I think he probably wonít get past St. Louis if heís there.

As far as, you were talking about defensive ends and tackles, correct?

Q. Yeah, if heís not there, yeah.

MAYOCK: The guy that I think will rise up in this draft as we get closer is a junior from Illinois named Corey Liuget, defensive tackle. I think heís a top 20 pick. I think heís the ideal three-technique, defensive tackle, quick up the field, penetrating kind of guy. I really like him a lot.

Then as far as the defensive ends, you heard me mention a bunch of them. I think Bowers will be gone. I think Quinn will be gone. Youíve got to look at Clayborn real hard. Heís an edge guy with great burst up the field. Some of the three?four teams are looking at him also. But I think he can play in that four?three scheme.

Ryan Kerrigan, you probably already have that type of guy in Chris Long. Aldon Smith is an explosive edge guy, so no matter what sitting at 14 is going to be a really good defensive lineman sitting there, I promise you.

Q. Back to Gabbert for just a moment. When you say you have to do more homework on his football IQ, what questions do you still have about him that you havenít answered yet?

MIKE MAYOCK: The most important thing for me in a quarterback today is their ability to move to the next level with the sophistication involved. How hard a worker are they. You hear me say it all the time.

I mention Matt Ryan all the time because for me because I knew the kid, I knew he was a no?brainer. He didnít have the best pro day I ever saw. I knew he had good skills. He didnít have elite skills. But I knew this kid wanted to be the best quarterback of all time, and he would do everything he could to do it. On top of it, heís a tough kid. Heís a smart kid and he had excellent quarterback skills.

So I look at Gabbert and I say, okay, on tape I see a better athlete than I expected. I see a tough kid, and I see a kid that can make all the throws. Those things are all important. But when you chart every throw he makes over a six or seven game period, heís a spread offense guy. Completely different than what heís going to do in the NFL.

So Iím talking about the transition from a college spread guy to an NFL guy, which is a lot harder than people understand. The footworkís completely different, the reads are completely different.

So when I talk about football IQ, I talk about this kidís ability to transition from what he has been to what he needs to be, and how quickly can he get it done?

Q. What speaks out to you about (Indiscernible) and when you look at the Combine, how valuable is it for the smaller group players who could so easily be measured in competition.

MAYOCK: Good question. The kid in Villanova to me is a really good football player with a lot of upside. Heís a left tackle that was invited to the Senior Bowl and missed it because I believe it was a double hernia surgery. He played the last five six game was double hernia, which shows how tough a kid he is.

Heís got great feet, long arm as. Heís not as tall as theyíd like. Heís barely 6í4?, but I think he might kick in size. But I think heís got the arm length and the feet to stay outside.

As far as the small school kids, itís critical they take advantage of every opportunity they get. Whether itís the All?Star Bowl game, the Senior Bowl, the East?West, Texas versus the nation, whatever the opportunity is, they need to be bigger, better and faster than the BCS kids. The BCS kids get the benefit of every doubt.

Now heís and SEC so he played against great competition every kid. If youíre the Villanova tackle or the Lehigh tackle, you better make sure you put your best foot forward every chance you can.

I really think the small school kids are penalized at least a round, a full round by being where they come from. Theyíve got to make that up either in the All?Star Games, the pro days or the Combine.

Q. I heard you talking earlier about offensive linemen that might be available in the first round. I mean those guys are worthy of a first round pick if thatís where the Eagles decide they need to go. Trying to see if there are going to be any good quarterbacks available that late?

MAYOCK: Again, this is my corner evaluation and, the Eagles or Steelers or whoever may disagree. But I think itís a drop off after the top two.

As far as the offensive line, I think itís real deep. I think thereís five offensive tackles that you could take in the first round and could play well. I think Maurkice Pounceyís younger brother Mike Pouncey could be a first interior lineman.

And after that, depending on what youíre looking for, it gets a little different. The Eagles could pick up a tackle in the second round, offensive lineman in the second round. It depends on how they feel about the corners at number 23.

Q. The Cardinals have obvious needs at quarterback, corner and outside linebacker. If you were Ken Whisenhunt, and Gabbert, Peterson, and Von Miller are on the board at number 5, what player would be the safe pick for the Cardinals?

MAYOCK: I go back to what I always say. If you believe there is a franchise quarterback that trumps every other need. Since Kurt Warner retired, that underscores that point better than anything I can say.

So if you believe Gabbert is the guy, youíve got to take him right there. And I think they have to be evaluating him right now. I think they also have to be evaluating Von Miller. Heís the prototype rush linebacker, and he immediately becomes the headache in a guy youíve got to game plan for every week coming off the edge.

I didnít hear you, but Iím assuming you probably also threw a corner in there. Did you mention Patrick Peterson?

Q. Yes.

MIKE MAYOCK: Yeah, Patrick Peterson is the third guy I think you have to be looking at because of his ability to play the corner position, and possibly kick inside down the road a little bit like Antrel Rolle did a few years back.

So if they believe, like I believe, that Gabbertís the top 10 pick, that would be my guy at 5.

Q. With the CBA, how are draft day trades going to play out?

MIKE MAYOCK: It depends. It depends if, for instance, if by the draft this thing gets done and there is a rookie wage scale, if that comes in place and it gets more cap friendly and dollar friendly for a top 10 pick, then I think youíll see more movement in the top 10 than youíve seen in years. There are also high quality players.

If thatís not the case and youíre heading into some uncertainty, I think itís just business as usual.

Q. This is an interesting class for offensive tackles because the four marquis guys you saw at The Senior Bowl all of them have upside. I wonder if you could go through what you saw out of those four at The Senior Bowl. And also where do you see guys lining up and who might be, in the end, franchise quality?

MAYOCK: Itís interesting because all of them showed some flaws at The Senior Bowl, and I just watched a bunch of the practice tape last week. For instance, we went into that week, and Nate Solder is 6í8? with a long wing span. But he showed that he was ?? heís got some technique flaws.

Heís got great feet, heís got long arms, but he had a propensity for getting beat inside. Most of it is technique, so youíve got to buy into the fact that you can coach that and teach that, but heís got some issues. I think heís probably a year away from being a dominant left tackle, even though heís got the height, the weight, and the length that you want.

