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Mike Mayock says RaShede Hageman, Jace Amaro potential first-round fits for Patriots 02.18.14 at 4:56 pm ET
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Mike Mayock likes RaShede Hageman as a possibility for the Patriots. (AP)

Mike Mayock likes RaShede Hageman as a possibility for the Patriots at No. 29. (AP)

In a marathon conference call with reporters on Tuesday, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock was asked about what sort of direction the Patriots might go in when it comes to this year’s draft, and the possibility New England addresses defensive line and tight end.

Mayock mentioned a few different names as possible first-round fits for the Patriots, who have their first overall selection at No. 29.

“Depending how you look at this thing and what type of defensive tackle you’re looking for, [Louis] Nix and [Timmy] Jernigan are probably gone,” Mayock said when talking about defensive tackles who could be available to New England. “Then (Dominique) Easley, the kid I really like from Florida, tore an ACL, a second ACL, so he’s not going to go (early). He’s one of those picks that the Patriots tend to get in like the third or fourth round for value — a first-round guy later on.

“I think (RaShede) Hageman from Minnesota is kind of the big question mark there,” he added. “If he’s still on the board — because he’s an explosive kid — he could play a couple different spots, and coach Belichick likes those versatile guys. He’s had some off-the-field questions attached to him, but he’s got a ton of ability and talent. So if Hageman was sitting there, I think he’d be really interesting.”

At tight end, he pointed to Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro as possible fits in Foxboro.

“(Eric Ebron) is going to be long gone [but] there’s a lot of different varying opinions on what you’re looking for,” he said. “Seferian-Jenkins, for lack of a better term, is built like (Rob) Gronkowski, whereas Amaro from Texas Tech is built more like (Aaron) Hernandez. So there are a lot of people that like Amaro and point to Hernandez as that, quote, kind of guy.

“Depending on what you’re looking for — and that’s probably the kind of guy they are looking for — if Amaro is sitting there and they like him, he’d be logical at 29, and I think the other guy would be Hageman. Outside of that, I think the other top guys would be gone.”

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Mike Mayock on Patriots offense: ‘With youth comes growing pains’ 09.11.13 at 12:59 pm ET
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Mike Mayock and Brad Nessler will call the Patriots-Jets game Thursday. (AP)

Mike Mayock (right) and Brad Nessler will call the Patriots-Jets game Thursday. (AP)

Mike Mayock agrees with Tom Brady.

This isn’t necessarily because Mayock is a smart guy — there are few football analysts who spend more time watching tape than Mayock, a former Boston College defensive back who played for Bill Belichick with the Giants and now works for the NFL Network. (He’ll be part of the broadcast team for Thursday’s Patriots-Jets game.)

But after watching the Patriots in the regular-season opener against the Bills last week, he echoes the opinion of the New England quarterback: when it comes to the Patriots offense — and the passing game in particular — it’s a work in progress.

“With youth comes growing pains,” Mayock said when asked to dissect the New England offense and how it operated against the Bills. “That’s just the way of the world in anything. I think what they are betting on is that over time, these guys are younger, quicker, faster, and will develop into better playmakers down the road. You might lose a little bit early — and by the way, I thought there were several disconnects between Brady and his young receivers in the game [Sunday]. And I think that’s something you’re going to have to live with for a little time.”

One player who caught his eye over the course of the preseason was rookie wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, who was targeted 14 times and had four catches against the Bills. Mayock said that Thompkins “has an ability to separate and get open,” but reiterated that it will take some time for Thompkins and the rest of the rookies to adjust to the pro game.

“Now, when [Rob] Gronkowski gets back, I think a lot of that gets better more quickly because he’ll draw so much coverage. But I think Thompkins has an ability to separate and get open. Dobson, who didn’t play, I think has big time ability in size,” Mayock said. “I think what you’re looking at, and the reason they did this is my guess, is that over time, they are going to get better. And Tom Brady is the kind of guy that can get them a win like yesterday when they had all they could handle and more, but they still got the win, and try to allow these guys time to develop.”

As for the rest of the receiving corps, Mayock praised Danny Amendola, but stopped sort of offering a full endorsement of the decision the Patriots made to go with him ahead of Wes Welker.

