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NFL Network’s Mike Mayock dives deeper on Browns’ rookies

Posted Jun 12, 2014

Analyst digests Cleveland’s new players

Last weekend at Jim O’Neil’s youth football camp in Pennsylvania, we caught up with NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, who offers the following thoughts on the Cleveland Browns’ six picks in this year’s NFL Draft:

Justin Gilbert

  • Mayock says Gilbert was the most gifted cornerback in the draft.
  • “At some point this year, I think you’ll see Justin Gilbert outside and Buster Skrine inside,” said Mayock. “But I don’t think Skrine is going to give it up easily.”

Johnny Manziel

  • Mayock is fond of the way the Browns have handled their rookie quarterback since the draft.
  • “I love the fact that the Browns are kind of challenging [Manziel],” said Mayock. “I think things happen when you get challenged. You step up and play at a higher level. Teammates in the locker room respect that.”
  • The things that make Manziel special – using his legs, extending plays, his spontaneity – are talents the Browns should not coach out of him, according to Mayock.
  • Mayock wants Manziel to model his game after legendary San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young.
  • “Young didn’t become a complete quarterback until several years later when he learned to win in the pocket first, and then use his legs to extend plays when everything broke down,” said Mayock. “And I think that’s the challenge for Manziel is to try and learn to win from within the pocket.”

Joel Bitonio

  • The NFL Network analyst has been most impressed with Bitonio thus far, who has risen quickly up the depth chart.
  • “I think he’s a four position starter in the NFL,” said Mayock. “Maybe even five positions because he could probably play center.”
  • If Bitonio stays healthy, Mayock predicts he will start all 16 games and be hailed as one of the Browns’ top offensive linemen.

Terrance West

  • Mayock says coming from a small school at running back isn’t a big deal. “You either know what you’re doing, or you don’t.”
  • “What he’s going to have to learn is pass protection, catching the ball out of the backfield,” said Mayock.
  • West is the kind of guy that Pettine loves, a downhill, punishing runner.
  • San Francisco and Seattle rammed the football down opponents’ throats last season. Mayock thinks the Browns will tout a similar offense to the NFC West powerhouses.

Pierre Desir

  • “Desir is so raw,” said Mayock. “He’s gifted. He’s long. He’s the kind of corner that Jim O’Neil and Mike Pettine like.”
  • Mayock predicts it takes Desir some time to get adjusted to the NFL, but sees him making a name for himself on special teams, as early as this season.

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