NFL Network's Mike Mayock held a conference call last week to discuss the NFL Combine, and during the call had plenty to say about the cornerback position, an obvious need for the Buccaneers. Below is Mayock's thoughts, including his opinion on where the Bucs could look with their No. 13 pick.
NFL Draft guru Mike Mayock reputation as a draft and scouting expert has grown leaps and bounds over the last few seasons.
Part of it is because Mayock gets down in the trenches when doing the scouting work. Mayock, with his note pad and ink pen furiously taking notes, was a visible presence in St. Petersburg for every practice during the East-West Game week last month, and was all over Mobile as part of the NFL Network’s Senior Bowl coverage.
The former New York Giants safety made himself available last week on the eve of the NFL Combine and talked about this week's showcase in Indianapolis.
Mayock was asked about Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks during the call.
“I tell you what's interesting, I like that other corner too, Darius Slay,” Mayock said. “I put the tape on to watch Banks who plays in the boundary for the most part, and my eye kept going to the other kid, and I liked him a lot. I think [Slay is] a guy that's a third‑ our fourth‑round player. And I think he's opened some eyes.
“As far as Banks is concerned, people like his length. He's got some press ability. He's long. I think he's one of the guys who is a Combine critical four. Corners and wideouts are the two most critical "speed positions" and all the teams are waiting to see what guys run.”
Mayock, like most draft pundits, and even NFL scouts, are still trying to figure out who will be the second cornerback to come off board in April.
“I made the statement earlier, after [Dee] Milliner, I don't have a certified first‑round corner,” Mayock said. “And I think coming out of this Combine, I will.
“I need to see if [Xavier] Rhodes, [Johnthan] Banks, [Desmond] Trufant, any of those guys run well. Banks is the one that runs sub‑4.5, I think he locks up a first round. If he runs 4.55, or 4.58, he's not going there. So for Banks it's a critical, critical weekend.”
Mayock said, even those without world-class speed can find a home in the NFL.
“There are four or five boundary corners in college that play that boundary corner.” Mayock said. “Typically that means a tough, smart guy that can tackle, but is speed deficient. And almost all the top corners this year are boundary guys coming out of college.
“So I would tell you, that depending on what happens with these corners, if you don't get Milliner and somebody runs fast, [Johnthan] Banks, [Desmond] Trufant, any of those guys runs 4.4, who the next corner coming off is going to be really intriguing.”
Later during the conference call, Mayock addressed the Buccaneers specifically.
“They could look at inside linebacker,” Mayock said. “[Alec] Ogletree would be a potential based on whatever their in‑house security tells them about the kid. Ogletree would be a possibility. It might be a little early for [Manti] Te'o. So if you're talking corner at 13, if Milliner's on – if Johnthan Banks or [Desmond] Trufant run well, if either of them can run in that 4.4, 4.42, 4.44 range, both of them could be a potential at 13. It's a little bit high. It's a little earlier than you'd like.
“But [Johnthan] Banks has got length. He tackles. Banks is the one corner I'd say that if he ran well, I think he'd be worthy of a 13th pick. But I think he's going to have to run in that 4.4 range for it to happen.”
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