By Jim Wexell
Posted Feb 23, 2007
INDIANAPOLIS – Move over Mel Kiper, there’s a new draft expert in town. His name is Mike Mayock and he’s played the game and actually watches the college prospects on coaches’ tape.
Mayock has become the new superstar in draft reporting and he recently held a conference call with the combine reporters.
Here are some of Mayock’s comments that pertain to prospects who interest the Steelers:
• “My take on Paul Posluszny is he might not be as explosive. He might be narrow through the hips, all these things they take shots on him for. But when you put the tape on, the kid makes plays all over the field. I think one of those playoff teams, somewhere 22 through 32 in the first round, I think one of those playoff teams is going to say, ‘Wow, he’s a tough kid, smart kid, he flies all over the field and he can come in and play for us.’”
• “(Amobi Okoye) weighed in at 287 pounds, which was really light at the Senior Bowl. That was down about 15 or 18 pounds. He was the quickest I had ever seen him. I graded him on tape as a second-round pick. At the Senior Bowl, he’s a first-round kid. I know a lot of teams that think he’s a top-15 type player.”
• “(Leon Hall) is my top-rated corner right now. I think the kid that’s going to blow up (at the combine) is Chris Houston from Arkansas. Leon Hall, I think he’s got a good burst, tremendous change of direction. The question has been his recovery speed and his long speed. My spies where he’s working out right now tell me he’s going to surprise people and run worst-case scenario low 4.4s.”
• “(After Gaines Adams at defensive end) Then you get Jarvis Moss from Florida. He’s highly athletic, can rush the quarterback, not real strong at the point of attack but (is) the second-most athletic defensive end in the draft. I’ve got Adam Carriker from Nebraska as my No. 3 because I think he can match up in any defense. He can play a 3-4 defense as a defensive end; he can play in a 4-3 as either a base end or even kick inside the tackle. Then there’s Jamaal Anderson from Arkansas. Some people think he’s a top-five or top-10 pick. I see some inconsistencies in his game. His motor isn’t there all the time. The guy that’s dropped the furthest is Quentin Moses from Georgia. He was supposed to be a top-five pick. Right now people are wondering if he’s even a first-round pick. I think there are some really good football players in the second round, like (Victor) Abiamiri from Notre Dame, Tim Crowder. Anthony Spencer from Purdue is a bit of a tweener. He’s one of the top two or three pass-rushers in this draft.”
• “The guy I think is going to surprise people this week is Chris Houston. I mentioned him earlier. He completely shut down Dwayne Jarrett from USC. He’s the best press cover corner probably in this draft.”
• “I don’t think Dwayne Jarrett has the skills today to get off the line of scrimmage against quality NFL corners. … I’ve heard some rumors he’s running poorly and won’t test himself this week.”
• “I like Steve Smith from USC. I like him better than Dwayne Jarrett. I also like (Anthony) Gonzalez from Ohio State. I think they’re going to be solid NFL players.”
• “Reggie Nelson is kind of a borderline late one, early two. He makes plays. I think there’s some question about his long speed. He can be as smooth as some of the elite safeties that go in the first round. What he does this week is important.”
• “I think (Antonio Pittman) should have stayed another year. I think he’s probably going to be a mid to late second-round pick. He’s a really good football player. What he has to prove is that he can be a three-down back, that he’s strong enough, physical enough, tough enough that he can play on all downs as opposed to a change-of-pace back where your value isn’t as good.”
• “(Lamarr Woodley) is a little bit of a tweener. They will ask him to stand up and do some linebacker drills along with the Spencer kid from Purdue. They’ll be the two highest profile kids of the defensive ends who are going to be asked to stand up and play some outside linebacker. If he can run 4.6 at his size, that would be tremendous. What’s going to be more important is how he moves in the linebacker drills. I think he’s going to be a solid second-round kid. It just depends whether it’s a 4-3 team or a 3-4 team.”
• “I have Tony Hunt higher than most people. He’s my No. 3 running back. I have him in the second round, and then I have Brian Leonard in the second round.”