On a conference call Thursday, NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said that this draft is particularly stacked with quality defensive ends.
“I’ve got eight or nine defensive ends with first-round grades,” Mayock said. “Typically only four defensive ends go in the first round.”
Besides the obvious names like Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers and North Carolina’s Robert Quinn, Mayock broke down some of the other ends he has his eye on.
“There are some really good three-four ends this year,” Mayock said. “I’m very impressed with J.J. Watt from Wisconsin. He can play inside or outside”
Mayock also proclaimed a fondness for Cal’s Cam Jordan. “Love him. He’s a five technique defensive end, and he had a great Senior Bowl.”
Ohio State’s Cam Heyward also made Mayock’s list, saying “He was phenomenal in the Sugar Bowl game against Arkansas.”
Mayock also mentioned that someone as talented as Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson could fall for no other reason but over-saturation.
“He could go from 25 to 40, and the kid is a heck of a football player,” said Mayock.
Mayock ranked Missouri’s Aldon Smith as his seventh DE, mainly because he believes he played hurt this year so he’s looking forward to seeing more of him next week.
“I’ve had several scouts tell me he had a more explosive year the year before, but I’ve only seen the 2010 tape,” Mayock said. “He could probably play either scheme but that is something we need to see at the combine in the drills.”