Mike Mayock praised this year's crop of pass-catching prospects.
A day after releasing his top-5 rankings for each position, the NFL Network draft analyst further explained his analysis during a pre-combine conference call.
Mayock instantly had everyone's attention when he said 2014 was the "deepest draft" he's seen in the past 10 years.
"There's more quality at the top of this draft that I've seen in a long time," Mayock said.
The draft analyst raved about many position groups but none more than this year's wideouts.
"It's the best wide receiver class that I've seen in years," Mayock said.
In his recently released rankings, Mayock listed his top wideouts:
- Sammy Watkins, Clemson
- Marqise Lee, USC
- Mike Evans, Texas A&M
- Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
- Jarvis Landry, LSU
Mayock was particularly high on Lee for his downfield speed and versatility. The USC product can play both inside and outside as a receiver, plus he brings value as a kick returner.
Mayock noted that Evans and Benjamin are solid red-zone options and both can specialize in catching back-shoulder fade routes.
For 49ers fans it's important to note, Mayock said he would "sprint to the podium" to take Landry, a former LSU teammate of San Francisco's 2013 first-round draft pick, Eric Reid.
Here are some of the other key takeaways from Mayock's call:
-Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel reminds Mayock of a combination of Fran Tarkenton and Doug Flutie. "You're going to have to live with some of the negative plays in addition to the positive ones," Mayock said of Manziel, his No. 2-ranked quarterback.
-Mayock thinks Manziel will go somewhere in the top 10, perhaps top 5.
-Mayock believes Louisville signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater is "most NFL ready." -There is a large crop of athletic quarterbacks. Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas is the "wild card" in the bunch.
-Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack is a complete player. "I've yet to find a hole in his game." Mayock called Mack a top-10 prospect and noted that he dominated against Ohio State this season.
-Mayock believes three tackles and three quarterbacks will be selected in the top 10.
-Good cornerbacks will be available in rounds 3-4.
-TCU cornerback Jason Verrett is Mayock's favorite nickel cornerback. Only size (5-foot-9, 185 pounds) is keeping the TCU prospect from being a first-round pick. "He's quick-footed. He's tough."
-Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner might be better served playing at safety in the NFL.
-Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby had inconsistent game tape.
-Lastly, Mayock wondered if South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney would be motivated to have a long NFL career. Mayock raved about his talent, but questioned his hunger to be a great professional pass rusher.