I think Castonzo was really solid all week in practice. They kicked him around to a bunch of different positions. I thought the kid did a great job in practice. And he had two or three really bad snaps in the game, again, a little bit technique?wise. He got overextended. Got his weight out over his toes. So heís a guy that I like in the run game a little bit more than Solder.

And Carimiís really interesting. Carimiís a guy thatís got less talent than either of them. But heís so well?coached. He kicked inside the guard. He didnít miss a beat. He played right tackle. I think heís the kind of guy you draft late in the first round. You try him at left tackle, and if he canít handle the speed out there, youíve got an all pro right tackle.

But this kidís well coached, tough and smart. Wouldnít surprise me if he could handle the left side.

And Derek Sherrod for Mississippi State is mostly a left tackle. Heís all legs and arms, really long, good feet, and ultimately heís going to be a solid left tackle.

So all of those guys I think will be ultimately solid left tackles. You just have to figure out how high you want to go for a Solder or Castonzo when there are technical flaws that have to be fixed.

Q. How deep in the draft can the Browns get a solid right tackle?

MIKE MAYOCK: You can go down in the third, fourth round and find some pretty solid guys. For instance, Jah Reid from Central Florida and Joe Barksdale from LSU. To me theyíre both going to be right tackles.

Jah Reid played in the East?West game. You might even get him in the fourth or fifth round. Heís a right tackle only. Heís a huge kid. Doesnít look good in drills, but he looks good when you get 11 players on the field.

Barksdale is a little bit of an underachiever. A starter at LSU, all the height, weight and speed you want, but not real consistent. Jason Pinkston from Pitt, fourth or fifth round. So I think thereís enough tackles in this draft.

And Iím a believer that you usually ought to be able to find a right tackle anyway. Youíre looking for a tough guy thatís going to get some help from the running backs or H?backs in the pass game that arenít quite as gifted as the left tackle, so theyíre easier to find.

Q. The way that number 13, do you think they can get value and guys to fit their scheme either an outside linebacker or cornerback at that spot?

MAYOCK: My belief at corner is that both those corners I talked about will probably be gone. If Amukamara, and heís there, you probably make a move for him. But I donít think heís going to be there.

If youíre looking at an outside linebacker position, I donít think people are going to take Bruce Carter early because heís coming off an injury. Heís worthy of that pick if heís healthy, but heís coming off a knee.

So outside of those guys, there probably arenít the linebackers at 13 that youíd be looking for. Iím assuming he also might be open at offensive tackles at that point.

I think at that point, thatís about the beginning the of the area where a Castonzo or TyRon Smith of USC or Solder might be interesting.

Q. I noticed earlier in the off?season talking up Kaepernickís arm strength. I know heís a real good athlete. Is he a guy that would climb up in the top 5 quarterback rankings to go to the Combine and impresses?

MIKE MAYOCK: I had a chance to see him last summer at Peyton Manningís Passing Academy. I spent three days watching the kid throw the ball with Peyton and Eli. Heís got a huge arm. Heís a great athlete, and heís got a big frame. The kind of guy you want to buy into.

Heís the kind of guy thatís going to rise a little bit. A lot of people thought he was a third, fourth, fifth rounder heading into the season. Now heís probably a second?round type of guy.

The way I look at it, Iíve got two different groups. Iíve got the first group of four with first round talent, and the next group of four with Dalton, Ponder, Stanzi and Kaepernick. Heís probably got the most upside of any of them.

But heís got a very long motion. Heís got some technical flaws that have to be worked on, and heís a little inconsistent and wild. But if you can work with him, heís got the most upside of those kids.

Youíll laugh when you see him. He can throw the football through a wall. But there is so much work that has to be done with this young man. The tradeoff is how early do we take him versus when can we get him on the field?

Q. I was wondering about the Slippery Rock kid. You had a chance to see him in The Senior Bowl. Just curious what your take on him was?

MAYOCK: You know he hung in there. Youíre talking about Fusco? Again, youíre talking about the Division II kid thatís coming into The Senior Bowl, and heís playing a position thatís not a high draft priority. What I was impressed about after I put the practice tapes on when I got back home was he hung in there, he was a tough kid. Heís one of those guys that looks a little better on 9 on 7 than the individual one on one drills.

So is he a draft pick? If he is, itís going to be late. The key for this kid is heís got to play all three interior positions.

Q. The Redskins want a quarterback. Say they canít get one in the first round. First, who would you expect them to go and take in the first round. And which quarterback, knowing what you know about Mikeís offense and these quarterbacks, which quarterback after the first round would sit what they want to do best?

MAYOCK: First tell me what you think Washington needs? I donít do the team needs till after the Combine.

Q. I think they need a nose tackle, outside linebacker, they could use receiver help?

MAYOCK: At nose tackle itís a deep draft. They donít have to get one. If Dareus and Fairley were there, theyíre not noses but theyíre defensive tackles. If either one of those kids were there, which I donít think they will be, Iíd jump all over them.

After that youíre probably not going to get a nose tackle until the second or third round. Phil Taylor from Baylor would be a logical guy for them in the second round.

As far as evaluating the quarterback position and what they try to do with their down the field vertical attack, itís interesting. Everyone wants to talk about Cam Newton at number 10, and he could be the pick. He could very well be the pick if theyíre convinced heís the right kind of guy as far as being a leader and his football IQ. If not and you drop into the second round, I think Kaepernick is a little bit far away to be ready to play for them.

I think a guy like Ricky Stanzi from Iowa, I think heís a real logical player. Heís a big, strong guy. He makes every throw. Heís been a little bit inconsistent especially in the fourth quarter. But I think heís the kind of guy that makes sense for what they do.

Q. A couple of questions on the Redskins as well. Which of these five techniques in the top part of the first round do you see maybe being fit for them? Are there any you feel could convert easily to maybe an outside linebacker spot that could give the Redskins help out there?

MAYOCK: A five technique and outside linebacker are two different kind of body types. Really different types of players. If youíre looking for the five technique at the tenth spot, my guy would be J.J. Watt from Wisconsin. Heís a 295?pound kid thatís got big hands, heavy hands. He could put another 20 pounds on him and kick inside. Thatís how big his frame is. Heís quicker than people think and heís the prototype five technique.

If youíre looking for a rush linebacker, that is a different animal. And again, I think Von Miller will be gone. It might be a little early for Akeem Ayers, and they have to look at Adrian Clayborn as a conversion guy.

