Monday, April 21, 2008

Mike Mayock Speaks

Mel Kiper is the best known of the "draft experts," but another who has gained a loyal following is Mike Mayock of the NFL Network. Mr. Mayock conducted a conference call for the media last week, and several of his comments touched upon players who have been rumored to be of interest to the Steelers.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon: "Jonathan Stewart is . . . a 238‑pound tailback that ran 4.5, highly‑productive, played through pain, through injuries, great balance, stays on his feet through hits. My only knock on him after watching a bunch of tape is I don't see a second gear; I don't see him stick his foot in the ground and all of a sudden accelerate to a different level. I think he's going to be a very good back in the League, I just don't see any backs this year that are anywhere comparable to, say, Adrian Peterson."

Branden Albert, G, Virginia: "Branden Albert, the guard from Virginia, has thrown his hat in the ring as a tackle. He could be a top ten pick, and he could jump ahead of Clady and Otah . . . to me, when I put the tape on after he declared as a junior, actually I called Howie Long who I'd known for 30 years and I said, 'Howie, who the heck is this Branden Albert kid . . . I don't know him.' Howie said, 'Do yourself a favor put the tape on tonight. Don't wait. He's the most explosive in space interior line man I've ever seen at the college level.' I put the tape on that night. Howie was right. Kid makes plays, finishes plays in space, he's long, he's athletic, he kicked outside the left tackle two games this year, got better the second game. He's the kind of guy that down the road could be a left tackle. If so, his value will be higher. So, regardless, he's a first round pick as an interior player. If somebody believes he's a left tackle, he'll be a top ten pick."

Draft Quality: "Regarding this particular Draft, I think it's real deep, deeper than the last three or four years, through about 75 picks. So if you're picking 1 through 75 and have multiple picks 1 through 75, you're in real good shape. I think it tails off after that, not as strong at the bottom end as it has been the last couple years, and I think in the top 10, it's a very strong class, but I don't think it's got maybe the superstar nature of last year's where you had a Joe Thomas step in, play at a Pro Bowl level, and an Adrian Peterson step in and play immediately at a Pro Bowl level."

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