Published: February 17th, 2012 | Tags: 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, Cleveland Browns, Dre Kirkpatrick, Luke Kuechly, Mark Barron, Matt Flynn, Mike Mayock, Minnesota Vikings, NFL Network, Philadelphia Eagles, Robert Griffin III, Seattle Seahawks, Vontaze Burfict
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock was the man of the hour during a conference call with media from throughout the United States on Wednesday. Scribes from every corner of the league wanted to know what their hometown team should do with its first-round pick.
Here’s a sampling:
Q: Should Cleveland sign Matt Flynn or go after Robert Griffin III?
MAYOCK: Boy, is that an interesting question. … With Flynn you’re probably a little bit more saying we know what we’re getting there, and it’s a more conventional-style NFL attack. Versus with Griffin, grab a hold of the seat of your pants and we’re going for a ride. It might be really special.
Q: Lot of people have linked the Eagles with Luke Kuechly.
MAYOCK: I think he’s the best inside linebacker in this draft by far. He’s a natural three-year junior. He’s got more production than you could imagine. He’s never been hurt. He’s got no significant injuries. He’s clean off the field, intelligent. He’s got great instincts, and he’s a better athlete than people think.
People think he’s an inside linebacker from Boston College, so he can’t run. Well, he can run.
Q: Do the Seattle Seahawks need to draft a quarterback in the first round?
MAYOCK: You know, I’ve seen a lot of Tarvaris Jackson, because I also used to do the Minnesota Vikings preseason games. So I’ve seen an awful lot of him. I like him. But I think that position needs to be upgraded. I don’t mind T-Jax competing for the position. But he either has to get a free agent in there or he has to draft somebody.
The Seahawks are sitting at either No. 11 or 12. At that point, the top two quarterbacks are going to be gone, if you’re talking about the first round. You have to take a look at a guy like (Ryan) Tannehill. Trust me, even Washington and Miami will be looking at Tannehill before you.
Q: Is Vontaze Burfict of Arizona State worth a first-round pick given his penalty issues?
MAYOCK: I think some of the attention throughout the media with all the penalties and all those issues, I think they’re a little bit too much. I just watched a bunch of his tape the other day, and I said forget the penalties and all is that stuff that surrounds him. What kind of football player is he? And I came away unimpressed.
From my perspective, if he gets a chance at a blow-up hit where he can just knock somebody into the next century, he’s going to take it and it’s going to look really good. That’s where he’s impressive. When he sees something and comes downhill and blows it up, it’s really good.
However, the other major percentage of the time is his instincts aren’t good. … So that’s even before you factor in all the other elements. So from my perspective, I don’t see first round at all.
Q. Does the injury to Alabama’s Mark Barron or the recent arrest to Dre Kirkpatrick hurt their draft stock?
MAYOCK: The knee-jerk reaction is, ‘Oh my goodness. Drug arrest, blah, blah, blah.’ Well, that didn’t turn out to be too much. I don’t think in the world of the NFL — are they going to do their homework? Absolutely. Is it a minor red flag? You bet it is, and they’re going to do their homework.
But I don’t think on its face, if there’s nothing beyond that, I don’t think it’s going to hurt them at all.
As far as Barron the safety, I would have loved to have seen him workout. But his body of work on tape is very strong. He’s the No. 1 safety on just about everybody’s charts. Everybody’s hoping that he’ll have an opportunity to work out prior to the draft.