As far as other five techniques, I think they could pick up a five technique in the second round whether itís Muhammad Wilkerson or Hayward from Ohio State.

Q. So no rush for them then?

MAYOCK: Yeah, I think theyíre deep enough at the five technique to wait is unless you like a guy like J.J. Watt, and thereís a lot to like there.

Q. If you were the Patriots at 17 and going at outside linebacker in the three?four defense, who are some of the guys there that you think might be a fit?

MAYOCK: Akeem Ayers from UCLA is the most logical guy at 17, because Von Millerís going to be gone. Iím not sure Justin Houston from Georgia makes sense there. I think heís more of a second round guy.

So if youíre trying to lock in on a guy, and obviously they need somebody who can get to the quarterback without a lot of help. I think Ayers is the guy that makes the most sense.

Q. About a five technique at 17, 28, 33?

MAYOCK: I tell you right now thereís a bunch of them. I mentioned J.J. Watt. I like him more than other people, but heís to me the prototypical guy. He fits exactly what they do.

I think Cam Jordan from Cal fits into that slot. Heís got some natural pass?rush to him. A little more than ?? J.J. Wattís probably a little more stout against the run, where Jordan can probably naturally get to the quarterback better than Watt.

Cam Hayward, I mentioned he could be at 33. Muhammad Wilkerson could be at 33. Theyíre the real logical guys anywhere from 17 to 33.

Q. With the recent success that undrafted and late?round drafted running backs have had in the NFL, whereís your stance on investing in an early first round pick into a tailback?

MAYOCK: For me, itís pretty simple. If thereís a guy, a special running back out there like an Adrian Peterson, you treat it like a special athlete at any position and you covet it and you try to get it.

Beyond that, I think what weíre seeing is running back by tandem throughout the NFL. You either get a couple of guys that can split the load or similar type of players, or you get two different kind of guys. You get that two?down guy, the bigger downhill, one cutback, and complement him with a third down change of pace guy.

I think weíve all seen, because itís a pass first league, that the running back position has been denigrated a little bit. I think there are plenty of guys in every draft, and especially this year. You can drop down to the third, fourth, fifth round and get a quality running back to fit your system.

Q. Who are some of those sleepers that you think could run for 1,000 yards in any NFL offense that might not be a first round pick?

MAYOCK: Iím not sure any of them are sleepers. But Jacquizz Rodgers is a guy thatís tiny. Heís 5í7, 191. People want to say heís a third down change of pace guy. Heís got over 900 touches in three years which is mind-boggling.

Heís tougher than people think. Heís a home run hitter. Heís the kind of guy that I would bet money on as far as whether he gets 12 touches or 20 touches, heís the kind of guy I want on my team.

Then you start dropping into the third, fourth and fifth round, and what you see are the bigger backs like Carter from Syracuse. Probably could get him in the fourth round. Heís 225 pounds. But in the zone scheme, downhill, one?type guy, he could carry the ball 20 times a game.

Kendall Hunter from Oklahoma State is more of that third down change of pace guy. John Clay from Wisconsin is a 250?pound tailback. If youíre talking thunder and lightning, heís thunder. If he keeps his weight under control, heís a lot like Stephfon Green. Heís even bigger than Stephfon Green. Heís got that kind of skill set, but heís got to keep his weight under control.

Q. You kind of pressed on this. But obviously there are a lot of questions about these quarterbacks and there are a lot of veteran quarterbacks available. Do you think some of these teams with quarterbacks will be more willing to wait and not reach for a draft pick. Saying well, if I donít get a guy here, I can get a guy I later like Kolb or Palmer or whatever, or will they be tempted to reach because they need a quarterback?

MAYOCK: I will say one more time. If thereís a franchise quarterback available in the draft, that trumps all other needs and they go get them. What makes it even more interesting is itís going to cost them to get Kevin Kolb and Carson Palmer. Either in a trade, what do you have to give up to get them, or in dollars and cents.

Youíve got to sit there and say is it going to cost me a first round pick to get Kevin Kolb? And if it is going to cost me a first round pick, am I better off taking one of these other guys that thereís a little more uncertainty about but maybe have a bigger ceiling? So there is a tradeoff.

I think every coach and every team will look at it a little bit differently. If you have a team thatís pretty good and you think might be a Super Bowl type of team, you might want to go get Kevin Kolb or Carson Palmer because you need somebody to produce now. Outside of that, I typically would go through the draft.

Q. Regarding Peterson that you touched on. His size, did you see anyone thatís analogous to him in the NFL? From the recent past or a long time ago, is there anyone comparable to his size at quarterback?

MAYOCK: Heís a big guy now. Iíve only seen him on tape. I have not seen him in person yet, which Iím really looking forward to doing.

The most impressive corner Iíve ever seen in my life from a physical perspective was the day I walked into the Pittsburgh training camp in 1981 as a tenth round pick. They had a guy named Mel Blount who redefined the position at 6í4? and they changed the rules because of him.

He was the most impressive specimen from a size perspective I ever saw at corner. Iím anxious to see what Patrick Peterson looks like. Iím also amazed how well he returns punts and kickoffs for his size. Just tells you what a great athlete he is.

Q. Iíve got two Virginia topics. One, Tyrod Taylor as a quarterback, what his potential might be in your opinion. Also the UVA Ras?i Dowling at cornerback had such a weird senior year. Iím wondering what he may have to do at the Combine to turn some heads?

MAYOCK: As far as Tyrod Taylor is concerned, heís a pretty interesting guy. I think heís got a bigger arm than people want to give him credit for. I saw him down at the East?West game in addition to the tape Iíve watched.

I think the perception that he can only be a scrambling quarterback, thatís a little unfair to the kid. Heís almost 6í1?, 216 pounds. I think he was 24 touchdown passes against five interceptions with a 50 or 61% completion rate this year. He was the ACC Player of the Year. My gut tells me give this kid a try.

Is he going to be a high level first, second, third round pick? No. But like most undersized quarterbacks, heís going to have to prove himself. Just because he has athletic ability, he doesnít have to be a pocket passer.

As far as Ras?I Dowling is concerned, heís one of the kids around the country that needs the Combine, pro day, and this process more than anybody else.

