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Fantasy Football Takeaways from Mike Mayock's Conference Call

By Jared Smola 5:34pm EDT 4/18/13
NFL Network's Mike Mayock held his annual pre-draft conference call on Thursday.  It's usually a media-only event.  But this year, NFL.com streamed the call live for us regular folks.

Mayock dished about the incoming rookie class for 2 hours, dropping all sorts of golden nuggets.  Here are a few of the highlights, plus our take on the fantasy football impact.

On USC QB Matt Barkley…
Coming back to USC for the 2012 season didn't really impact his draft stock … Barkley wasn't even considered a top 10 pick last offseason … "Guys will eventually settle into where they belong" … Expect Barkley to come off the board in the bottom-third of the 1st round to team that trades up.
Fantasy Spin:
Teams that might be looking to trade up for Barkley include the Bills, Jaguars, Browns, Raiders and Cardinals.  Most of those teams would give the USC product a good chance of starting right out of the gate.  It's difficult to imagine him becoming an immediate fantasy asset at such a deep position, though.  And Barkley's long-term upside is limited by mediocre arm strength and durability concerns.

On Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib…
Skill set not as good as Tennessee's Tyler Bray or North Carolina State's Mike Glennon … But great intangibles: Passion, intelligence, work ethic … Coaches really like Nassib … Compares to Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins … Very good, but not elite, arm … Not afraid to throw into tight windows … Can start in NFL if surrounded by the right kind of talent … Likely to go early in the 2nd round.
Fantasy Spin: Like Barkley, Nassib has a decent chance of starting right from day 1.  It's unlikely he'd be "surrounded by the right kind of talent," though.  Nassib isn't someone you'll want to rely on in 2013.  But we do like his combination of arm strength and accuracy.  He's worth stashing in keeper and dynasty leagues.

On Miami (Ohio) QB Zac Dysert…
"Hard one to figure out" … Makes some throws that "take your breath away" … Willing to take a hit to complete a pass … Plenty of arm strength … Inconsistent accuracy … Most teams have him as a 4th-round pick.
Fantasy Spin:
Dysert hails from the same college as Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.  And like Big Ben, he has good size at 6'3 and 231 pounds.  NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell has called Dysert an "intriguing" prospect.  His game needs refinement, though, and he'll need to adjust to the NFL game after running a spread offense at Miami.  Dysert is a project that won't be a factor in 2013 fantasy football leagues.

On Alabama RB Eddie Lacy…
Expect him to go between #20 and #32 overall … Like him as a 3-down back at the NFL level.
Fantasy Spin:
Lacy's draft stock has headed south lately.  A hamstring injury sidelined him for much of the pre-draft process.  He finally worked out for teams last week but wasn't in top shape and recorded a 4.6 40-time.  Lacy could go to the Rams at #22 or the Broncos at #28.  Or he could drop into the 2nd round to a team like Bengals, Cardinals or Jets.  Either way, though, we expect him to make a major fantasy impact in 2013.  No RB in the class brings a better combination of size, explosion and agility.

On Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell… "Too big and pretty" to get out of the 3rd round … Impressive height-weight-speed prospect.
Fantasy Spin:
Bell might even end up as a 2nd rounder.  He's a rocked-up 6'1, 230-pounder with nifty feet and surprising skills in the passing game.  He looks capable of contributing early on, although it'd likely be as part of a RB-by-committee.

On Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson…
"I gotta feeling Patterson is gonna slide a little bit"… Concerns about maturity and football IQ … Upside remains huge … Vikings might be staring at him at #23 or #25.
Fantasy Spin:
We've been hearing similar things about Patterson for a couple weeks now.  The size-speed combination is tantalizing.  Patterson goes 6'2 and 216 pounds with 4.4 speed.  He's electric in the open field.  But he has just 1 year of experience at the FBS level.  Patterson needs work on running routes and reading coverages.  The raw prospect is unlikely to make a major fantasy impact in 2013.  But he still carries plenty of upside in dynasty leagues.

On California WR Keenan Allen…
Like Patterson, Allen is likely to slide on draft day … Speed-deficient but tough … compares favorably to Anquan Boldin.
Fantasy Spin:
Not much has gone right for Allen this offseason.  He was sidelined by a knee injury for the Combine.  Then he ran a disappointing 4.7-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.  Most recently, Allen had to go for a medical re-check for the ankle that he had surgery on back in March of 2012.  Once considered the top WR prospect in the class, Allen might now end up as a 2nd-round pick.  He could be a steal there.  He's a physical 6'2, 206-pounder who runs good routes and possesses reliable hands.  If he's healthy, Allen should be one of the more impactful rookie WRs in 2013 fantasy leagues.

On Tennessee WR Justin Hunter…
"Another lightning rod" … 1st-round talent, and could very well come off the board in the 1st round … Height-weight-speed guy … Wasn't the same in 2012 after 2011's torn ACL … Drops the ball too much … Not physical enough over the middle.
Fantasy Spin: Opinions on Hunter seem to be all over the board.  Greg Cosell likes him better than teammate Cordarrelle Patterson.  Others are concerned about Hunter's hands and his wiry 6'4, 196-pound frame.  His catch radius is huge, though, and Hunter can definitely take the top off a defense.  We're intrigued to see where this guy lands.  He has the potential to become a big-time fantasy asset within the next few years.

On Texas WR Marquise Goodwin…
Slightly-built, speed guy … Minimal college production … Reminds of Mike Wallace … Potential return skills … As fast as anyone in the NFL … Won't get out of the 3rd round
Fantasy Spin: Goodwin became a social media darling when he ran an unofficial 4.25-second 40-yard dash at the Combine.  His official time was chalked up at 4.27 - still blazing.  Goodwin never topped 33 catches or 421 yards in his 4 seasons at Texas, though.  And he goes just 5'9 and 183 pounds.  The Wallace comparison is interesting, but Goodwin seems like a long shot to be a fantasy factor in 2013.  Longer term, he has a chance as a "space" player in the mold of Dexter McCluster.

On Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert…
"Eifert has clearly differentiated himself from the pack" … He's a little faster than Stanford's Zach Ertz and San Diego State's Gavin Escobar … Eifert is also the best blocker among those 3 ... Interest starts around 13 with Tampa Bay … Eifert doesn't get out of the 1st round.
Fantasy Spin:
Eifert is the consensus #1 TE in the draft class.  He's a pass-catcher first -- with a tasty combination of size and athleticism - but his blocking skills will help keep him on the field.  We'll see where he lands, but Eifert has the raw ability to be a major fantasy factor in 2013.  In dynasty leagues, he's already looking like a top 12 TE.

Other interesting tidbits from Mayock:


- The top 3 OTs (Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson) are all likely to be gone before the Cardinals' pick at #7
- #4 OT D.J. Fluker drafted by pick #11
- Doesn't believe a CB will go in the top 10 picks...Florida State's E.J. Manuel has more upside than any QB besides Geno Smith
- Patriots should target a vertical WR like Baylor's Terrance Williams or Marshall's Aaron Dobson
- Oklahoma QB Landry Jones' questionable decision-making has him as a 4th-round prospect
- College spread offenses have made QB evaluation much more "projection-based"

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