What we learned about former SEC players in Mike Mayock's NFL draft position rankings
NFL.com analyst Mike Mayock is one of the most respected voices in the business when it comes to evaluating talent for the NFL draft.
On Tuesday, Mayock released his 2017 NFL Draft position rankings, which featured plenty of familiar names for SEC fans.
With only a couple of weeks left before the combine, here are the four biggest things we took away from Mayock’s rankings:
1) Mayock is not sold on Leonard Fournette
LSU RB Leonard Fournette is considered by many to be the top running back in the 2017 NFL Draft and is expected to go early in the first round.
However, Mayock doesn’t have the former Tiger as his No. 1 back, instead putting Florida State RB Dalvin Cook in the top spot.
Fournette’s injury issues are certain to draw extra attention in the lead-up to the draft, but when he’s healthy, there aren’t many backs in football who can do what Fournette can do. He’ll need to have a strong combine performance to hold off Cook, though.
2) The NFL is going to get another massive influx of SEC defenders
Mayock ranked the top five players at interior defensive line, edge rusher, linebacker, cornerback and safety, and, unsurprisingly, the SEC had at least one player ranked at each position.
In addition to having the top three edge rushers, the conference also had three corners, two interior linemen, four linebackers and one safety ranked in the top five at their positions.
In a league that already features plenty of former SEC stars, more are certain to make names for themselves in 2017 and beyond.
3) Cam Robinson’s NFL position is in question
Though Alabama OL Cam Robinson played left tackle for the Crimson Tide for the entire 2016 season, Mayock has him listed as the No. 2 interior lineman in the draft, behind Forrest Lamp of Western Kentucky.
That seems to indicate that NFL teams are sure what to do with the Alabama star. But there’s good news for Robinson, as this month’s combine should provide him a great opportunity to show what he can do in front of scouts for every NFL team.
Heading into March, NFL squads should have a much better idea of where Robinson fits in with their roster and whether he should be a first-round pick or not.
4) Mayock is not impressed by Derek Barnett’s college accomplishments
Though Derek Barnett set the Tennessee career sack record with 33 in his three years with the Vols, he’s still not garnering a ton of first-round buzz.
Mayock has him as the No. 3 pass rusher in this year’s class, behind likely No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett of Texas A&M and Alabama OLB Tim Williams.
Barnett doesn’t have the speed off the edge that the other two have, but his college numbers speak for themselves and whichever team selects the former Tennessee star will be getting a talented pass rusher.