As the former head of NFL Network’s draft coverage, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock has had his position rankings of prospects in the public spotlight for years. Which players were among his biggest hits throughout the past decade?
1. Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee (2017)
Due to a lack of playing time in college, Kamara dropped to the third round and was selected by the Saints with the 67th overall pick. He has since become one of the best running backs in the NFL, and is a huge reason the Saints are the current number one seed in the NFC. Mayock had Kamara rated as his 27th overall player, and third running back behind only Christain McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette.
2. Justin Houston, LB, Georgia (2011)
While he led the SEC in sacks as a junior (10), the Chiefs star pass rusher wasn’t selected until the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft (70 overall). Mayock had him slated as the number five linebacker that year which would have placed him as an early-second round talent. The four-time Pro Bowler has recorded 78.5 sacks throughout his eight seasons in Kansas City.
3. Everson Griffen, DE, USC (2010)
The Vikings All-Pro defensive end finished his three-year career at USC with 18 sacks, but fell to the 100th overall pick in round four of the draft. Mayock believed he was the fourth best defensive end in the draft, which would have put him in the first round. Griffen has since emerged as one of the best players on the Vikings defense, and has recorded 66.5 sacks over his nine-year career.
4. Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse (2012)
Mayock’s ninth overall prospect and highest rated defensive end was the fourth at his position to be selected falling to the Patriots at 21 overall. He has since been to two Pro Bowls and has accumulated 77 sacks in just seven seasons. Jones is one of the best defensive lineman in football, and has easily outperformed the three defensive ends taken before him.
5. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo (2014)
As a four-year starter, Mack became the NCAA all-time leader in forced fumbles and was also tied for career tackles for loss. While he was widely viewed as a top-five prospect, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was the consensus best player in the draft and was seen as a generational talent.
Mayock was the lone analyst who disagreed placing Mack as his top player in the entire draft. Since then, Mack has been to five Pro Bowls and was the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He and defensive tackle Aaron Donald have established themselves as the best players from the 2014 draft, one that was loaded with talent.
6. George Kittle, TE, Iowa (2017)
After totaling only 604 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns over his last two seasons with the Hawkeyes, Kittle didn’t come off the board until the Niners drafted him with the 146th overall pick in the fifth round. Had Mayock been the Raiders general manager at the time, he likely would have been drafted much higher as he was Mayock’s 77th overall prospect. While it is still early in his career, this could be a huge hit for Mayock since Kittle just broke the all-time season receiving record for a tight end in just his second year.
7. Desmond King, CB, Iowa (2017)
Despite winning the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award as the best cornerback in college football, King fell to the 151st overall pick in the fifth round, and was one of the steals of the draft. He was named a 2018 All-Pro after finishing the season with a 90.1 Pro Football Focus grade, the second highest at his position.
King was Mayock’s fourth rated nickel back and his 74th overall prospect so he had King rated substantially higher than the rest of the NFL. backs in the league period, Mayock nailed this projection.
8. Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State (2017)
While he recorded 15 interceptions his final two years of college, Kazee wasn’t drafted until the fifth round (149th overall). After starting only one game as a rookie, Kazee emerged as a talented safety and led the NFL with 7 interceptions this past season. He was Mayock’s 89th overall prospect and has emerged as another diamond in the rough.
9. Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State (2016)
As the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, it may sound odd having Wentz labeled as a hit, but Mayock had been pounding the table for Wentz and believed he was the best player in the entire draft. Thus far, he arguably has been as he was an MVP candidate in 2017 in just his second season in the league. He is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
10. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama (2015)
Despite splitting time at Alabama with 2015 Heisman winner Derrick Henry, Yeldon shot up draft boards after the scouting combine and was selected by the Jaguars with the 36th overall pick in the second round. In hindsight, the Jaguars reached for him as he has only recorded over 500 rushing yards one season. Meanwhile, Mayock had Yeldon rated as his 55th overall player which would have been more reasonable than 36th overall.