“I think that Amendola is a very similar a guy to Welker five years ago — he’s younger, fresh legs, etc., and both are very similar type of players. They both win very quickly,” Mayock said. “That’s what Tom Brady and Peyton Manning love about those kind of players, because when they bring heavy pressure, you trust that this guy is going to win quickly.

“Now the whole thing with Amendola is staying healthy; and [Sunday], watching the game, it looked like he had a groin problem but came back in and obviously made the key catches down the stretch,” he added. “I think when healthy, he’s very comparable to Welker and he’s younger than Welker, which is why I think they made the move. The only caveat I would give you on the kid is that he’s got to stay healthy with his history of injuries.”

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NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock offers his thoughts on Patriots 08.05.13 at 9:34 pm ET
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Mike Mayock

Mike Mayock

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock talked about the Patriots Monday afternoon on “Inside Training Camp Live.” Thanks to our pals at the NFL Network, here’s a transcript of his comments:

On the Patriots and Eagles practicing together before their preseason game: “The best football practices I’ve ever seen in my life at any level where I think two years ago [when] New Orleans went to New England. Same scenario and they practiced together for two or three days prior to the preseason game. I was there for both days, I watched tape in between practices and I have never seen more intense but clean practices in my life. [It’s] an opportunity for the quarterbacks to get in quality work against defenses [where it’s] a new scheme [and] new players without any kind of realistic injury threat. What that means in the preseason game [is] you don’t even have to play your ones because they’ve been going against another team’s ones all week. I’m really excited this week to watch Tom Brady against this Eagles defense, to see how the Eagles quarterbacks fare against that young Patriots defense. The way it works is individual and install the teams stay by themselves, but when they go 1-on-1, 7-on-7 and team, they compete against each other. It’s really awesome.”
Read the rest of this entry »

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Mike Mayock weighs in on potential Patriots and whether Lane Johnson is the next Nate Solder 02.24.13 at 9:44 pm ET
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Mike Mayock agrees that comparing Ziggy Ansah to Jason Pierre-Paul might be a stretch. (AP)

Mike Mayock agrees that comparing Ziggy Ansah to Jason Pierre-Paul might be a stretch. (AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — One of the most beneficial parts of the NFL scouting combine is being able to bounce stuff off Mike Mayock‘s head on the final day of media availability. Mayock, who of the big-name draft analysts is far and away the most accurate, provides a trustworthy perspective after extensive scouting of players.

Mayock’s press conference is usually among the most crowded on the final day, so while it’s hard to get a ton of questions in, we were able to get his thoughts on a few guys who have been linked to the Patriots.

On West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin, who ran a 4.34 40-yard dash and could be a fit in the slot for the Pats:

“You’ve heard me say a thousand times probably: Fast guys run fast, and it’s not a story. So I expected him to run fast. But what it does for him is that worst-case to me, he’s a second-round pick. Worst case. If you buy into him as a route runner and toughness, and if you can get him enough touches every game for him, he might be a first-round pick.

“The NFL has evolved into more and more of a college look — spread the field, get the football in the playmakers’ hands, and that’s what he is. He’s a playmaker, he’s a mismatch. I can only imagine being a nickel [back] or a safety and having to line up across from him in a slot knowing he runs a 4.35, knowing how quick he is. He’s really a difficult matchup and that’s what this league is. So I think all that time does is just endorses exactly what we thought of him on tape.”

On fellow West Virginia receiver Stedman Bailey, who had 25 touchdowns last year but doesn’t measure off the charts at 5-foot-10 with a 4.50 40 time:

“Stedman Bailey is really a good football player. There are questions about his size. How fast is he? He’s probably a 4.5 or whatever he is. What I see is an instinctive, smart receiver that catches [the ball]; he’s a natural hands-catcher, and because [Tavon] Austin and Geno Smith get all of the attention, he kind of fell into the background. But if you watch him in the red zone on tape and his understanding and knowledge of route running and defenses, he’s one of the more smarter and instinctive receivers in this draft. I’d be surprised if he gets out of the third round.”

On receiver Da’Rick Rogers, who transferred from Tennessee to Tennessee Tech after failing three drug tests in three years and also having coachability issues.

“He’s a gifted guy. I don’t think he ran as fast as he had hoped to today. You put his tape on against Oregon at Tennessee Tech, and you go, ‘Wow.’ He caught four or five balls early against a team way better than them and they double-teamed him the rest of the way. He has some drops on tape, he’s a gifted kid. The more important thing is how do you figure the kid out? He’s had some significant off the field question marks and that’s going to hurt his value.”

