Mike Mayock talks NFL Draft and Chicago Bears

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday the NFL Network's lead draft analyst Mike Mayock held a conference call touching on a variety of draft related topics. We'll bring you the tidbits that are relevant to the Chicago Bears.

The NFL Draft is at times a crap-shoot. You know it, I know it, the NFL analysts know it, the mock drafters know it. All it takes is for one team to think outside the "norm", and all of the sudden the draft starts falling in a weird way.

Who predicted that Sharrif Floyd would fall to 23 last year's draft? Did anyone have Justin Pugh or Kyle Long in the top 20 last year? A year ago Manti Te'o and Geno Smith fell to the second round after being mocked in the first the entire off season.

Bruce Irvin went 15th overall in 2012. Christian Ponder went 12th in 2011. In 2010 Tim Tebow went in the 1st round. Darius Hayward-Bey went 7th overall in 2009. These are just a few recent shockers, but there are many, many more.

We, as fans, can be so sure a certain player will be gone before our team drafts, but you never know.

Many of the recent comments on Windy City Gridiron have shifted their thinking into believing that Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, whom many are still mocking to the Chicago Bears at 14th overall, will be unavailable when Phil Emery is on the clock.

I think he's a top 10 talent, but I also don't see defensive tackle as the primary need for the teams drafting in front of the Bears. I can see Donald being off the board to a team drafting for value or to a team trading up, but I can also see him available at 14.

In Mike Mayock's recent conference call, he was asked about Donald being mocked to the Bears so often, and if he believes he'll end up with the Bears.

I have eight or ten favorite players every year, he's one of them this year for me. I'm a little worried about it just because sometimes guys slide a little bit because they're not a fit for particular teams, not because they're not really good football players.

He did everything you could do to become a top 10 or 15 pick. Great college career. Tremendous Senior Bowl week where he dominated, ran like crazy at the combine. He did everything. He should be a top half of the first round, and I hope he is. 14 Chicago, 16 Dallas. You would hope somewhere right in there.

I don't think he's going much higher. There are some concerns. I don't buy into it. There are teams who say he's too short, too small. If he doesn't win immediately with quickness, he's done.

He's too good a football player, too good a kid, but it has to be the right fit. It should be somewhere in the middle of that first round.

The Bears would be the right fit for Donald, but another team that has an apparent need at DT is the New York Giants. Here's what Mayock had to say about the Giants' options at 12.

I think the logical three candidates for them are either Zack Martin, Eric Ebron or the wide receiver Evans. I'm not sure how this draft is going to fall. I know that you can take Zack Martin. Of course, they signed Charles Brown and John Jerry. But Martin could play guard, he could play center, he could play tackle. If he's there, and I don't think he's going to be, will the wideout Evans be there, I think there's a good chance he won't be. I look at it and go where Eric Ebron goes. I think that would be a great pick. They need somebody in today's world, I don't care if it's wideout or tight end, I just want an offensive weapon, and that's what he is.

Interesting that he doesn't even mention Donald as an option when many of our readers believe the Giants are the biggest threat to pluck Donald from Chicago's grasp.

Mayock addressed the safety class as well when asked about its depth and who could be available for the Philadelphia Eagles at 22. Since the Bears are also in the market for a safety, we'll share his answer.

Well, I think Clinton-Dix will definitely be off the board. Pryor may or may not. I'm not sure Pryor fits what they do.

From my perspective, they're looking for a guy that can play strong or free safety, has to have both those skill sets. Jimmie Ward could do that. Lamarcus Joyner from Florida State, both of whom are going to go in the second round. In the third round, the only safety I have is Terrence Brooks from Florida State. After that there's a bunch of guys, Brock Vereen that can play corner or safety. Dontae Johnson from North Carolina State can play corner or safety. Those guys would be appealing to the Eagles.

The Bears could use a combo type safety as well, so any of those guys he mentioned could be in play for Emery.

One safety that has been getting a lot of love on WCG lately is Deone Bucannon of Washington State, and here's Mayock's take on him.

I love him, but he's a little bit more of a box safety than he is a free safety. He's a really good football player that's going to go in the second round.

The Bears pick 51st in the second round and depending on that 1st round pick, Bucannon seems like an Emery guy.

Another player that the Bears have shown interest in is Virginia Tech corner Kyle Fuller. He's probably a 1st round talent, and could very well be an option at 14 for the Bears.

Kyle Fuller is one of my favorite players in the whole draft. What's interesting about the corners is that most of the personnel guys have [Bradley] Roby and [Justin] Gilbert as their highest rated corners just because they have better movement skills.

Most of the coaches like Fuller and [Darqueze] Dennard because they're better football players today. You know what you're getting. Fuller is my number one corner, first-round corner. He has it in his DNA. He can play on, off, he can play man or zone. I think you have a first rounder in Fuller.

I think he thinks he's a first round corner.

At Phil Emery's press conference yesterday he mentioned his scouts were looking at corners for a possible position switch to safety. Mike Mayock was asked which corners could make the transition.

There's a bunch of guys that could play both this year. Marqueston Huff from Wyoming, potential third round corner or safety. Dontae Johnson from North Carolina State, potential corner or safety. Lamarcus Joyner. I have a second-round grade on him from Florida State.

Then some guys who could be fourth or fifth round, Antone Exum from Virginia Tech, Dez Southward from Minnesota. All those guys are intriguing as corners or safeties.

The Bears were at Wyoming's pro day to see Huff.

The Bears have interviewed small school offensive tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of McGill, and here's what Mayock thinks of him.

The Tardiff kid is intriguing. I saw him at the East-West game. He weighed 323 or 321. He lost 23 pounds for his pro day. His pro day numbers were outstanding. They collectively would put him in the top four or five tackles in the entire draft as far as measurables.

Obviously he's a raw with the Ph.D. background, lack of practice time, etc. He's gone from a priority free agent to a sixth or seventh round guy to be somebody I think is going to be a fourth or fifth round pick with a physical skill set to become a starter in the NFL. He's raw. He's going to have to redshirt a year. But I do think somebody is going to invest a fourth or fifth round pick to develop him.

This could be a good project for o-line coach Aaron Kromer, much like Jermon Bushrod was when the Saints drafted him out of tiny Towson college.

The Bears also met with OL prospect Gabe Ikard of Oklahoma at the combine.

Ikard is maybe not as physically gifted as some centers are, but he's smart, takes great angles, he is keeps his hands tight. He understands the game. I would kind of not worry about where he gets drafted as far as round and worry that he got someplace with an opportunity because he's a really good football player.

Center may not be as high a need for the Bears after signing Brian de la Puente, but as a late round prospect, Ikard would be a good pick up.

A few other quick nuggets from Mayock.

He believes there a chance the quarterbacks will slide. He calls this overall tight end class bad and the wide out class good.

He thinks the Seahawks would trade down from their 1st round pick, and that the 49ers are candidates to trade up.

What are your thoughts on Mayock's thoughts?

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