Evan Silva

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Mayock Updates His Top Fives

Friday, February 11, 2011


NFL Network's Mike Mayock is widely considered the top draft analyst in the business, so we tend to take his opinions seriously. We often do Mayock-related blurbs on the Rotoworld news page.

Mayock released his initial top-fives by position on January 25. He updated them today. Here they are:

Quarterbacks
1. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
2. Jake Locker, Washington
3. Cam Newton, Auburn
4. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
5. Andy Dalton, TCU

Comments: Mayock says he's not done with his quarterback evaluation, but he's made some changes since January. He's now got Dalton alone in the five spot after the Horned Frogs' four-year starter previously shared the position with Ricky Stanzi, Colin Kaepernick, and Pat Devlin. Devlin's stock appears to have plummeted since a poor showing at the East-West Shrine Game. Senior Bowl MVP Christian Ponder remains absent from the list.

Running Backs
1. Mark Ingram, Alabama
2. Mikel Leshoure, Illinois
3. Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
4. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
5. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State

Comments: Mayock relentlessly talked up Kendall Hunter at the Senior Bowl, so it's surprising that the former Oklahoma State Cowboy is no longer even in a tie for the five spot. The biggest notable here, particularly from a fantasy perspective, is Leshoure's jump into the two-hole. Mayock said during Senior Bowl week that he wanted to watch more film on Leshoure. After doing so, Mayock has moved the Illinois product into conversation as a top-40 selection. Ingram remains the consensus top draft-eligible running back.

Wide Receivers
1. A.J. Green, Georgia
2. Julio Jones, Alabama
3. Titus Young, Boise State
4. Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh
5. Torrey Smith, Maryland

Comments: Smith is the newcomer to the receiver top five, overtaking the old cast of Jerrel Jernigan, Randall Cobb, and Greg Little. Mayock's biggest switch was moving Young past Baldwin into the No. 3 position. Chris Wesseling, dominating the Rotoworld news page Thursday, did a post about Young's rise. Baldwin is a physical freak at 6'5/230 with alleged sub-4.4 speed, but there are concerns about his on-field concentration and off-field decision making.

Tight Ends
1. Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
2. Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin
3. Luke Stocker, Tennessee
4. D.J. Williams, Arkansas
5. Virgil Green, Nevada

Comments: It's pretty much status quo here, as Mayock's evaluation of Kendricks through Williams did not change after seeing all three of those players on the Senior Bowl practice field. Stocker has drawn comparisons to Jason Witten and Oakland's Zach Miller as a complete tight end. The only change is the dropping out of Tulsa's Charles Clay in favor of Green.

Interior Offensive Line
1. Mike Pouncey, Florida
2. Danny Watkins, Baylor
3. Clint Boling, Georgia
4. John Moffitt, Wisconsin
5. Rodney Hudson, Florida State

Comments: The old list: 1) Pouncey, 2) Stefen Wisniewski, 3) Watkins, 4) Moffitt, 5) Hudson/Will Rackley. Pouncey is still the likeliest guard/center to be drafted in the first round, and Watkins is emerging as the clear-cut second best interior line prospect despite his age (27 next November). The Football Outsiders just kill it in this breakdown of Watkins and Rodney Hudson. Boling is the newcomer, essentially replacing Wisniewski, who's fallen off the list altogether.

Offensive Tackles
1. Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
2. Nate Solder, Colorado
3. Tyron Smith, USC
4. Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
5 (tie). Ben Ijalana, Villanova; Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State

Comments: Mayock has bumped Castonzo into first place ahead of Solder. (Mayock and Castonzo share an alma mater, although we'll assume that's not the reason for the switch.) Castonzo was a four-year starter at B.C. and the Eagles' first offensive lineman in over a decade to start on the offensive line as a true freshman. Smith overtakes Carimi as the more athletic tackle prospect; Carimi is probably ticketed for right tackle in the NFL. Ijalana missed the Senior Bowl due to "double hernia" surgery, but teams must be confident in his health. Wes Bunting of the National Football Post loves Ijalana, FWIW.

Defensive Ends
1. Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
2. J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
3. Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
4. Cameron Jordan, California
5. Robert Quinn, North Carolina

Comments: Watt leaped from No. 5 (tie) among defensive ends into the two-hole after Mayock watched film of Wisconsin's Rose Bowl loss to TCU. Watt did not put up big statistics in that game, so it's a good sign that Mayock was impressed even without the pass rusher racking up sacks and tackles for loss. It's also a good sign for Clayborn that he's still considered a top-three defensive end in this year's draft. He only had 3.5 sacks in 2010. Most observers are holding off on Quinn until he performs at the Combine.

Defensive Tackle
1. Marcell Dareus, Alabama
2. Nick Fairley, Auburn
3. Corey Liuget, Illinois
4. Stephen Paea, Oregon State
5. Jurrell Casey, USC

Comments: In terms of the top of the draft, the most intriguing development is Dareus passing Fairley as the top defensive tackle prospect. Fairley is considered the likely No. 1 pick in many circles. Critics can point to Mayock's ranking of Gerald McCoy over Ndamukong Suh ahead of last year's draft as reason to disagree. Liuget is really picking up steam, as noted in this item on Wednesday's news page.

Outside Linebacker
1. Von Miller, Texas A&M
2. Akeem Ayers, UCLA
3. Justin Houston, Georgia
4. Bruce Carter, North Carolina
5. Chris Carter, Fresno State

Comments: Carter was the 2010 WAC Defensive Player of the Year, but is a 'tweener. He'll appeal to 3-4 teams as an outside rush linebacker. Ayers' best comparison is Karlos Dansby. Houston is sensationally explosive off the edge, though CBS' Rob Rang has questioned his ability to play outside of a 4-3 scheme, calling Houston "one of the more overrated prospects in the draft to this point."

Inside Linebackers
1. Martez Wilson, Illinois
2. Colin McCarthy, Miami (FL)
3. Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
4. Casey Matthews, Oregon
5. Kelvin Sheppard, LSU

Comments: Hopefully, your team doesn't need an inside linebacker. Because behind Wilson this is a thoroughly unimpressive group.

Cornerbacks
1. Patrick Peterson, LSU
2. Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
3. Aaron Williams, Texas
4. Jimmy Smith, Colorado
5. Brandon Harris, Miami (FL)

Comments: Ranked third in Mayock's previous rankings, Harris is slipping after getting torched by Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd in the Sun Bowl. It's probably deserved, especially considering Floyd only got a third-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee. Smith, as expected, is rising. Latest word from SI's Tony Pauline has Smith looking "sensational" in pre-Combine workouts.

Safeties
1. Rahim Moore, UCLA
2. Ahmad Black, Florida
3. Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson
4. Quinton Carter, Oklahoma
5. Deunta Williams, North Carolina

Comments: Williams, previously third in Mayock's safety ranks, was recently spotted walking around Chapel Hill with a boot on the foot he fractured in the Tar Heels' bowl game. He seems unlikely to participate in the Combine. Robert Sands and Will Hill have vanished from the list, replaced by Gilchrist and Carter.


Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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