You canít put the tape on this year because thereís little to none of it. Youíve got to go back to tape before that. Youíve got a big kid in the corner with some athletic skills. So you have to put the old tape on and make sure youíre okay with his durability, and at some point you have to see him work out and compare it against the Ď09 tape. Thatís going to be the key. The next two months are key for this kid.

http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2011 ... n-combine/ (http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/mike-mayocks-thoughts-on-combine/)

steelblood
02-22-2011, 11:00 AM
Mike Mayock is the best TV draft analyst by far. He has a few annoying habits and misses with his analysis like any other evaluator will. But, he is very respectful of the game of football, thorough in his evaluations, good at illuminating what may be going through front office types heads, and thoughtful in speaking to both football junkies and casual fans. Why the NFL Network couples him with Charles Davis is beyond me. Davis often steals Mike's points and opinions and passes them off as his own, misses the obvious to talk about inane details, and generally muddles what could be really fantastic draft analysis shows. And, then there is Rich Eisen. He'll spend this week's combine coverage constantly drawing the attention away from what is going on down on the field and to whatever the juicy story of the day is over and over. Then, he'll blather on about his yearly running of the forty yard dash (which was funny the first time), but now it is just his desperate attempt to steal attention and turn the combine coverage into one of his drippy comedy bits complete discussion of what he's wearing and how he trained. STFU, Rich.

aggiebones
02-22-2011, 01:17 PM
Mayock is no nonsense and thus can be boring for those looking for verbal stimulation frmo their TV.
But he's pretty good. Frankly, he is similar to Kiper without the hair. Some people don't like one or though other's ability to analyze players, but they are similar to me.


From what I'm seeing, DE will give us the best BPA including what Mayock just said.

Maybe a G drops, maybe a S drops.
But T and CB will be picked through.

We could take another 1st round DE and let go of ASmith as much as that sounds horrible.

The alternative is to reach up and grab a lingering T or CB that drops to 25-20. It will be costly, but if lose say Ike, we might have to. Maybe our 31st pick, plus McFadden and 3rd rounder? Not sure how high that would get us. But if someone has 2 good CBs and needs a backup CB and some extra picks. Maybe the Cowboys trade down to 15-20 to get extra picks. Then trade down further to us. They could get Mcfadden to backup Jenkins and Newman who they will be keeping. Then us all the picks to rebuild that OL.
Make it so.

hawaiiansteel
02-25-2011, 03:15 AM
Weighty issues at combine Ö As noted earlier, the hi-light of yesterdayís weigh-in of offensive linemen and TEs was the fact that Southern Cal OT Tyron Smith tipped the scales at a very respectable 307 pounds, up substantially from the 285 or so he was reported to have played at in college. Smith did lose a little off is wingspan though as his arms were actually measured at just under 36.5 inches, contrary to initial reporst which put them closer to37 inches. Whatever, Smith still has the longest arms of any offensive lineman at the combine in years.

Meanwhile, other notables from the OL/TE weigh-in include the fact that neither Florida C/G Mike Pouncey nor Villanova G/T Ben Ijalana were quite as big as expected. Pouncey, for example, weighed in at just 303 pounds, more than ten pounds less than expected; the former Gatorís arms were also relatively short at just over 32 inches, although thatís not much different than registered by brother Maurkice, who made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season with Pittsburgh this fall, last February.

For his part, Ijalana, who appears to have made a big move up draft boards around the league in the past few weeks and is a Mike Mayock favorite, only measured in at 6-3.5 which is shorter than most teams like their OTs, however, he also registered 36-inch arms which may make up for some of his lack of ideal height.

On the other hand, both Penn State C Stefen Wisnieski and Florida State OG Rodney Hudson came in a little bigger than advertised at the weigh-in. Wisniewski, the top-rated C this year, weighed in at 313 pounds, whereas he had been listed at much closer to 300 at PSU; like Pouncey, though, Wisniewski has relatively short 33-inch arms. Meanwhile, Hudson weighed in at 299 pounds, up from just 292 at last monthís Senior Bowl.

Same story for Colorado OT Nate Solder, Smithís primary competition to be the first OT off the board this April, who weighed in at 319 pounds, 5 more than at the Senior Bowl. For the most part, though, the offensive linemen measured in about as expected. For the record, Florida OG Carl Johnson and TCU OT Marcus Cannon were the bulkiest offensive linemen, at 361 and 358 pounds respectively.

http://www.gbnreport.com/index.htm

Shawn
02-25-2011, 07:11 AM
This article gets me thinking a bit. The Steelers usually surprise us, drafting BPA and ignoring the most pressing of needs in the first round. It happens so often it's habit. So, you have to ask yourself in what group of players, what position is this most likely to happen? DE. When you have 8-9 guys at DE grading out as first round picks, you know some teams will ignore BPA and go with a need. That means guys drop.

I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if Heyward falls to the Steelers. But, personally I am very intrigued by Wilkerson.

Kinda makes you wonder if the Steelers will once again ignore immediate need and draft outside of the box.

SteelBucks
02-25-2011, 08:33 AM
This article gets me thinking a bit. The Steelers usually surprise us, drafting BPA and ignoring the most pressing of needs in the first round. It happens so often it's habit. So, you have to ask yourself in what group of players, what position is this most likely to happen? DE. When you have 8-9 guys at DE grading out as first round picks, you know some teams will ignore BPA and go with a need. That means guys drop.

I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if Heyward falls to the Steelers. But, personally I am very intrigued by Wilkerson.

Kinda makes you wonder if the Steelers will once again ignore immediate need and draft outside of the box.

The Steelers philosophy has been to take the BPA except at QB or TE. It's smart drafting if you ask me. Teams that reach usually get burned in the long run, so it will be interesting to see who falls to #31.

The Sodfather
02-25-2011, 08:42 AM
Mayock may be right in his DE assessment but how many of those fit our 3-4? Maybe 4 or 5. But still I agree there could be some good value there at #31.

Wouldn't surprise me at all if that's the pick.

jj28west
02-26-2011, 11:00 AM
Mayock is no nonsense and thus can be boring for those looking for verbal stimulation frmo their TV.
But he's pretty good. Frankly, he is similar to Kiper without the hair. Some people don't like one or though other's ability to analyze players, but they are similar to me.


From what I'm seeing, DE will give us the best BPA including what Mayock just said.

Maybe a G drops, maybe a S drops.
But T and CB will be picked through.

