NFL Network personnel analyst Mike Mayock has become one of the most respected player evaluators around. So, after his work on the NFL Network's Sunday broadcast, Mayock stopped into the press room at the NFL Scouting Combine and answered a variety of questions about the upcoming draft.
Bucsblitz.com was able to ask Mayock about the Bucs' situation at No. 20. Tampa Bay enters this draft with key needs at wide receiver, cornerback and defensive tackle. Mayock said that this early in the game it's hard to determine what any team will take.
"It depends on where you want to spend your money," Mayock said.
Mayock went on to say that he felt the deepest positions in this draft were at cornerback, defensive end and offensive tackle.
One strategy Mayock proposed was to perhaps wait until the second round to select a young cornerback that could become the heir to Ronde Barber.
"If you get to No. 20 you have to look at your board and decide if the, for example, wide receiver that I covet is available and will I spend No. 20 on him, because I think they're (the draft) deeper at corner," Mayock said.
"Boy wouldn't that be a great find at that position in the second round as opposed to a receiver," Mayock said.
Lee worked out today with the rest of the cornerbacks at the Scouting Combine.
It wasn't all just Bucs talk. Mayock talked about a wide range of players, some of which the Bucs could covet down the line:
On Indiana WR James Hardy: "I think James Hardy is an hard player to do (scout) because on tape he reminds me of Plaxico Burress and that's a high benchmark. I did their bowl game and I was disappointed. He dropped a few balls and showed a lack of concentration. I think he ran well today and helped himself, but I don't see him as a first-round player. I think he's the kind of guy that goes in the first half of the second round."
On Arkansas RB Darren McFadden, who ran a 4.33 that day: "He absolutely helped himself. He is what I thought he was. He has great burst and acceleration. His official time was 4.33. I believe that was at 211 pounds. So you juxtapose that to a year ago, (Adrian) Peterson was 217 (pounds) if I remember correctly and he ran a 4.38 or 4.40, I think that was his official time. So that's pretty darn impressive."
On Rutgers RB Ray Rice: "Yeah, I had him grouped speed-wise off tape with Michael Hart. I thought it was interesting. Michael Hart, I love him as a football player. But I knew he didn't have long speed. I was surprised at how fast Ray Rice was today. It was 4.44, is that what it was? Those kinds of numbers were really impressive for Ray Rice. And what it does is it makes me go back to the tape. I saw him get caught from behind on tape a couple of times, so I'm going to go back and look at his tape and check. That whole manufactured speed vs. functional speed, I think, is a legitimate perception to me."
On the wide receiver class as a whole: "I have mixed emotions. I haven't graded the wide receivers as highly some people have. There might be three or four first-rounders this draft, but I'm not convinced there is a true first-round wide receiver. Philosophically I'm getting to the point where I think you can drop down into the third or fourth round and get a James Jones who can contribute. If you look at the history of the Top 10 picks at the wide receiver position, it takes them two to three years to transition into productivity. I think there's some depth. Personally I think you look at the second, third and fourth round and there are definitely some players."
On Arkansas' other back, Felix Jones: "Felix Jones had a real good day. Yes, he ran well. He's hard to do on tape because of the way they use him, kind of like a Percy Harvin at Florida where he's not a traditionally I-back. The backs are hard to do. There are a lot of spread offenses these days, and that means that there's a lot of slow developing plays. It's very different than NFL offenses. So that spread offense is causing problems."
LSU DT Glenn Dorsey and whether his injury situation could cause him to drop: "No. Dorsey is hard to do because you have to get a medical opinion first to make sure that everything he's gone through the past two years, if you take him at two or three, you're getting a guy with a clean bill of health. You want to make sure it won't be a debilitating injury going forward. I put the national championship tape on a week ago and it was the best defensive tape tackle I've seen in a couple of years and that was the first time he'd been healthy all year long. It was a dominating performance. So he's difficult. You want to love the kid because he's a warrior and played hurt. But you better make sure you're not buying damaged goods, and I'm not saying they are. I'm just saying you better be sure."
On Michigan T Jake Long: "Jake Long was highly impressive. I've done enough tape on him and what he is to me is an elite, Pro Bowl right tackle who may struggle with elite speed on the left side. It doesn't say he can't be a left tackle. What I'm saying is that he doesn't have Joe Thomas' speed. But he's a better drive blocker."
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.