NFL Media draft observer Mike Mayock drew some attention on Wednesday when he revealed that he now rates Marcus Mariota ahead of Jameis Winston on his list of the top quarterbacks available in the draft this year.
That runs counter to general consensus and the widespread belief that the Buccaneers will make Winston the first overall pick in the draft on April 30. It’s not the only change to Mayock’s rankings that differ from popular opinion.
Mayock also moved Randy Gregory up to No. 2 on his rankings of the best edge rushers in the class, behind only Dante Fowler of Florida and up from No. 4 in previous rankings. That comes despite Gregory’s admission of a failed drug test at the combine, which Mayock knows is likely to make him slide down draft boards that aren’t virtual. Mayock said he bumped Gregory up anyway because he’s still an “undeniable” Top-10 talent who will have something to prove after his expected tumble to late in the first round “or even into the second round.”
Even with that assessment, though, Mayock admits there’s a chance Gregory could wash out completely.
“I look at this kid as the ultimate boom or bust,” Mayock said. “Three years from now, he’s either going to be in the Pro Bowl or he’s going to be out of the league.”
The optimistic side of that outlook and the eternal desire for good pass rushers make it likely that someone will roll the dice on Gregory before the first round is out.