Mayock Answers Eagles-Related Draft Questions

Mike Mayock of NFL Network answered a bunch of questions Sunday evening at the Combine.

And as you might have guessed, many of his answers involved prospects the Eagles could be interested in. Let’s go through a few of them, Q&A style, and I’ll add in my take afterwards.

What makes Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner a good player?

Mayock: “What I see on tape is a tough instinctive guy who tackles, which I love. I love a corner that will tackle. When you come out of Nick Saban’s Alabama program, especially when you’re a defensive back which Nick takes a big interest in as a former defensive back coach, you are well-coached. He understands zone concepts, he plays man-to-man, he presses, he tackles.”

My take: Mayock’s comments came before Milliner ran a blazing 4.37 40 on Tuesday morning. As I wrote earlier, Milliner could be in the mix with the No. 4 pick. Or a team could be looking to deal with the Birds to get ahead of the Lions, who might want to grab him at No. 5.

What did you like about Geno Smith’s performance at the Combine?

Mayock: “I saw everything that I saw on tape about Geno, and that is he flashed everything you want to see in a franchise quarterback on tape during the season. He has a big arm, good arm, he moves well, he can be accurate. Everything I saw on tape I saw here today. He’s a natural thrower; he doesn’t force the ball. What I go back to is I don’t care as much about this – I’m happy he did this because it just shows me he’s not afraid. Cam Newton did it and he didn’t throw the ball well and he still was the first pick in the draft. To me, it’s more important what you see on tape. I want to bang the table because I want to like Geno Smith. We interviewed him, I love what he had to say, but there are just too many inconsistencies on tape for me to say that Kansas City or anybody that high should take him. He’s more of a 20-32 [overall pick player]. I’ve said that based on watching six of his games. I’m going to watch the rest of them, but there are just so many inconsistencies with both Geno Smith and the entire quarterback class that I have trouble banging the table for any of them.”

My take: On the surface, that’s not a ringing endorsement, but the part I found significant was that Mayock said he sees flashes of everything you’d want out of a franchise quarterback in Smith. In other words, he doesn’t see a red flag like a weak arm, limited athleticism, etc. Mayock sees a high ceiling; he just doesn’t see consistency.

Teams grade quarterbacks differently, and it’s an imperfect science. Russell Wilson lasted to the third round; Colin Kaepernick went in the second; 23 teams passed on Aaron Rodgers. None were considered can’t-miss prospects coming out of college. Yet all are considered franchise guys now (although Wilson and Kaepernick obviously still have a lot to prove).

The bottom line is the Eagles have to evaluate Smith and decide if he’s a franchise quarterback. If they think he is, they have to give strong consideration to taking him at No. 4, assuming he’s still there. Quarterbacks tend to rise as we get closer to draft day. We’ll see if that happens with Smith.

Will upcoming surgeries affect Milliner and [Oregon DE/OLB] Dion Jordan’s draft stocks?

Mayock: “I don’t think so, as long as – and again, 32 teams view medical results in 32 different ways. Dion Jordan and Dee Milliner held off just so that they could compete at the Combine. They’re going to do everything but the bench [press] I think. I respect them for that and as long as it’s the minor surgery that apparently it is, I don’t think it’s going to affect them at all. Dion Jordan is a guy to me that’s had trouble in keeping weight on, and part of the problem has been that shoulder. So if you want to like Dion Jordan – and I do, Dion Jordan could be an Aldon Smith-type of defensive player, but he has to put on 20 pounds. To do that, he has to get the shoulder right.”

My take: Mayock’s point about Jordan is a fair one. The concern is not that either player is going to miss some or all of OTAs. The concern with Jordan would be about whether he can stay healthy and keep the weight on that’s necessary to compete in the NFL.

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  • Graham

    Sheil. Thank you.

    If this site didn’t exist, I’d still be relying on those crappy mis-informed articles over at NFL.

    You and Tim are doing a wonderful job, very in-depth analysis of the greatest team in the world. I hope you receive the recognition you deserve, and not just from us fans who read it every day (although that is important), but also from your superiors and colleagues.

  • Tom W

    Sorry Sheil I don’t think you can say or even imply that Mayock said that Geno is a “high ceiling” guy. He never used those words in that entire segment or any segment I have seen for Geno Smith. I expect you are trying to draw a conclusion that because Mike said he “flashes” a good arm, athletic ability, and accuracy at times, but is inconsistent, that if he gets his consistency down, then sky is the limit and he has high upside.

    That isn’t what upside means nor is that what Mayock implied or said. If anything Mike has been beyond adamant that he isn’t impressed w Geno and can’t make a case for him as a first round talent. Examples of upside would be a athletic player who is either raw at football or his position (Ziggy, JPP, SMU DE). Another example would be a kid who has the athletic ability and talent, but needs to put on weight/get stronger/fill out before he can handle the NFL opposition (Dion Jordan, Aldon Smith). Another example would be a player who is athletically gifted but needs to be coached up and his mechanics improved (Kaepernick, EJ Manuel, Arizona QB).

