Mike Mayock says Marqise Lee can play inside or outside, talks about safeties in 2014 NFL Draft

Ethan Miller

NFL Network's Mike Mayock talked this weekend about some of the draft's more intriguing players. Quotes are below.

The NFL released a transcript of what NFL Network's Mike Mayock had to say this weekend about the 2014 NFL Combine. Mayock spoke before the Combine as well, which you can read about here.

With the KC Chiefs top two needs being safety and receiver, I picked out a few of the questions related to those positions. The Chiefs have been reported to have met with wide receivers Marqise Lee and Mike Evans as well as safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor.

Here's what Mayock had to say....

On Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins:

"Sammy Watkins is what you want. I'm not usually a big proponent of top-10 wide receivers, but this kid he runs fast, he catches the football, he's explosive and what's my favorite thing about him is he has a chip on his shoulder. He has more toughness than most wide receivers have. I think he's a franchise wide receiver."

On Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans and Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin:

"There are different ways to separate at the wide receiver position. You can separate with quickness, you can separate with speed, you can separate with route running and you can separate with body type. So when you look at the Texas A&M kid [Mike Evans] and the Florida State kid [Kelvin Benjamin], you're talking about body type; 6'5-plus, 230-240 pounds. In today's NFL with the advent of the back-shoulder fade, which I think has changed the whole way we're drafting now, Benjamin and Evans are today's NFL; outside the numbers, red zone, throw it up.

"In the old days, even 10,15 years ago, quarterbacks were taught if a corner or safety covered your guy in press coverage, you went to your second read. Now they're taught to throw it at the back of his helmet. Mike Evans, he ran fast, he caught everything, he catches naturally. The Benjamin kid from Florida State is a similar body type; I thought he was a little more stiff today getting in and out of breaks and he had several drops at Florida State so his hands aren't quite as consistent."

"Marqise Lee is that guy who can play inside, he can play outside, he can return kicks. -Mike Mayock
On USC wide receiver Marqise Lee:

"Marqise Lee is that guy who can play inside, he can play outside, he can return kicks. I thought he was going to run faster than he did."

On how much LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham helped himself with his performance in the 40-yard dash:

"I knew Beckham was going to run fast, and when you look at the two LSU wideouts Beckham is faster. I made the comment early I thought he might run 4.35 to 4.40, whereas Jarvis Landry would run 4.55. Now, I'm not sure which is the better football player but Beckham certainly helped himself with his speed, his smoothness. His route running is really, really good and I know the NFL people love him."

On if bigger cornerbacks are the wave of the future:

"I think it has to be right now because if we're going to have a conversation about the big body wide receivers, then you have to go, ‘Who's covering them?' It's the same thing with the tight ends, the 6'4, 250 [pounds] - who is covering him? Look at Seattle. That's the prototype right now defensively; what are you looking for and how do you cover these big bodies?

On the safety class:

"I don't think the safety class is as deep as some of these other classes. For instance, Calvin Pryor, if I had one of my 10 favorite players just because of watching them on tape, Calvin Pryor is one of them. He's like a bigger Bob Sanders. I think he's better in the box. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is better back off; he has more range and ball skills back there. Lamarcus Joyner is a corner at Florida State that I think is a safety similar to Tyrann Mathieu.

Another one of my real favorites in this draft is Jimmie Ward from Northern Illinois who is more of a free safety. -Mayock

"Another one of my real favorites in this draft is Jimmie Ward from Northern Illinois who is more of a free safety. I think after those four it drops off a little bit and then you have to take your pick at guys like Terrence Brooks at Florida State. Ed Reynolds from Stanford is generating a lot of conversation; he's a true free safety, he might run a little better than people think. I was surprised he came out this year because he had six picks a year ago, came back and didn't play as well this year, so he's a guy that has a big question mark. He has some ability. Tre Boston from North Carolina is a guy you can get in the middle rounds who is a little more in the box kind of guy."

On wide receivers in this draft that would work well for a team looking for a slot receiver:

"Starting with Marqise Lee would be an excellent slot. You can go a couple of different ways in the slot; a shorter, quicker guy like Wes Welker or sometimes the big body guy where you're trying to throwing slants and get him one-on-one with a linebacker. I think Jarvis Landry from LSU is one of the toughest players in this draft; he pulled up today and ran 4.65 which I don't think means anything but I think he's a slot. I think Brandin Cooks initially is going to be looked at as a slot. I think [Jared] Abbrederis from Wisconsin is an interesting guy in the slot, Robert Herron from Wyoming is an interesting guy in the slot. [Bruce] Ellington from South Carolina."

On what makes Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks a fit for the slot position:

"He can play [like] Marqise Lee. I think he fits inside or outside. In today's NFL where guys like Welker are catching eight, 10, 12 passes a game and what you're looking for is a matchup in the middle of the field. If you're quicker than fast, that's where those slot guys typically end up. I think Cooks is quick and fast."

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