INDIANAPOLIS --The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is underway.
Draft prospects -- along with NFL head coaches and general managers -- began meeting the media Thursday morning, marking the beginning of an important week for the college players.
And as far as NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock is concerned, this year's prospects make for one of the deepest drafts of the past decade.
"From my perspective, this is the deepest and best draft class I've seen in probably 10 years," Mayock said on a conference call. "That's been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts 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. So I think there's more depth. I think there are certain positions that are stacked this year and you can get a quality player through three or four rounds."
One of those positions, Mayock said, is wide receiver. He called it "the best wide-receiver draft I've seen in years."
The reason why he feels this year's overall crop is so stacked? The playmakers at the top of the draft.
"It's not just a couple guys," he said. "You know, there's three offensive tackles that could go in the top‑10. There's three quarterbacks that could go in the top‑10, and then you've got guys like (Khalil) Mack, who is a difference-maker, (Anthony) Barr from UCLA, (Sammy) Watkins from Clemson is a tremendous wide receiver. So we're 10, 11, 12, players deep right there and we have not seen 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 and from a position standpoint; you know, we talked about wide receiver. I think offensive tackle is particularly deep. You can go three rounds, four rounds deep this year and get a starting offensive tackle. So from those couple of positions and the quality up top, and I think there's some pretty good corners, by the way, three to four rounds deep. So I'm really excited about this draft."
As for the Broncos in particular, Mayock looked to the defensive side of the ball for who he thought could come to Denver with the 31st overall pick in the draft.
"I think if you're talking at the back end at safety, a guy like Lamarcus Joyner from Florida State could be there and he's an explosive, quick-twitch athlete that can play safety or nickel. He played mostly corner at Florida State and he's got some special teams ability, also. And then that whole middle linebacker thing is interesting to me and I think most people would say it's a little high, a little rich for Chris Borland, but I don't believe that. I think Borland could step in and immediately kind of stabilize that whole situation.
"I think Scott Crichton is an interesting guy from Oregon State, defensive end. He reminds me a little bit of a poor man's Chris Long, great motor, tough against the run, will get hustle sacks. I like him a lot and 31 is about right for him.
"The corner situation, I mentioned earlier how much I like Kyle Fuller from Virginia Tech, he's a longer corner. I think he can flat out play and I'm anxious to see what he runs. And guys like Keith McGill, you could get him in the second or third round, he's 6‑3 and I just watched film, his UCLA tape, the other day and he has some skills, being a Seattle‑type corner, he needs to be more consistent. I think you're right, when you get to 31, it's like, OK, we hope it's a defensive player and who is the best guy left standing at that point?"
Mayock mentioned his thoughts on Fuller, who he said is a "kid I really like."
"I have got him as my third ranked corner. I think he's a first‑round talent. He's long, he tackles, he has ball skills. I think the key for him is what he runs that 40 in. If he comes in as a sub‑4.5, I think he's a first-round lock."
"I am a Kyle Fuller guy. I think he makes a ton of sense but we need to see what he runs. I have him ranked higher than most of the corners out there."
We'll have plenty more from the combine throughout the week and weekend on DenverBroncos.com -- including more from Mayock.