We could take another 1st round DE and let go of ASmith as much as that sounds horrible.

The alternative is to reach up and grab a lingering T or CB that drops to 25-20. It will be costly, but if lose say Ike, we might have to. Maybe our 31st pick, plus McFadden and 3rd rounder? Not sure how high that would get us. But if someone has 2 good CBs and needs a backup CB and some extra picks. Maybe the Cowboys trade down to 15-20 to get extra picks. Then trade down further to us. They could get Mcfadden to backup Jenkins and Newman who they will be keeping. Then us all the picks to rebuild that OL.
Make it so.

The NFL network was on Sirius and Billick & Mayock got into a good arguement that did not seem scripted. Mayock makes points with substance behind why he made the analysis that he made.

I have a lot respect for Gil but Mayock is the top guy I listen to.

Too bad there was not a stats site that compared the top draft evaluators with respect to their 1st round selections and whether the picks became productive or were busts.

On the flip side FA's that they missed on that made an impact on some level. I assume this % must be low.

Shawn
02-26-2011, 12:26 PM
Mayock may be right in his DE assessment but how many of those fit our 3-4? Maybe 4 or 5. But still I agree there could be some good value there at #31.

Wouldn't surprise me at all if that's the pick.

I think Wilkerson very much fits the mold. I think he is a Tomlin kind of player...the new type of 3-4 DE I think he is looking for (aka Hood). I was hoping he would fall to late second, but it doesn't look like this will happen. The guy has the bulk to absorb two blockers, and has the ability to make a team pay if they don't double him. If you have a DE with his size and ability to rush the QB paired along side of Harrison or Woodley, you have a very scarey thing for O's to contend with.

hawaiiansteel
02-26-2011, 05:04 PM
I think Wilkerson very much fits the mold. I think he is a Tomlin kind of player...the new type of 3-4 DE I think he is looking for (aka Hood). I was hoping he would fall to late second, but it doesn't look like this will happen. The guy has the bulk to absorb two blockers, and has the ability to make a team pay if they don't double him. If you have a DE with his size and ability to rush the QB paired along side of Harrison or Woodley, you have a very scarey thing for O's to contend with.


Wilkerson does seem like a Mike Tomlin kind of player, our long-term future would be set with him and Ziggy Hood at DE.


MAYOCK: I think thatís an interesting question. Iíve got a deeper first round than Iíve had in the past several years. I think it starts because of the defensive line class, and let me give you an example.

Iíve got eight or nine defensive ends with first round grades. Typically four defensive ends go in the first round. And I start looking at kids like Muhammad Wilkerson from Temple, an underclassman. He could be a defensive tackle or a defensive end. He could go from 25 to 40, and the kid is a heck of a football player.

I think he would fit into the first round a year ago easily, and he might get pushed into the second round with the quality and depth of this defensive line group.

I think depending on what youíre looking for ? and this is how I always look at it ? if youíre looking for a corner at the end of the first round, you might have a problem. If youíre looking for a defensive end, a defensive tackle or maybe an offensive tackle, youíre in luck.

Q. If youíre picking a three?four end to be a playmaker, top of the draft, who are the guys youíre watching in the next few months and who should you take?

MAYOCK: Some really good three?four ends this year. Iím very impressed with J.J. Watt from Wisconsin. He can play inside or outside. Heís a monster, and he could be sitting there when San Diego picks at 18, although I think heíll be gone.

Cam Jordan from Cal had a great week in Senior Bowl. Love him. Heís a five technique defensive end. Cam Hayward from Ohio State, if you put on the Sugar Bowl ?? not the Sugar Bowl ?? put their Bowl game on and he dominated that game. It was phenomenal against Arkansas.

As you go down, Muhammad Wilkerson from Temple. He might be there in the second round, but to me heís a first round player. This is one of the better years Iíve seen. You could pick up a Brandon Bair from Oregon in the third or fourth round. So there are a bunch of those three?four defensive ends out there this year.

http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2011 ... n-combine/ (http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/mike-mayocks-thoughts-on-combine/)

StarSpangledSteeler
02-26-2011, 06:52 PM
This article gets me thinking a bit. The Steelers usually surprise us, drafting BPA and ignoring the most pressing of needs in the first round. It happens so often it's habit. So, you have to ask yourself in what group of players, what position is this most likely to happen? DE. When you have 8-9 guys at DE grading out as first round picks, you know some teams will ignore BPA and go with a need. That means guys drop.

I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if Heyward falls to the Steelers. But, personally I am very intrigued by Wilkerson.

Kinda makes you wonder if the Steelers will once again ignore immediate need and draft outside of the box.

It definitely is shaping up to look like great value for DE at 1.31, the question will be, do you take a CB rated 90 over a DE rated 93 when you're losing Super Bowls because you can't cover anyone? It may very well come down to Heyward vs. Aaron Williams.

Shawn
02-26-2011, 07:41 PM
This article gets me thinking a bit. The Steelers usually surprise us, drafting BPA and ignoring the most pressing of needs in the first round. It happens so often it's habit. So, you have to ask yourself in what group of players, what position is this most likely to happen? DE. When you have 8-9 guys at DE grading out as first round picks, you know some teams will ignore BPA and go with a need. That means guys drop.

I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if Heyward falls to the Steelers. But, personally I am very intrigued by Wilkerson.

Kinda makes you wonder if the Steelers will once again ignore immediate need and draft outside of the box.

It definitely is shaping up to look like great value for DE at 1.31, the question will be, do you take a CB rated 90 over a DE rated 93 when you're losing Super Bowls because you can't cover anyone? It may very well come down to Heyward vs. Aaron Williams.

I think your analysis is spot on. I have it down to Heyward, Williams, Harris, Wilkerson, and Sherrod.

I do not believe Harris to be a Steeler kind of player. Williams seems more of a high second rounder than a low first from what I have been reading. I just don't see the Steelers reaching. When was the last time they reached in the first? Troy Edwards? I don't think it will happen again.

I really think Sherrod is the pick, if he is there. But, I don't think he will be there. How many truly agile big men left tackle types make it to 31? Not many. Shoot, he could be a top 20 pick easy. I'm not sure why so many mocks think he will fall to 31.

So, I think it comes down to Heyward and Wilkerson. Both are terrific players. Both have displayed elite ability.

