A couple of days ago, Mike Mayock of the NFL Network talked specifically about who he thinks is a better fit for the Cleveland Browns at No. 2 overall -- and that would be quarterback Jared Goff over Carson Wentz. On Tuesday, Mayock held his annual pre-combine conference call with NFL reporters. The conference lasted around two hours and the transcript came to around 15,591 words in length, which less than past years, but still a lot of material.
Mayock fielded questions from reporters across the country, and a few Cleveland reporters on the call got some questions in, which I will highlight below. With Mayock's thoughts on the top quarterbacks already known, the first question was was about who the Browns should look for at No. 32 overall.
Q. Assuming the Browns go quarterback at No. 2, they've got so many other needs, obviously receiver, O-line, linebackers and defensive backs, could you just give a quick snapshot of the depth thing or lack thereof in each position group and maybe what you think would make sense for them at No. 32?
Mayock: "Well, I mean, real quickly, obviously the Goff and Wentz thing has heated up, and from my perspective it's two different conversations. I think Goff is more polished, ready to go today. I think Wentz has more significant upside.
Now, once you roll around to the second round and you're trying to say if you're the Cleveland Browns, what are you going to do? If you're looking at wide receivers, I don't think it's a great wide receiver class this year, and Cleveland needs, I think, a bigger body type wideout, so who's going to be there? Treadwell and Corey Coleman could be gone in the first round., home state, Ohio State, obviously. Josh Doctson from TCU. I think they're both logical people.
As far as offensive line is concerned, obviously they took the center/tackle from Florida State last year. Top of the second round, Le'Raven Clark, Sean Coleman, a lot of people like them in the second. I think it's pushing it for those tackles. However, inside I like Cody Whitehair, I like Vadal Alexander, Ryan Kelly. I think any of those guys would make sense inside because you don't know what's going to happen with Mack for the Cleveland Browns."
Mayock addressed the offensive side of things, but didn't talk about linebackers or defensive backs. Toward the end of the call, the same reporter circled back to his question, making sure to focus on defense only:
Q. I wanted to go back to that scenario where the Browns pick a quarterback at No. 2 and maybe look on defense at 32, like maybe a linebacker or a DB. I think you mentioned Will Fuller. Do you think he'll last that -- anybody else you think might be there at that point?
Mayock: "You're talking about a linebacker or a DB at 32?"
Q. Yeah, either one of those.
Mayock: "Well, I think linebacker at 32, Reggie Ragland will be gone. I think Darron Lee will be gone. Different teams have different opinions on Su'a Cravens from USC, whether he's a safety or a linebacker, but he fits what today's outside linebacker is. A little bit like a Deone Bucannon. He could be a strong safety, he could be a Will linebacker, he could rush, he could be a dime linebacker in your dime package. So Su'a Cravens is kind of an interesting second-round conversation, also, and as far as defensive line, which I think you mentioned, also, there's going to be a ton of those guys sitting there, Kenny Clark from UCLA, Billings from Baylor, and they might be gone, but my point is whether it's them, Fuller, Butler from LA Tech, Adolphus Washington with some real pass rush ability and some off-the-field issues, but Adolphus Washington is probably going to be an early second-round pick, Sheldon Day from Notre Dame, Jihad Ward, there's a whole group of guys early in the second round that if you get stuck, you're going to find a defensive lineman that fits every scheme."
Q. Any cornerbacks at that spot?
Mayock: "Early second for the corners, again, I don't know how the corners are going to play out yet. So just giving you some names that could be first- or second-rounders, Mackensie Alexander from Clemson probably goes in the first; Eli Apple, who's an intriguing conversation, late one, early two, from Ohio State; Artie Burns from Miami, late one, early two; William Jackson from Houston is a name not a lot of people are talking about yet, but I believe they will be. And as you drop down, Cyrus Jones in the third or fourth round, great nickel from Alabama that might also have the ability to play outside. So there's some real depth in the corner draft, also."
At a different point of the call, Mayock wasn't specifically asked about the quarterback situation with respect to Cleveland, but still offered the following breakdown between Goff and Wentz:
Q. Just wondering, what makes you think that Carson Wentz has more upside potential than Jared Goff, and then when you look at those guys from the intangibles standpoint, are they pretty equal in terms of intelligence and character and that kind of stuff?
Mayock: "Yeah, the way I look at Wentz is the first tape I put in, I went, wow, and I didn't even know who he was. He was just a quarterback on my list. No clue. And I watched I think it was Northern Iowa, and I watched this big kid swing the ball around the lot, and then on top of it, was athletic enough where they planned quarterback runs for him. So you do some homework and you find out he's 6'5", 235, and I put the second tape in hoping it would be as good as the first, and it was better.
So you start doing homework on the kids, and yeah, he's only got 23 starts. He's 20-3 as a starter but he comes out of a great program in Division I-AA, five consecutive National Championships. When I look at him, I see a kid that's as athletic or more athletic than Andrew Luck. He's bigger than Andrew Luck. He's got arm strength comparable to Andrew Luck. He just doesn't have the experience that Andrew Luck has at a high level that Andrew has coming out of college.
So I see a ceiling for this kid similar to Andrew Luck. That's why I believe in this kid so much. But it's going to take a little bit of time. His character apparently is off the charts. That's what I was told by everybody surrounding the Senior Bowl that had any dealings with him. Smart, tough, loves the game.
Regarding Goff, polished, great in the pocket, finds lanes to throw, really good arm. Not elite, but a really good arm, very accurate with a quick release. Most ready to play quarterback in the draft today. If you're Cleveland, I think you've got to make some decisions about how you want to go about it, and from -- I don't know Goff yet. I haven't met him yet. I've been told he's very lean, needs to put some weight on, nowhere near as big as Carson Wentz, but 6'3" to 6'4", 210 pounds, and I think you just have to make a decision if you're the Browns as to which direction you want to go in, which kid do you believe in more."
You can read Mayock's full transcript or listen to the audio here to see what he said about other players and teams.