On former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu:

“I like him. He’s a better football player than he is an athlete. He’s short and he’s probably speed-deficient, which is not a good combination. But what I think he is is a hell of a football player. He’s a slot defender, a nickel-type guy with return skills. How he handles not the public meetings because I would expect him to say all of the right things, but how he handles things
privately with all of the teams and whether they buy into him or not are the most important issues.” Read the rest of this entry »

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NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: Xavier Rhodes and Terrance Williams could be possible fits in New England 02.19.13 at 12:56 am ET
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Xavier Rhodes could be available to the Patriots at No. 29. (AP)

Xavier Rhodes could be available to the Patriots at No. 29. (AP)

Mike Mayock of the NFL Network weighed in Monday afternoon with some thoughts on this year’s draft, and had some specific thoughts on what the Patriots — who have the No. 29 overall pick, as well as four other selections — might do this year.

“I think when you’re looking at the Patriots at 29, the defensive back thing, whether it’s a corner or safety, to me needs to continue to be worked on with New England,” he said. “There is also some unpredictability about their wide receiver position. Starting with Wes Welker and moving right through their depth chart, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, [Donte] Stallworth, all of those guys technically are unrestricted free agents.

“You’d like it to matchup with the need, obviously, and the needs would be wide receiver, d-backs, maybe another edge rusher,” he added. “I think Bill goes in with an open mind; ‘OK, who is going to fall to me at 29? And do I trade out if I don’t like what’s there?’ Which is always a possibility to trade down. Or can I get some value there?”

Mayock specifically mentioned Florida State defensive back Xavier Rhodes and Baylor wide receiver Terrance Williams as possible fits for New England at No. 29. Rhodes is a 6-foot-2 cornerback who had seven picks over the course of his college career. Meanwhile, the 6-foot-2 Williams finished the 2012 season with 97 catches for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“He’s a 215-pound corner from Florida State. He might now has mostly second-round grades as a corner or a safety, depending on what he runs,” Mayock said of Rhodes. “The wide receiver position we talked about earlier, who is going to be available at 29? The kid from Baylor, big, good looking, height, width, speed guy in Terrance Williams.

“I think when you start getting down to the late first round, it’s really hard projecting,” Mayock said. “It’s going to be value, hopefully a position of need. If not position of need, somebody slides through that’s a great football player, if not, we’ve got to trade.”

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Mayock: Addition of Jones and Hightower to Patriots’ defense ‘a huge win’ 05.04.12 at 8:36 am ET
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Mike Mayock of the NFL Network weighed in on the Patriots’ draft in the latest edition of “The Rich Eisen Podcast.” Saying that New England’s ability to get two starters for the front seven in Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower was a “huge win,” he was effusive in his praise of Bill Belichick and what he did to help the Patriots’ defense, particularly in the first round.

“I love those two moves and part of the reason is I love the two players they got. If I didn’t love them, I’d probably be killing [the Patriots]. Atypical of Bill Belichick, everybody assumes he’s moving down and out. If you look at that offense, it is obviously Super Bowl-ready; it carried them to one last year. That offense is ready to go; there’s not a whole lot more necessary even with the retirement of their left tackle. Defensively is what they had to augment and I went on the record before the draft in saying I thought that the defensive end from Syracuse, Chandler Jones, who was number nine on my board – three years from now he might be the best defensive end in football. I believe that strongly: he might be the best defensive player that comes out of this draft. I love that pick and the [Dont’a] Hightower thing was a no-brainer. You want to talk about somebody who is right up Bill Belichick’s alley it’s this kid. Anytime you can get two starters in your front seven on a defense that needs help, that’s a huge win.”

To check out more from the podcast, CLICK HERE.

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NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock says Pats will get Perry, Smith 04.25.12 at 3:50 pm ET
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With the first round of the draft now almost 24 hours away, NFL Network Mike Mayock has released his final mock draft, and he has the Patriots going after USC defensive end Nick Perry with the 27th overall pick and Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith at No. 31. For more on Perry, check our look at him as a “Potential Patriot” here. We’ve also got more on Smith here. For a complete look at how Mayock sees the first round breaking down, click HERE.

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