Heyward has an elite first step, he is truly explosive and very strong. He can absolutely dominate a game. Just take a look at him on film against Arkansas. I don't know if I have ever seen a Buckeye DL guy dominate a game like that. He also works hard. The main problem I have with him is consistency. He will disappear for games at a time. I have heard he really needs strong coaching to keep his head in the game and keep him motivated. For me, that's a huge problem. Will he take his paycheck and go home? Not under Tomlin. I think Tomlin is the guy who can light a fire. He has a huge upside and probably grades out in the low 90's. At 31 he would be a huge value. But, his interview will be very telling.

Wilkerson is an absolute beast. His skill set is similar to Heyward, quick and strong. He was VERY productive. But, he played at Temple. The Steelers did draft Ben out of Miami so it's not unheard of for the Steelers to draft a small school guy early. But, it's not their MO.

If someone forced me to guess who they would choose between these two, I would say Wilkerson is the guy who is most likely to be there. There is no guarantee that Heyward will be there especially after that Arkansas game.

Today, if forced to select a guy I would say Muhammed Wilkerson will be the guy selected in the first only because I don't think Heyward falls to 31. But, if Heyward is there just because of his level of competition I think he is the pick.

SS Laser
02-26-2011, 11:46 PM
Too bad there was not a stats site that compared the top draft evaluators with respect to their 1st round selections and whether the picks became productive or were busts.

On the flip side FA's that they missed on that made an impact on some level. I assume this % must be low.[/quote]

here ya go:


http://www.eastcoastsportsnews.com/2011_NFL_Draft.html

NFL Mock Draft

*Last 5 year Averages*

Compiled from the Top 100

Media outlets and Draft sites



1. Rick Gosselin - Dallas Morning News 47.60

2. Jason Boris - Times News 44.40

3. Mel Kiper Jr - ESPN 43.20

4. Michael Abromowitz - The Football Expert 42.60

5. Robby Esch - The Huddle Report 42.00

6. Ryan McCrystal - Draft Ace 41.20

7. Al Fronczak - East Coast Sports News 40.80

8. Scott Wright - Draft Countdown 40.80

9. Todd McShay - Scouts Inc. 40.40

10. Chad Thompson - NFL Draft Line 40.40

11. John Clifford - Draft Board Insider 40.20

12. Pat Kirwan - NFL.com 39.00

13. Tommy Lawlor - Scouts Notebook 38.20

14. Matt Bitonti - Draft Daddy 38.20

15. Curtis Popejoy - Draft Board Insider 38.20



Compiled and scored by The Huddle Report

flippy
02-27-2011, 12:07 AM
I'll be surprised if we don't select a DE.

jj28west
02-27-2011, 10:43 PM
Too bad there was not a stats site that compared the top draft evaluators with respect to their 1st round selections and whether the picks became productive or were busts.

On the flip side FA's that they missed on that made an impact on some level. I assume this % must be low.

here ya go:


http://www.eastcoastsportsnews.com/2011_NFL_Draft.html

NFL Mock Draft

*Last 5 year Averages*

Compiled from the Top 100

Media outlets and Draft sites



1. Rick Gosselin - Dallas Morning News 47.60

2. Jason Boris - Times News 44.40

3. Mel Kiper Jr - ESPN 43.20

4. Michael Abromowitz - The Football Expert 42.60

5. Robby Esch - The Huddle Report 42.00

6. Ryan McCrystal - Draft Ace 41.20

7. Al Fronczak - East Coast Sports News 40.80

8. Scott Wright - Draft Countdown 40.80

9. Todd McShay - Scouts Inc. 40.40

10. Chad Thompson - NFL Draft Line 40.40

11. John Clifford - Draft Board Insider 40.20

12. Pat Kirwan - NFL.com 39.00

13. Tommy Lawlor - Scouts Notebook 38.20

14. Matt Bitonti - Draft Daddy 38.20

15. Curtis Popejoy - Draft Board Insider 38.20



Compiled and scored by The Huddle Report[/quote]

Awesome! Thanks SSL

RuthlessBurgher
02-28-2011, 11:20 AM
Gosselin's final mock is consistently the best year after year. Problem is that it is not released until the day before the draft. He does 3 mocks during the week of the draft, and the final one is always the gem.

aggiebones
02-28-2011, 11:24 AM
Mayock may be right in his DE assessment but how many of those fit our 3-4? Maybe 4 or 5. But still I agree there could be some good value there at #31.

Wouldn't surprise me at all if that's the pick.


That means they are more likely to fall to us.
We know DTs, Ts and CBs are normally picked through if there are any good ones. They DO NOT slip through the cracks very often. Only attitude guys at that position fall. Worth a gamble periodically, but you can't bring in too many of them.

hawaiiansteel
03-01-2011, 09:11 PM
Wexell's Combine "buzz":

SUNDAY, FEB. 27

1:45 p.m.: OK, one last entry before I hit Route 70 East. I caught up to Rashad Carmichael in the hall after his press conference and asked him if he's getting any love from the Steelers.

"Oh, man, I hope so," said the boundary corner from Virginia Tech. "Jason Worilds is my best friend. I'd love to play there."

But you haven't met with them?

"I have a formal meeting scheduled tomorrow with them," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."

Carmichael was impressive in his press conference. Really wish I could say the same about another of my favorites, Curtis Brown, who'll have trouble impressing in his interviews with his slow drawl.

Noon: The cornerbacks just hit town last night and their meetings with teams are slow to be scheduled. However, but Utah cornerback Brandon Burton (6-0, 190) not only sat down with the Steelers last night, he said he has another meeting scheduled with them today.

Pittsburgh fans may remember Burton for the work he did in the college opener against Jon Baldwin. Burton agreed today that "my high point was covering Baldwin" and agreed that his low point occurred in a 47-7 loss to TCU. "There was probably one play there that probably shouldn't have happened," Burton said of his missed tackle at midfield that turned into a 93-yard touchdown pass.

A junior who'll turn 22 on July 31, Burton called Michael Floyd of Notre Dame the best receiver he's faced. Burton said he was "100 percent man" on Floyd this past season and allowed him only 4 catches for 39 yards and a 3-yard touchdown.

First-round prospect Brandon Harris also gave up a touchdown pass to Floyd, the only touchdown pass Harris said he gave up all season. Floyd caught 6 passes for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns that day in the Outback Bowl, but Harris said he only covered Floyd on "probably five or six snaps."

