New GM Mayock hit and missed as draft analyst
ALAMEDA » Raiders general manager Mike Mayock has spent the last 15 years as an NFL Network analyst specializing in the NFL draft.
His true feelings about prospects will from now on be tied to the Raiders, rather than the NFL Network. His opinions regarding college talent have been on display in public either on the air, through conference calls with the media or on NFL.com web content.
Although it’s unreasonable to expect Mayock to be so forthcoming when he’s working for a specific team, it’s worth checking out his opinions on draft- eligible players before they became Raiders or played for another NFL team.
Here’s a sampling, although keep in mind even those with good track records at evaluating the draft (as well as the teams themselves) are often wrong. It’s a hit-andmiss process.
So here goes on the hits and misses:
KHALIL MACK » Mack was selected No. 5 by the Raiders in 2014 out of Buffalo, but was the top player on Mayock’s board. ( Where Mayock ranks a player is not necessarily where he thinks he’ll be drafted, taking into account team needs, draft history, etc.) His mock draft had Mack going to Jacksonville at No. 3. “He’s explosive off the edge. He’s tough, he’s twitch, he’s got a little edge about him. When I watch him on tape I feel he’s pissed off at the world, and I like that,” Mayock said. ANDREW LUCK » Yes, this was an easy one. Luck as the No. 1 overall selection by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 and ranked as the top quarterback by Mayock over Robert Griffin III. “He’s going to sit down with teams and get up on the boards and draw what he knows about football. He’ll process and assimilate information for those teams and spit it back at them. All of those teams will go away saying, ‘ Wow, I want that guy,’” Mayock said. LAMAR JACKSON » Jackson who went No. 32 to Baltimore, wasn’t Mayock’s top-rated player at his position, but his comment about the Louisville quarterback proved prescient for the rookie who led the Ravens to the playoffs after taking over for Joe Flacco. “I think someone is going to make a philosophical and schematic commitment to this kid and change what they do offensively ... I can’t wait to see what Lamar Jackson becomes,” Mayock said. DEFOREST BUCKNER » The 49ers took Buckner in the first round, No. 7 overall, and he’s become a dominant player. “Buckner reminds me of the Cardinals (now Jaguars) Calais Campbell. He has power and length. Ideally, he’s a five-technique, which is the defense the 49ers play,” Mayock said. DERWIN JAMES » Lasted until No. 17 when the Los Angeles Chargers took who might be the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year as a safety out of Florida State. The Raiders passed on James twice. Mayock had James going No. 12 to Tampa Bay. “You expect bigger safeties to have hip tightness, but you don’t see it with him ... when he gets there, he arrives in bad humor,” Mayock said.
JOHNNY MANZIEL » Taken No. 22 by the Cleveland Browns in 2014, Manziel was a wildly productive quarterback out of Texas A&M. Off-field problems related to drinking have derailed his career. Mayock’s No. 2 quarterback was Blake Bortles, who has been mostly a disappointment in Jacksonville. “The kind of projection I want to make with Manziel is Steve Young ... ( but) off the field, is he the kind of person you want as the face of your franchise?” MARK SANCHEZ » The USC quarterback was rated by Mayock ahead of Matt Stafford, the eventual No. 1 pick by the Detroit Lions. Sanchez went No. 5 to the New York Jets and caught on with Washington this year, but his career never took off. “I think the safest pick is Mark Sanchez. Sanchez has a very good arm that I would compare to Matt Ryan,” Mayock said. BLAINE GABBERT » Gabbert was the 10th overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010. He never panned out in Jacksonville, and it didn’t work with the 49ers either. Gabbert is currently playing for the Tennessee Titans, where he backed up Marcus Mariota. Mayock had Gabbert rated ahead of No. 1 overall pick and eventual 2015 MVP Cam Newton. “I’m telling you he’s a top 10 pick. I believe in Blaine Gabbert,” Mayock said. AARON CURRY » Curry was the No. 4 overall pick by Seattle out of Wake Forest in 2009. He was sent on his way after three seasons with 5.5 sacks and having forced zero turnovers. The Raiders traded for Curry in 2011 and he made no impact and is out of football. “Aaron Curry might be the safest pick in the draft. He’s clean off the field and you’re going to hand him $30 million or $40 million and he’s going to put in the bank and he’s going to go to work.”
DEREK CARR » Carr wasn’t Mayock’s No. 1 quarterback in the 2014 draft. But Mayock does deserve credit for predicting the Raiders would trade into the first round to draft Carr. ( The Raiders actually waited and got him in Round 2). “He’s more athletic than people think. A lot of teams thought he was the best pure thrower in the draft. I love the way this kid throws the football.” KOLTON MILLER » Miller was mostly regarded as a reach when the Raiders traded back and took him at No. 15 out of UCLA in the 2017 draft. Mayock forecast the Raiders as taking Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchy at No. 10. McGlinchy went to the 49ers. “They get the No. 2 tackle in the draft to put behind Donald Penn, the incumbent left tackle. He only answered the bell 23 times. KARL JOSEPH » Mayock believed the No. 14 pick the Raiders used on Joseph was a little high but said of his skill set: “... He’s like a poor man’s Earl Thomas. He says he models his game after Brian Dawkins. Some say he’s much like Bob Sanders. This is a dynamic playmaker.” Mayock had the Raiders taking linebacker Myles Jack at No. 14. GAREON CONLEY » The Raiders took Conley No. 24 overall in the first round of the 2017 draft out of Ohio State. Mayock liked Conley’s ability, but was concerned about a rape allegation which came out before the draft and did not rate him. Mayock had the Raiders taking tackle Cam Robinson instead. GABE JACKSON » Jackson, a guard out of Mississippi State taken in the third round of the 2014 draft, wasn’t given a first-round grade but his power did catch Mayock’s eye. “He’s a mauler and a brawler and about as physical a guy as you’re going to see.”
Raiders GM Mike Mayok nailed it as NFL draft analyst on Khalil Mack and Andrew Luck, but missed on Johnny Manziel.