NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock conducted a conference call with a variety of media members and the 49ers posted the transcript of that call at their Goal Posts Blog. Mayock discussed a whole host of topics and addressed one 49ers specific question:
Q. The defensive coordinator with the Niners likes to bring a lot of pressure and bring in the three‑four, they don't have a great pass‑rushing outside linebacker. Can you talk about they're picking seven, the guys that would make sense?
MIKE MAYOCK: I think that Von Miller from Texas A&M is the prototype 3‑4 rush linebacker. He's got an amazing ability to not only have a great get off and quickness, but also to bend his body to twist and turn, flatten the corner to get to a quarterback.
He's a tiny bit undersized and you've got to get yourself comfortable with that. He's not as big as a DeMarcus Ware was when he came out but I think he's tough enough to overcome that.
If you're talking about in the first round at number 7 and you're looking for an edge rusher, I think Von Miller is the guy as far as the outside linebackers are concerned. I think there are a bunch of guys, as I mentioned before, that I think the defensive end in a 3-4, you could probably pick a real good one up early in the second round.
I think some people are going to look at Clayborn from Iowa as a conversion guy, a defensive end that could play outside linebacker. Didn't have a great senior year.
And outside of that, Da'Quan Bowers and Robert Quinn are two of the most gifted pass rushers in this draft. I think they're both fitted more for a four‑three than a three‑four.
It's not exactly directly about the 49ers pick, but it gives us some thoughts on a guy the 49ers might consider with the seventh overall pick. Mayock is highly respected and he provides an opinion here that is mostly positive, but he does acknowledge a small bit of the downside of Miller. It would have been nice to hear a bit more of the Miller weaknesses.
In looking through the transcript, Mayock had some interesting opinions. One opinion that stood was his discussion of QB Blaine Gabbert. While Gabbert is climbing into the top ten of a lot of mock drafts, a lot of folks here (including me) have been a bit skeptical:
Q. I don't think anybody's close to [Gabbert] now. But you like Gabbert, right? You like his size?
MIKE MAYOCK: I like Gabbert a lot. He can throw. He's a bigger kid than I think everybody thinks. I've got more homework to do with him especially football IQ wise and off the field. He had a couple of bad games. And I think it was a Nebraska tape, he was like 18 for 42 if I remember. I think it was just a bad game.
But if you put the tape on, you realize the kid didn't realize he had a second to throw the football. Nebraska's getting home with three and four defensive linemen. Didn't even have to blitz. They were killing him.
So you've got to take with a grain of salt some of the poor performances of Gabbert. And I've probably seen at least seven of his games purely on tape. He reminds me of the guys that have done well the last couple of years. He reminds me of Bradford. He reminds me of Matt Ryan.
If you look at the last three years, NFL teams have done a really good job with their first round quarterbacks. It's been like six hits in a row with no bust. Which probably means we're due for a couple of busts this year.
For the folks that aren't high on Gabbert, does Mayock's opinion cause you to re-think your opinion? He acknowledges the poor performances but seems to brush them off as something to not be too worried about. What do people think about that?
I'll post one final Q&A on a potential 49ers target, Patrick Peterson:
Q. Patrick Peterson, how do you rank him compared to Joe Haden of a year ago? And additionally, can he invade the top defensive linemen in this draft? Is he good enough to take at six?
MIKE MAYOCK: Patrick Peterson is potentially a top 10 pick, yeah. He's a big corner. Here's my take on Patrick Peterson is that whenever you see a corner of his size ‑‑ you're talking about plus or minus 220‑pound corner ‑‑ he's got a little bit of stiffness to him that the longer, bigger corners always do or usually do.
So he's most comfortable in press‑man. If you try to play him in off‑man, he's going to struggle a little bit. So I believe you need a team that's going to let him press, get up in‑your‑face, knock him out at the line of scrimmage and turn and run.
He's got a little stiffness to him, but ultimately he might be best served as a safety. I think he can play corner, but down the road a little bit, because he's a big, strong tough guy that can run, I think he might be an all pro safety.
Having said all that, it's a tough comparison with Joe Haden because Haden's a smaller, quicker guy with feet. They're different types of animals. So Patrick Peterson is certainly a guy that could be considered in the top 10. But I think it has to fit the type of team. Somebody that's going to let him get up, press, be physical at the line of scrimmage. That's where he'll be the best player he can be.
Is there anything else in Mayock's conference call that stands out to you? Particularly anything related to prospects you think could fit into the 49ers draft class?