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2017 NFL Combine: 'You're going to get a difference-maker'


JACKSONVILLE – You need talent, and you need production.

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock on Monday said those are keys when drafting in the top five, and he said those will be keys for the Jaguars at No. 4 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.

"The critical thing when you're sitting there at four – and take quarterback out of the equation – is you're going to get a difference-maker," Mayock said during a conference call advancing the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, which will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, Tuesday through Monday.

"As you stack your board, worst case is you're going to get the fourth guy on your board, so you better make sure you have it stacked for production. When you're sitting at four and you're evaluating need versus value, they need to meld together."

Mayock said that means the Jaguars could be considering any of a number of players who he considers possibly among the draft's best players. Among them:

Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, Louisiana State running back Leonard Fournette, Louisiana State safety Jamal Adams, Ohio State safety Malik Hooker, Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore and Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster.

"You have to grind all of those guys," Mayock said. "You have [Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Tom Coughlin sitting there with [General Manager] David Caldwell now, and you have to figure out, 'What does a Jaguar look like? Who's the toughest guy?''

Mayock added, "At the end of the day, you better get yourself a football player who you think is going to be a Pro Bowler, and I don't really care what position."

Mayock said he considered Garrett and Allen the top two players in the draft.

"If either of those guys got to four, you should throw a party," he said.

Other highlights from Monday's conference call:

*Mayock called the 2017 draft class "great" at the cornerback position. "I can get through four rounds of quality corners, and I've never been able to say that before," Mayock said. Mayock hasn't released a mock draft this offseason, but his top five corners as of February 14 were Sidney Jones of Washington, Lattimore, Marlon Humphrey of Alabama, Teez Tabor of Florida and Tre'Davious White of Louisiana State. …

*Mayock praised the overall quality of the defensive players in the draft, calling it "one of the best defensive drafts I've seen." …

*Mayock said both Hooker and Adams are rare talents at the safety position. "I think we're looking at a year where two safeties are Top 10 picks and maybe even Top 5," he said. "Today's NFL is a pass-first league and the safety position is changing. Safeties that can cover are at a premium and both of these kids can cover." …

*While most mock drafters and analysts project Garrett as the No. 1 overall prospect, Mayock said Allen from Alabama may merit consideration. "I think he's one of the two or three best players in this draft," Mayock said. "His tape is outstanding and it doesn't matter which tape you put in. … Inside and outside he's a special player."

*Mayock said he agreed with analysts who say the draft is weak at the offensive tackle position, calling it "a really bad offensive tackle class." …

*Mayock also said edge pass rusher is strong at the top of the draft and beyond. "Anybody looking for an edge in the first round is going to find them," he said. …

*With the consensus among most NFL types that this year is a comparatively weak quarterback draft, Mayock said he agreed with that, too. "I don't have a Top 10 grade on any quarterback in this draft," he said, adding that he doesn't believe any quarterback in the draft can start immediately. …

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