10:20 p.m.: Jerrell Powe of Ole Miss said he checked in at 6-2, 335 and also told reporters, "I'm the best nose in this year's draft. You're not going to find anyone else who pushes the pocket the way I do."

That said, he still struck me as a humble guy. But he guy who played so well two years ago doesn't appear to have fallen within the Steelers' scope, since there are no meetings planned.

SATURDAY, FEB. 26

5:20 p.m.: I've been too busy writing to get up and talk to some of the running backs, particularly WVU's Noel Devine, who weighed a mere 160 pounds at the Senior Bowl. But my friend from Green Bay, Bill Huber, just told me that Devine met with the Steelers here and "went through the chalkboard, the whole thing" with them.

So, there's that. See you tomorrow.

5:10 p.m.: J.J. Watt showed up at 6-5 3/8, 290 without an ounce of fat on him. The guyís built like the perfect 3-4 defensive end, and of course said heíd play that position even if it meant occupying blockers and letting the linebackers make the plays.

That would seem like such a waste for a guy with his speed and motor, but itís unlikely the Steelers will even get the chance to draft him with the 31st pick. In fact, a source just told me that ďthe Pats** are all over him.Ē

Watt said he transferred to Wisconsin a few years ago from Central Michigan in order to get a real shot at making it to the NFL. When reminded that five Chippewas recently played in the Super Bowl, Watt laughed, lauded his former teammates, and said that his problem had more to do with being a tight end in a spread offense and not being able to get anyone to consider moving him to defense. Wisconsin even made him walk on, but it didnít take Watt long to show his pass-rushing skills.

Watt also was reminded that Mike Vrabel pulled out his old tight end skills in the NFL and Watt said heíd think about that at a later time. I do know that Brett Keisel regrets not stressing to the Steelersí offensive coaches his skills as a tight end when he was a younger player.

I also listened in on Quan Sturdivantís media interview. The North Carolina linebackerís former teammate, Steelers offensive tackle Kyle Jolly, told me months ago that he thougght Sturdivant was one of the smartest players he knew in college and that heíd make a great replacement for James Farrior some day.

Sturdivant was happy to hear such a compliment, but he didnít want to comment and have it taken the wrong way by someone he respects as much as Farrior. Sturdivant did say that he hasnít heard from the Steelers here.

3:50 p.m.: A while back I asked Steelers rookie Crezdon Butler about the upcoming draft prospects coming from his alma mater Clemson. I asked in particular about DT Jarvis Jenkins and Butler spoke enthusiastically about his former teammate. Butler also said that he'd recently told Kevin Colbert the same things he was telling me.

Well, Colbert must've been listening because Thursday night he sat down with Jenkins for a lengthy interview. I asked Jenkins if he sensed a genuine interest from the Steelers.

"Yes, sir, I do," Jenkins said.

Jenkins said he could play nose tackle and defensive end in a 3-4, or defensive tackle in the nickel defense the Steelers used so frequently last season. When pressed by another reporter, the 6-4, 310-pound Jenkins said he's most comfortable as a 4-3 tackle but that it doesn't really matter to him.

Two days ago, Lee Ziemba had named Jenkins and Marcell Dareus the best defensive linemen he's ever faced. Jenkins returned the favor today when asked to name the best offensive linemen.

"Honestly, I didn't know he had said that," Jenkins said with a laugh. Jenkins listed Danny Watkins along with Ziemba.

"Watkins is the strongest guy I've ever gone up against," Jenkins said of the 26-year-old prospect. "He old, but you'll see him start to shoot up the draft boards."

2:40 p.m.: It was in Reno last spring, at the University of Nevada's junior pro day, when defensive end Dontay Moch started a legend.

Scouts say it's impossible to run the 40 in a faster time than 4.2, but Moch was timed in 4.18 seconds.

"Hand held," Moch said from the podium a few minutes ago.

It was as if Moch was allowing for human error, but he claims it as the truth nonetheless.

That was at least 13 pounds ago, he said. And at 248 pounds, Moch says he'd be satisfied to run a 4.4 when he runs here tomorrow.

"A 4.4 electrically would be a good time, like a 4.3 hand-held," said the two-time Arizona state high school sprint champ.

Moch speaks and smiles just like former Steelers receiver Lynn Swann. He comes off that smooth, like the time he was asked to cover Boise State's speedy wide receiver Titus Young.

"I lined up in a 4-3 situation and dropped back on a flat route and Titus Young came right around the corner," Moch said. "I had underneath coverage on him and broke up the pass right then and there."

Not bad for a defensive end. Moch said he's hearing from the 3-4 teams about playing OLB and the 4-3 teams about playing both DE and OLB. But he hasn't heard from anyone who wants him to play inside linebacker in a 3-4. That might be something for the Pittsburgh contingent to look into.

1:20 p.m.: For the purpose of analysis, you can't beat those telling one-on-one matchups during the regular season. But Gabe Carimi's impressive showings against Cameron Heyward and Adrian Clayborn seemed to have the opposite effect in the draft media.

Carimi's stock seemed to fall among draftniks, not rise, after what I thought were outstanding back-to-back performances in the middle of the season.

So, what was I missing?

Nothing, according to Heyward and Clayborn, who both just finished saying that Carimi was the best college lineman they faced last season. Clayborn even said Carimi was the best he's ever faced.

As for Clayborn, he said his disappointing senior season had to do with "double teams, triple teams, tight ends chipping me, running backs chipping me. It led to frustration at the beginning of the season."

Clayborn said the nerve damage in his right shoulder had nothing to do with his play.

"I've heard more about that this week than I care to," said the Iowa defensive end. "I've been playing with it since the seventh grade. It doesn't bother me at all."

12:30 p.m.: Just as I was getting over the enjoyment of Mike Pouncey's entertaining press conference yesterday, along comes Cameron Heyward.

I'll provide a full write-up later -- not that there's any news pertaining to the Steelers other than he doesn't mind playing defensive end in a 3-4.

Heyward didn't respond to queries about team interest, but it's probably foolish to even ask such a question, because, yes, the Steelers would have to have interest in a player who was as dominating as Heyward in the Sugar Bowl.

Of course, his stock seemed to fall like a rock after a stretch of games at midseason. The Wisconsin game against Gabe Carimi in particular was one Heyward called disappointing.

