INDIANAPOLIS – Mike Mayock's pre-combine conference call lasted over two hours on Tuesday afternoon but the draft analyst wasted no time getting to the point.
In his opening statement, Mayock called this draft class the deepest he has seen in 10 years.
Here are three takeaways specific to the Colts from Mayock's conference call as the combine beings in full steam on Thursday:
On The Draft's Depth:
"From my perspective, this is the deepest and best draft class I've seen in probably 10 years. That's been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts that I've talked to throughout the league. I had one GM tell me the other day that having a top-20 pick this year, is very similar to having a top-10 pick last year. I think there's more depth. There are certain positions that are stacked this year and you can get a quality player through three or four rounds."
On Why Mayocks Thinks This Draft Is So Deep:
"It's based on a couple of things. The playmakers at the top of this draft…it isn't just a couple of guys. There's three offensive tackles that could go in the top 10. There's three quarterbacks that could go in the top 10. Then you've got guys like Khalil Mack that's a different maker. (Anthony) Barr from UCLA. C.J. Mosley from Alabama. (Sammy) Watkins from Clemson is a tremendous player. So we are 10 or 11 players deep and we haven't even talked about the safety from Louisville (Calvin Pryor) or the tight end from North Carolina (Eric Ebron) and I could go on and on. There's more quality at the top end of this draft than I've seen in a long time. From a position standpoint, we talked about wide receiver. I think offensive tackle…you can go three and four rounds deep this year and get a starting offensive tackle. Those couple of positions and the quality up top…and I think there's some pretty good corners three-to-four rounds deep. I'm really excited about this draft and that's why."
On If Mayock Believes In Selecting The Best Player Available:
"If you are picking at a number, you know what your team needs are and you know what your board says as far as the next best player available on your board. If you are picking 46th and the 21st best player on the board is still sitting there, yet you've got a player at a position of need ranked 47th, I think you are crazy if you don't get the guy that is ranked 21. You are just loading your overall team talent. I think some teams still prescribe to the best player available, at a position of need. I think you get in trouble there. It's a little bit of common sense. If it's two players rated in the same area, then sure you pick the position of need."
5 Quick Hits From Mayock
-How good does Mayock think the WR position is in this draft?: "It's the best wide receiver draft I've seen in years."
-Why does Mayock have Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater going No. 1. "Because he's not a "wildcard" like Johnny Manziel. Bridgewater has played well under center, shotgun and in pistol."
-What does Mayock think of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney?: "Clowney has the physical makeup to be best player in draft. He's a better player with more upside than Mario Williams had as prospect."
-What does Mayock think of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam?: "He's a tweener and I think that's where people are going to have trouble with his evaluation. He doesn't have the length (linebacker size, but the physical skill set of a defensive end)." Sees him in the 3rd-to-5th round.
-For local fans, Mayock is very high on Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland, the 2013 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year: "He is one of my 2-3 favorite players in the draft. He has the ability to be the Kiko Alonso of this group."
ICYMI: Fellow Draft Analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. had a separate conference call earlier this month and his thoughts on the 2014 NFL Draft can be found here.