    Becoming more consistent at various different skills at the hardest position in football would not equate to Geno Smith having high upside. I get your point. — He may be the best of a bunch, but its a crappy bunch and I dont want or think the eagles should be reaching or drafting for need from a weak class of qbs … especially the 4 pick or even the second round pick when its the deepest draft in 20 years. There is nothing wrong w drafting a project and getting our franchise qb next year when the qb is much much stronger and akin to Kelly’s offense. We dont need to force this years pick and set our franchise back 3 years.

    • nicksaenz1

      So pick 20-32 (Mayock’s range) isn’t first round? Moreover, the potential to improve in any one area, in this case consistency, doesn’t meet the definition of upside? Giving praise in certain areas while constructively criticizing others means there is room for improvement, which equates to upside. Basically, if he improves consistency, he’s a franchise QB. I agree that they shouldn’t draft him (unless they trade Foles), but Sheil hit the nail on the head here.

      • Tom W

        I agree with you about upside …good point. I incorrectly used upside in the second paragraph when I meant to use high ceiling – the word Sheil used in his response. Yes geno could get better at each and every aspect of his game , and therefore has some upside in that he could get better (although I dont think Mayock said that either).

        High Ceiling represents a guy that can be an elite talent if he reaches his potential. Like a Dion Jordan or Colin Kaepernick. Sheil used high ceiling which I dont think you can draw from what Mayock said and that is what we are talking about …. Even if Geno improves and is no longer inconsistent (which really means he makes alot of mistakes) Mayock isnt saying this kid could be an elite talent at the qb position. He certainly isn’t a top 5 pick and shouldn’t be considered by the eagles at 4 even if they trade foles.

        He would’ve graded out as the 4th or 5th best qb in 2011. If the eagles didnt have so many holes I would consider him in the second, but probably still go corner or safety or 5-technique or o tackle because all of those positions are historically deep this year. Some years you cant find one good safety … let alone the 3-5 good ones this year … I dont think drafting each year in a vacuum is a winning strategy — especially if we realize we may have a top 10 pick next year w 3 better qb prospects than Geno.

        • nicksaenz1

          Makes much more sense. However, I don’t necessarily think Mayock’s making a fair judgment. Doesn’t seem to be in line with the stats the kid put up and he’s basing it on all of six games. Guess we’ll see where the kid goes…. I agree, though, that we have too many other holes to fill to take a qb in a draft where the qb’s don’t seem to stack up to the talent elsewhere.

      • Actually, that was an assessment given Mike saw 6 games. The kid is a hell of a Quarterback, how there is a lot of chatter about what he’s not isn’t clear to me. There is no question Smith is a first round talent, nor is there a question in Mike Mayock’s mind. I don’t think Andy Reid is going to pass over Geno Smith. Andy picked Donovan McNabb when everybody wanted Ricky Williams. I’ve casually watched West Virginia through the year in the Big 12. Smith is a pocket quarterback, he uses his weapons well. Two (2) of his receivers caught 112 receptions each, Austin, a feature at the combine this well, amassed 1242 yds, and 12 tds, the other receiver put 1600 yds on the board with 25 touchdown, Smith had a 71% completion percentage. While throwing 42 Tds, to 4 Interceptions over the year in a very good and competitive conference where he had a ridiculous 153 QB Rating. To me it matters who the competition was in college.

        There was still another receiver who caugh 61 balls for 637 yds……. Smith makes all the throws and does so well in the games I’ve seen and he’s accurate as the 71% completion rate on 8.12 yd s per reception proves.

        I thought Mayocks analysis was fair, given he only seen 6 of Smith’s games.

        Mayock was pretty fair in his assessment of Nick Foles too. With Foles, Mayock isn’t on board with Nick being the solution as a franchise Qb after watching 6 of his games. Arm Strength, accuracy and footwork are just the beginning of Mayock’s concern about Foles.

        By Mayock’s words, the Eagles should not give up their Quarterback Search, nor jump to any conclusions that Nick Foles can be developed into a Franchise Quarterback in the NFL.

        • nicksaenz1

          I wasn’t noting anything about the analysis being fair or not. Quite frankly, it seems unfair to make such claims about a qb’s accuracy and consistency when discussing a qb who has completed 71% of his passes with 42 tds and 4 picks when the evaluator has only seen 6 games. A guy who will evaluate a qb on an awfully small sample size and make conclusions that seem to be contrary to the numbers posted against good competition, as you noted, leads me to believe that his conclusions are questionable at best, even regarding Foles, despite that fact that it suits the fact that you don’t like Foles and want him out.

          • I wouldn’t trade Foles, Foles is worth keeping and developing. I think putting Foles in behind the Eagles line is counterproductive, it’s easy to ruin young quarterbacks and exposing them to the type of punishment Eagles Quarterbacks historically suffer doesn’t help in development. That may be the reason Kolb has become a bust.

          • nicksaenz1

            My apologies, thought you were a “trade Foles” guy. I think putting him in behind the line he had to work with last year again is counterproductive. However, I think if our line is healthy this year, he can win the starting job from Vick. Kolb’s line play has been awful as well, and as one opposing player put it, you could basically see the fear in his eyes.

