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Experts Weigh in on NFL Draft’s Hot Topics

Posted May 6, 2014

With the 2014 NFL Draft just days away, the good folks at 49ers.com bring to you notable analysis from esteemed football voices.

With the 2014 NFL Draft just days away, the good folks at 49ers.com bring to you some of the most notable analysis from esteemed football voices Mike Mayock, Jon Gruden, Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis.

Mayock, Jeremiah and Davis of NFL Media offered their unique takes on many of the hot topics leading up to the draft set to begin on Thursday.

Gruden, the former Super Bowl-winning coach and analyst of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”, shared his thoughts on the quarterbacks he met during his “Gruden QB Camp” series and also gave his opinions on other popular position groups.

Take a hard look at the most intriguing comments from the respected football voices and get ready for the upcoming draft.

1. What was said about the San Francisco 49ers?

Mayock on SF’s first-round options:
“They're going to trade up. I think they're either going to target a corner or a wideout. I don't expect to see them on the clock at (30), mostly because the corner and wideout board will be wiped out by then.

"If they're sitting at (30), and you're talking about (TCU cornerback Jason) Verrett on the board, I think he's by far the best value you can talk about at that point.”

Mayock on 49ers finding another elite pass rusher: Aldon Smith like? You're probably not going to find that.”

2. What will happen with the No. 1 overall draft pick?

Jeremiah on a QB going No. 1 overall: “You have this Seattle effect of them winning a Super Bowl with a third-round quarterback. You got San Francisco, most people would agree it's the second best team in the league, winning football games with a quarterback that wasn't selected in the first round… So I think there's the theory going around, ‘Let's build up our roster with as many talented players as we can and then we can insert the quarterback at that point in time.’”

Davis on a QB going No. 1 overall: “We'll see how it plays out, but there are just so many (quarterbacks) where you're really having a hard time separating them, but you know you can win with them if you build your team up around them.”

Gruden on Houston’s options: “You're dealing with more underclassmen than I can ever remember… It's a crapshoot. This is not a complete body of work to evaluate. You have to use your imagination, be able to see down the road a bit.”

Mayock on South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s potential: “There are times when he just kind of disappears… Sometimes he gets blocked and he stays blocked. What I'd like to see is a little bit more of an edge about him.”

3. What was said about top wide receiver prospects Sammy Watkins of Clemson and Mike Evans of Texas A&M?

Gruden on Watkins:
“He's a big, explosive man. He's able to run after the catch at Clemson. He can return kicks. I think what sets Sammy apart is his sincerity and passion for the game.”

Gruden on Evans: “He plays on the right every play. They don't switch sides (at Texas A&M). He doesn't go in motion. He's not in the slot. He's a big X receiver that is a prototype split end.

He's a threat to run it after the catch. When he wants to, he can be a dominant blocker.” 

4. What was said about the top quarterback prospects of '14?

Davis on this year’s QB class:
“We're not quite sure where they're going to go off of the board because of the rankings. A lot of times the rankings aren't quite as high as you would think with quarterbacks.”

Jeremiah on this year’s QB class:
“I don't have any of these guys in my top 10 players, but I think there's a lot of depth in the draft class, and I think we're getting more and more buzz building on this second-tier group as we get closer to the draft.”

Mayock on the quarterback depth in this year’s draft: “The average number of quarterbacks that go in the first three rounds over the last five years has been five. Yet, I have 10 with those kinds of grades.”

Gruden on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s “Johnny Football” persona:  “Manziel brings a lot of excitement and interest to your organization. Maybe some people don't want to be part of it. That will be up to them.”

Gruden on Manziel’s on-field play: “I don't have any concerns… I want Manziel.”

Mayock on Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater: “I don't feel an 'it' factor. I see a really good kid. But I don't know if he's ready to be the guy. Because of that, I think he's going to need at least a year to get used to that environment… I'd be surprised at this point if he goes in the first round.”

5. What was said about the teams in the NFC West?

Mayock on Seattle’s draft targets: “I don't think (Florida State wide receiver) Kelvin Benjamin will be there. I think he'll be off the board in the 20s. He's 6-foot-5, 230 (pounds). I think (wide receiver) Davante Adams from Fresno (State) is a possibility.”

Gruden on Arizona’s interests in drafting a quarterback: “Seems to me that Carson Palmer had one of the best years of his career. Arizona is on the cusp of closing in on a lot of people in this NFC… If one of these quarterbacks that Arizona likes were to slide to them, I could see them pulling the trigger certainly.”



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