On the eve of the NFL Draft, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock published his highly anticipated final mock draft. On Thursday, he joined The Jim Rome Show and elaborated on some of his more intriguing predictions, like the Dallas Cowboys using the fourth overall pick on Ohio State running back, Ezekiel Elliott.
“I think if you’re going to take a tailback high up in the first round, you’re going to have to commit philosophically,” Mayock said. “And the nice part about a Dallas-Elliott marriage if it happens is Dallas is already committed. Two years ago DeMarco Murray had 449 touches. They’ve got an offensive line that’s in the prime. They know what they’re doing in the run game.”
In 2014 DeMarco Murray led the NFL in rushing, and Mayock thinks Elliott could be an even better back.
“I think Ezekiel Elliott’s ceiling is higher than DeMarco Murray. I think he is a better running back,” Mayock said. “And I think in addition to the run game he catches the football, and he’s the best pass protecting tailback in the draft. When you add it all up, I think he helps Tony Romo at age 36, and all of a sudden they look like the Dallas Cowboys of 2014 that were a 12-4 team.”
Mayock also talked about one of the more polarizing prospects in this year’s draft, Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche.
“He’s got two red flags, both significant,” Mayock said. “[At] Alabama he’s Superman, [at] Arkansas I can’t find him. He flashes in certain games, and then disappears for long periods of time. So there’s inconsistency on tape, and there are red flags off the field. Now, nobody denies his talent. He’s the most talented, pure defensive tackle in this draft.”
The former defensive back, says there are certain coaches who will take a shot on Nkemdiche.
“I played for one of them, Bill Parcells. In this particular group of coaches, I think Pete Carroll has always shown an affinity for that kind of kid,” Mayock said. “I also think that Rex Ryan likes that kind of kid. In my mock, I put him at 19. He should be, from a talent perspective, a Top 10 pick. I don’t believe he will be, but at some point in the first round, he’s going to go, and he’s going to go to a team that believes it can get the most out of him.”