NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock talked to reporters this morning via teleconference as the league announced its exclusive coverage they will have during the NFL scouting combine this week.
Overall, Mayock believes this year’s draft is the deepest in the eight years that he’s seen on the defensive side of the ball. Mayock says the draft is deep in talent at defensive tackle, cornerback and safety, and that you could get a quality player in the third and fourth round.
On offense, Mayock believes it’s a bad year for quarterbacks and interior offensive linemen, but he really likes the tight ends, running backs and wide receivers, with what he said is tremendous depth at all three of those positions.
Mayock says he believes four offensive tackles could go in the top 9 in Bryan Bulaga of Iowa, Russell Okung of Oklahoma State, Rutgers’ Anthony Davis and Oklahoma’s Trent Williams, and Seattle should be in the mix for one of those four.
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As far as the Seahawks are concerned, Mayock believes they will take one of those tackles, perhaps Bulaga, with the No. 6 pick, and then perhaps take a defensive end like Derrick Morgan out of Georgia Tech at No. 14.
“I think they’re going to end up taking a left tackle with their pick at six, and I think that they need to,” Mayock said. “When you come back around at 14, then you’ve got to ask yourself a couple questions: How long is Hasselbeck going to play? If Clausen is available, are you looking at Clausen? I think a defensive end makes an awful lot of sense there.”
But he also believes head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider need to take a long, hard look at whether or not to select one of the two franchise quarterbacks available at the top of the draft board in Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford or Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen, if either is available with either of Seattle’s top draft picks.
“Especially with a new regime, with Carroll and Schneider, you’ve got to sit there and close the door and say, ‘OK, if one of these two guys – or both of these guys – are franchise quarterbacks, and they’re sitting there at six or 14, do we pull trigger at either level for a quarterback? And that’s the first decision those two guys have to make with the door closed.”
Like Rob Rang, senior analyst with NFLDraftScout.com, Mayock believes Carroll has a leg up in terms of evaluating players in the draft from his time spent as the head coach at USC.
“I think what he has is a head start over most of the other head coaches in the NFL,” Mayock said. “He comes out of the college ranks and he knows his team, and he knows the Pac-10 intimately. Most of the head coaches around the league don’t get involved in the draft until the season is over, and then they get brought up to speed by their GMs, so yeah I think his knowledge of past draft picks, and how well or how poorly they did in the draft, and this year’s class will help.”
You can listen to Mayock talk about the Seahawks draft prospects here.