10 NFL Draft Observations from Mike Mayock

SI.com’s Peter King shares 10 draft nuggets that he got from Mike Mayock:

1. “This is by far the worst year for the top 10 that I’ve seen. Down around 18, 20, you’ll get every bit the player you’ll get in the top 10 for a third of the price.”

2. His gut feeling is Detroit’s taking Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first pick of the draft.

3. “I can’t bang the table for Stafford the way I did for Matt Ryan last year. I don’t see an elite player in him every time I watch, which you need to see if you’re taking a quarterback that high.”

4. Mayock, if he had his choice of first-round picks for talent and value, would be around 22. “The value in this draft is at 15 and beyond.”

5. He says eight or nine tight ends will be drafted in the first three rounds. He loves the best of the bunch, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Pettigrew. (I’d love to see the Bills land him, by the way. Perfect offensive weapon for a coordinator, Turk Schonert, who loves to use the tight end.)

6. He likes Eugene Monroe over Jason Smith, if you’re picking a franchise tackle. “Smith’s got a better upside. Very aggressive. But Monroe’s got the best feet in the draft. He’s a really accomplished technician.”

7. He thinks Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry — who Detroit would play at middle linebacker if the Lions made him the first pick of the draft — would be optimally used at strongside linebacker in the 4-3 because he can cover, he can play physically over the tight end, and he’s got upside pass-rushing ability.

8. He’s scared of Brian Orakpo, the Texas defensive end who’s the apple of a few teams’ eyes in the top half of the first round. “Buyer beware,” Mayock said. “He’s boom or bust. I don’t know if he’s DeMarcus Ware or Vernon Gholston. I’ve seen him have some really good games, and I’ve seen what I considered to be Brandon Pettigrew tearing him apart. The point is, I don’t see it all the time from Orakpo, which concerns me.”

9. Of the elite quarterbacks, he likes USC’s Mark Sanchez the best. “He’s the most ready made for the pro game right now.”

10. If you need a cornerback in this draft, sit it out. There are no corners even well above average, never mind great.

Those are 10 pretty solid observations and outside of maybe deeming Mark Sanchez an elite quarterback-candidate, I can’t find fault in anything Mayock said.

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