With the NFL Scouting Combine set to get under way Thursday in Indianapolis, Mayock participated in a national conference call with media members on Monday.
During the call, Mayock said this year’s class of prospects is one of the deepest in the last 10 years, but lacks the real difference makers of year’s past toward the top.
“I wouldn’t want a top 10 pick in this draft,” Mayock said. “The fifth pick and the 25th pick are very similar.”
That’s not the best of news for the Lions, who obviously hold the No. 5 overall pick.
“I think a lot of teams will look to move down, but I think there will be a whole lot of teams looking to come up,” Mayock said. “I think the most value in this draft is later.”
This year’s crop of quarterbacks is particularly weak, which hurts the top of the draft, but Mayock said there aren’t the
That’s not to say there aren’t some very good players, though.
When asked specifically about the Lions at No. 5, Mayock said Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones would be a great pick.
“Now that’s a good football player,” Mayock said of Jones. “Jarvis Jones is an impact player and an explosive player and is ready to play now as an outside linebacker in a 4-3. He’s a guy that makes a lot of sense for Detroit.”
Jones will have to check out medically after previously being diagnosed with Spinal Stenosis.
The Lions are in need of playmakers on defense, but Mayock said the best four players available in the draft, in his opinion, are offensive tackles Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M) and Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) and guards Chance Warmack (Alabama) and Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina).
He said those four players are the one’s he’d consider taking with the No. 1 overall pick if he was making the decisions for the Kansas City Chiefs, who hold the top pick.
One of those players could certainly be available for the Lions at No. 5, too.
The Lions are looking to upgrade their offensive line this offseason and have already began that process with the release of guard Stephen Peterman and the restructure of center
The guard position is typically not one that merits a top 10 pick, but Mayock isn’t alone in putting Warmack as one of the top-ranked players in the draft.
When it comes to the defensive end talent – which is a big need for the Lions -- Mayock isn’t as high on what’s considered the “top” talent by most analysts: Florida State’s Bjoern Werner and Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore.
"I have a little different opinion than what I'm hearing a lot of people have on these 4-3 defensive ends," Mayock said. "I'm not as high on these guys as some people are. For instance, I don't think Bjoern Werner or Damontre Moore are top 10 players. They might go in the top 10, but I don't see it that way.
"As you start dropping down later, what happens is Ziggy Ansah from BYU, he's got as much upside as anybody in this draft. I don't think he gets to 30.
“Sam Montgomery, the defensive end from LSU, is a guy that could be there. And (LSU teammate) Barkevious Mingo gets a lot more of the attention, but I kind of feel like Sam Montgomery brings it every snap more than Mingo does. He's not as quick, he's not as gifted, but he's very physical and tough."
Ansah is a prospect who particularly intrigues Mayock. Ansah is raw, having only been playing football since 2010, but he’s 6-foot-5, 274 pounds and could potentially run the 40-yard dash in the 4.5 range this week at the Combine.
He dominated the Senior Bowl game with two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.
Mayock said Ansah has the potential to be as significant a pass rusher in the NFL as the 49ers’ Aldon Smith, but doesn’t know when that might be.
“I’m willing to bet on the kid,” Mayock said.
“Defensively this is one of the best safety classes I’ve seen in years,” he said.
Mayock said there will be very good players available at the position in both the second and third rounds.