Before that stretch, he appeard to be a Top 10 prospect, but now on some media reports he's listed near pick 31 where the Steelers are lying in wait for free-fallers with his kind of talent.

Heyward once again showed that talent in his bowl game when he dominated DeMarcus Love and Arkansas. And Heyward did it with a damaged elbow ligament. The injury occurred in the second quarter but it didn't appear to slow Heyward down at all.

He underwent surger on the UCL on Jan. 12, so Heyward won't work out at the combine, "and it's killing me," he said.

But judging by his personality, he'll be able to pass the time by regaling coaches and personnel men with stories of how he and Papa Ironhead used to "beat up" Falcons teammates after Craig moved his family out of Monroeville, Pa. and into Atlanta. And he can tell one team in particular how much he'd enjoy playing 3-4 defensive end for them.

FRIDAY, FEB. 25

5:30 p.m.: The Mike Pouncey transcript is up on the message board.

4:30 p.m.: Mike Pouncey finally showed up in the combine media room and he put on quite a performance for a throng of reporters. I'll post the transcript as soon as it's finished, but here are some of the high points in chronological order:

Q: Knowing your brother's injury was so severe, why did you think he'd still play in the Super Bowl?

A: We've been playing football since we were six years old and never missed a game. So it was shocking.

Q: Are you crossing off the Steelers from drafting you?

A: I'm not crossing them off. I hope they do. I want to play center, though.

Q: What's your goal on draft day?

A: I got to be drafted higher than Maurkice, 18 or better.

Q: Why?

A: I'll never hear the end of it.

Q: What are they saying about you in comparison to your brother?

A: They say we look the same on tape. Some scouts were saying I look better.

Q: Are you hoping the Steelers draft you?

A: It'd be nice. But I'm not hoping for anything because when you hope for stuff it never happens.

Q: What are the chances the Steelers will draft you?

A: It's not looking too good, but there's free agency in the NFL.

Q: Who has more tattoos?

A: I do.

Q: Any negatives in your game?

A: Oh, no. There ain't nothing negative about either one of us.

Q: Did you meet with the Steelers?

A: I had a real good meeting with the Steelers yesterday (earlier said that he'd met with Mike Tomlin).

Q: What do you do better than your brother?

A: I think I block in the open field better.

Q (female reporter): What do you do better off the field?

A: There's a lot I do better off the field, but we can talk about that later.

Q: When Maurkice was at the combine, the Steelers drew plays on the chalkboard, erased them, and he re-drew them almost exactly as the original. Did they do that with you?

A: They did the same exact same thing with me.

Q: And how'd you do?

A: Great.

Pouncey has the same mannerisms as his brother and of course looks the same. Some of us from Pittsburgh expected him to walk and ask us what was up. Seems a little more relaxed. Too bad he's going to be drafted way before 31.

2:10 p.m.: Every time I watched Pitt LT Jason Pinkston I thought of Willie Colon. Well, Pinkston checked in at the combine at a very Colon-like 6-3 1/4, 317 with 34 1/2-inch arms. Colon came to the 2006 combine at 6-3, 315 with 34-inch arms. Colon, of course, played right tackle for the Steelers while all but Bruce Arians clamored for him to be moved to guard. It might be the same question for Pinkston, who played LT at Pitt.

"I understand that Iím not the size of some of the left tackles in the NFL," said the alert and enthusiastic Pinkston. "Whatever team drafts me Iím going to do whatever they need me to do. If itís Ďmove into guard,í Iíll be a guard. If itís Ďmove into center,í Iíll play center. If I have to play right tackle, Iíll play right tackle."

Pinkston entertained reporters with scout-like comments on teammates Jabaal Sheard, Jonathan Baldwin and Dion Lewis. He also talked about dating the cousin of Stanford's Owen Marecic and how he tried to get Marecic to come to Pitt. That and much more here on the message board.

12:20 p.m.: Jonathan Baldwin spoke to reporters a few minutes ago. He measures 6-4 3/4, 228 with a wingspan of 79 inches and 10 1/2-inch hands. He's a physical freak, and he has pedigree. One scout, when asked about the Pitt WR, said, "How can he fail? He's from Aliquippa." Baldwin took the comment with a smile and ripped off the names Darrelle Revis, Ty Law, Sean Gilbert and Mike Ditka. Baldwin forgot to mention perhaps the greatest football player ever to come out of the rusting Pittsburgh-area steeltown: Tony Dorsett, who matriculated to Hopewell H.S.

Anyway, the word, as written before, is that Baldwin will be chosen in the middle of the first round.

7 a.m.: Anyone who watched the Outback Bowl has to be hoping for the Steelers to draft Florida G/C Mike Pouncey and line him up next to his twin brother here in Pittsburgh. So Mike's many fans were probably disappointed that I didn't list him among those who visited with the Steelers here in Indianapolis. But don't fear, because Pouncey didn't show up in the media room yesterday. We're expecting him early this morning. All 3 of the Pittsburgh reporters are waiting on him. We checked with the officials here and they assured us they'll have their fastest transcriber at his media session, so the update should come fairly early here.

We've already asked Kevin Colbert about Mike Pouncey and Colbert doesn't think the Steelers will have a chance to draft him, that he'll be gone before they pick, and that he can play center in the league. Colbert also said he doesn't think the Steelers would bump his grade up over any perceived extra chemistry with his brother, but I'm not so sure of that.

Anyway, Mike's transcript will likely be full of Steelers questions, and some info, so be patient. Many O-linemen didn't show up yesterday.

Late last night, Auburn OT Lee Ziemba showed up and told me he did have a quick meeting with the Steelers. We also talked a bit about Kendall Simmons, the former Auburn LT who was drafted by the Steelers and moved to RG. Simmons is now a part of the Auburn coaching staff and Ziemba said that Kendall's one of his favorite people. He was one of mine, too. That's what made it so hard to criticize him when he was with the Steelers.

A couple of other notes: Derrek Sherrod and Steve Schilling are a couple of linemen who didn't visit with the Steelers, for whatever that's worth.

As for my impressions from yesterday, I'd have to say the two most impressive physical specimens were guards Zach Hurd and Andrew Jackson. They are massive men who are also very serious men. The Steelers visited with both and I'll have more about them in my Pouncey/guard story later today.