            With the Chiefs having traded for Smith, it pretty much means they are taking Joeckel off the board #1. I still think we need to take an O-lineman, and Chance Warmack would fill the gaping hole at RG for years. Seems to be a huge call for Jordan among some fans, and I can’t deny the talent and the fact that we need to fill some holes on D, however, I’m of the opinion that we need to solidify the O-line and then address the D in rounds 2-4 or 2-5. Warmack seems like he might be the highest drafted G in years which is really saying something since the hype always goes to the tackles that can watch the blind side. He seems like a safer pick than Jordan in that there’s less apparent risk in knowing that you’re getting a cornerstone for 10+ years.

        • Mr. Magee

          Not a fair representation of Mayock’s critic of Foles, IMO

    • masseaglefan

      franchise qb=high ceiling

      • Tom W

        Sorry I disagree and I disagree Mayock thinks Geno has a high ceiling. He
        said he saw flashes of being a franchise qb. Never said high ceiling
        nor do I think “flashes of being a franchise qb” equates to being able
        to overcome inconsistencies at a number of aspects of being a qb. What
        is clear is that Mayock said Geno isnt worth a top 20 pick if even the first round when you compare him to draft classes in past years. So in his mind,
        Mayock adamantly believes the eagles should not take him. Yes the eagles should evaluate him, but would you expect anything less? I dont expect the eagles views of him to vary that greatly from what Mayock and various other scouts like Jeremiah and Charley Casserly and Polian are saying about this years qb class. Finally, I dont think swelling the fire to take him at 4 can be based whatsoever on what Mayock said.

        • Mike Mayock said the same thing about Russell Wilson, he saw the kid as a career back up and, in an assessment of Kapernick, Mayock on Kaepernick in ’11: ‘Big arm, wildly inconsistent which is pretty much how he is characterizing Geno Smith. Mike had Tannehill rated over Wilson in 11 and before the trade that got the skins to No.2 thought the Skins should draft Tannehill.

          Geno is a complete Quarterback with the skills to adapt and has the accuracy and arm to light up the score board and stat sheet. If I needed a Quarterback to hell if I would not pick him. He’s played for a big program, in front of big crowds in big games.

          What are the Geno Smith inconsistencies Mike seen in 6 games that has you concerned? How much of it was related to miscommunication between Smith and his receiver?

  • Andy
    • Yes- I’m sure Sheil, Tim and Co. are working overtime on a juicy story as we speak.

    • UKEagle99

      Any ideas what he ate for lunch? I hear his sandwiches dried out as he didn’t cover them properly.

      • theycallmerob

        Adam Schefter is reporting the whole eat-in-car situation arose due to other players often eating his leftovers, in spite of them being clearly labeled, out of the team fridge.

        • Hugh

          I heard Andy Reid tried to eat his car.

      • BrickSquadMonopoly

        Unnamed sources…are you kidding we still got rats in this organization. Hes done nothing to earn any respect but thats some softboy shit throwin teammates under the bus.

      • ICDogg

        Horsemeat from Ikea

      • Graham

        I also heard some flies were getting on his sandwich because he was not deflecting them away

  • Now more than ever I am confused about what the birds will do in the first round. My only hope at this point is that some other team will fall in love with someone and pay a kings ransome to move up and grab him. You give me a prospect that we should take at 4 and I will give you someone who is very comparable to be had later.

  • sfw

    I’ve heard Mayock critic smith a couple times. The main flaw he points to is his decision making in the pocket. Takes too many sacks when he should escape or get rid of the ball. Not a skill evaluated at the combine.

  • ICDogg

    Everyone should check out Derek’s Igglesblog post. He doesn’t post much anymore, but it’s always great to see.

    “No, You Build *Around* Brandon Graham”

    • D3Keith

      Yeah, Derek does good work. I’m glad he at least paid to keep the domain name so he could post when he gets the itch.

  • Wilbert M.

    I said it last year and I’ll say it again. Mayock has a firm grasp of the obvious. He’ll be amazingly ambiguous. I love the clips of him on NFL Network that make him look like a genius on Russell Wilson and Kaepernick, totally ignoring the negatives he had on both. I’m sure Mayock is a good guy, but all he does is repeat others evaluations. He brings no value as far as true insight on the prospects.

    • Mike R

      Mayock is a massive improvement over the clown show that is Kiper & McShay on E$PN.

  • I think Mayock, and everyone else, will soon start evaluating these draft picks differently. The rookie salary cap means that you’re not ‘sacrificing’ the future of your franchise by picking a player too high (or higher than you might have picked him 5 years ago) — you won’t kill your salary cap numbers anymore. So if you think your team needs a QB, and the one you like best is Geno Smith, you take him — whether at #4, or #20. What’s the difference?? The difference isn’t in dollars (not appreciably). You take the player whom you feel is the best player for your team, period.

  • Dan check out my blog post about the combine! Much appreciated .