Quantcast
The Sports Daily > Eagles Eye Blog
M is for Mach 10 and Mayock…and Mathis in Philly?

Thanks to Evan Mathis, who’s soon to be a multimillionaire left guard in the NFL… I hope he’s landing in Philly, but he’s had so much fun playing Eagles fans like violins — and entertaining me— his story was just about the only Eagles angle worth covering during a quiet Pleasant Valley kind of weekend. [UPDATE — B.Quick broke the news at 4 P.M. EST March 17th— MATHIS SIGNS WITH EAGLES, 5 years, $25 million]

Whether Mathis stays or goes (HE STAYS!), Brizer’s MACH 10 Challenge becomes all the more relevant to building up the roster. It is apparent now that Andy and Howie will be seeking to fill more holes through the Draft than I had originally speculated—unless they go on a recruiting spree for second-tier free agents, which is still possible.

Looking for some inspiration to bolster your own Mach 10 entry?  Here’s Mike Mayock from a recent yet somewhat obscure interview buried deep in the pages of this network’s own Optimum Scouting.com

NFLN analyst and draft scouting guru Mike Mayock as he looked in 1980…I found this photo while researching Mayock’s playing days… He was a standout defensive back at Boston College. Pittsburgh nabbed him with 265th pick of the 1981 draft, but decided to release him very quickly. After a brief stay with the Toronto Argonauts, Mayock  signed with the New York Giants. He ended up playing two seasons with the Giants, the 1982 and ’83 season. This is where he became a part of the Bill Belichick defense, who was the defensive coordinator for Bill Parcells at that time.

All draftniks know the NFL Draft is not an exact science…everybody misses on players. But it’s the two or three picks where you get it right in the Brizer MACH 10 which will make an Eagles fan smile…and might be good enough for a “W”… On that note, writer Sam Alzahawi asked Mayock which of his own draft evaluations made him proudest in hindsight:

“Probably Philip Rivers. A lot of evaluators downgraded him because of the side-arm delivery. But I truly didn’t care about that. I saw a franchise quarterback. The same with Jay Cutler. He wasn’t as highly touted as his fellow first-round picks, Vince Young and Matt Leinart, but I believed he would be the better passer. That rocket arm of Cutler was just breathtaking.”

When Mayock grades talent, how much stock does he put into the intangibles as well as the measurables?

“Good point, it’s not just about measurables. Or else everyone could play fast. There’s a certain benchmark all players must pass, depending on the position they play. Then it comes down to the intangibles. Obviously the most important position in football is quarterback. If the QB passes that physical benchmark, then the most important evaluation comes down to what we can’t put into stats. Does he have a high football IQ? Does he truly love to play football? At the end of the day, that’s what’s going to decide if he can become succesful at his craft. How bad does he want it? That’s what counts.”

Mayock was asked if he would enlighten us with some 2012 Draft Class insight— maybe point us toward players who might be a bit under the radar, but which really impressed him… And what players impressed him the most, especially at the Senior Bowl?

“That South defensive line was downright impressive. There’s a tremendous amount of talent available at those positions in this draft. I really liked Melvin Ingram and Courtney Upshaw, who don’t exactly fit the prototype, but can flat out play. They’re both tweeners. Ingram might be too short to play his collegiate position of defensive end, but I think he could be a great fit at outside linebacker…a bit like James Harrison and Lamar Woodley, who excel at that position. When a player doesn’t fit in the benchmark, teams have to become creative in ways they use them. Their success will rely mostly on schemes. There is nothing more important in football than scheme. But those kids can play. Another kid I really like is Dwight Bentley, the small school kid from Louisiana-Lafayette. He’s quick, extremely confident and he’s a competitor. I have instant respect for players like that.”

Looking for a late-pick running back in your Eagles Mach 10?

“History has taught us that there can be quality found in the later rounds. Running backs drafted in the 3rd or 4th round have seen major success in the NFL. First thing to determine when picking a back, is what role you want him to play on your team. Are you looking for a 3rd down back? A change of pace back? Or are you looking for an every down back? Those every down back’s are rare. The NFL is a passing league so the most important part for those players is being able to pass protect. Not just the blocking ability, but also being able to read blitzes. And we’re obviously looking for great feet, good speed and toughness.”

Thinking of drafting a wide receiver?

“The most important skill is separation. You have to get open, and that’s easier said than done with these great defensive backs. And of course the hands come in play. Can you catch every thing thrown at you? But let’s not forget scheme in this. Teams running a West-coast offense are looking for bigger receivers with great hands. In other systems you’re looking for smaller and quicker receivers who can make something happen after the catch.”

Many Eagles fans are looking for a Safety in their Mach 10…

“Teams are looking for new age cornerbacks and safeties. Players who can cover these receivers, who are seemingly getting bigger and faster by the day. You’re looking for speed and great instincts. You have to factor in college production. But the most important part is instincts. Being able to read and react. To understand the situation and know what to do. Again, preperation is key. “

And, of course, a linebacker or three…

“We’re looking for size, speed and instincts. You have to be a smart football player. The best tandem in the NFL last year was Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman, the San Fransisco middle linebackers. And Bowman might have been even better than Willis last season. Just great football players who are prepared for everything that gets thrown at them. Even the kitchen sink. But no skill is most important for linebackers than toughness. The willingness to take on blockers, and to run straight through ball carriers. That’s why a kid like Zach Brown is heavily scrutinized in this draft. He will probably run faster than almost any linebacker in the draft, but the biggest question is his toughness. On tape you see him run around blocks a lot. At some point you have to disengage and be physical. He needs to prove that he can.”

That’s about all the clues we’re going to get from Mike Mayock in this session. And thanks to the man who provided the interview clips, Sam Alzahawi. Sam is a writer for “USA Sports” in the Netherlands. A former professional football player himself, he now covers all of the NFL and College Football for the “USA Sports” publication. You can follow him on Twitter @SamAlzahawi.

MARCH 18, 2012 UPDATE: Sunday afternoon: more overnight transactions…
—In addition to the signing by the Eagles of G Evan Mathis, here’s what else went down:
-San Francisco signed WR Mario MAnningham (Giants) to a 2-year deal, terms undisclosed…
-Washington re-sgned QB Rex Grossman (1-year, terms to be revealed)–Rex is expected to accept backup role…
-Kansas City signed OT Eric Winston (Texans) to a 4-year contract for $22 million…-Detroit re-signed OT Jeff Backus for 2 years, $10 million…
-Kansas City signed QB Brady Quinn (Broncos), terms to be disclosed…
-Bengals signed CB Jason Allen (Texans) to a 2-year contract  at $8.2 million…
-Detroit re-signed QB Shaun Hill to a 2-year contract, terms undisclosed…
-New England signed DE/OLB Trevor Scott (Raiders) to a 1-year deal, terms undisclosed…
-Arizona exercised QB Kevin Kolb’s roster bonus option at $7 million, so Kolb remains a Cardinal…
-New England signed WR Anthony Gonzalez (Colts) to a 1-year deal, terms undisclosed…
-San Diego re-signed TE Randy McMichael to a 2-year deal, terms undisclosed…