NFL Network lead analyst Mike Mayock, in a conference call with reporters to preview this week’s NFL Scouting Combine, was asked what prospects he’s most interested to see in Indianapolis.
Bishop Sankey was the first name he mentioned.
“I really like the tailback from Washington, Sankey,” Mayock said. “I want to see him catch the football (more). … I think he can be a lot like the kid out of North Carolina at Cincinnati, Giovani Bernard.”
If Sankey is able to prove himself a reliable receiver out of the backfield, Mayock projects Sankey as a second-round pick in May’s draft.
“He’s a great combination of make-you-miss and north-south runner. … I really like his upside,” Mayock said.
In addition to his UW-record 1,870 yards rushing and 20 rushing touchdowns last season, Sankey had 28 catches for 304 yards and one touchdown in 2013.
Mayock said he’s also interested to see USC receiver Marqise Lee and former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla.
Mayock’s voice rose when he first mentioned UW’s record-setting tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
“Oh … my … goodness does he have a great throwing radius,” Mayock said. “But is going to run in the 4.7 range or not?”
Mayock has Seferian-Jenkins as his second-ranked tight end (behind North Carolina’s Eric Ebron) and a first-round pick. ASJ, he said, could be a fit for the New England Patriots with the 29th overall pick — though he thinks Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro is a better fit there — and added that ASJ “would make some sense to me” for the Baltimore Ravens with the 16th overall pick.
“Seferian-Jenkins could play in any scheme,” Mayock said. “You can line him up inline. He should be a better blocker than he is given his size. He’s athletic enough to block and tough enough to block, (but) at Washington they split him out so often I don’t think he developed as much as a blocker.”
Mayock sees Oregon state DE Scott Crichton, a Tacoma native, as a good fit for Denver with the 31st pick. Mayock called Crichton a “poor man’s Chris Long.”
Overall, Mayock said this is “the deepest and best draft class I’ve seen in probably 10 years,” which could bode well for the team with the final pick in the first round — your Super Bowl champion Seahawks.
“There are going to be a lot better choices, depending on the position you’re looking for, sitting at 32,” Mayock said. “Pete (Carroll) and John (Schneider) do a great job. They have a clear philosophy and they know that they’re looking for, and the two of them are joined at the hip.”
Mayock added that “there are more and more teams that are going to be using” Seattle’s blueprint for big defensive backs.