ESPN’s NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr was a guest on ESPN Radio discussing the NFL draft when the subject of Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin came up.
Martin is just the fourth-best offensive lineman prospect in this year’s draft and the 13th-best prospect overall according to Kiper’s “Big Board,” and Kiper’s comments summed up perfectly just how deep this year’s draft is.
“[Martin] won’t go in the top ten, but probably should…He’s better than [offensive lineman] Eric Fisher who went no. 1 last year [to the Chiefs]. Fisher in this draft would be a mid-first-round pick.”
Part of that evaluation of Fisher and the Chiefs is circumstance as the Chiefs were stuck with a pick nobody really wanted and without needs at positions that may have provided some marginally better players.
But saying there are at least four players better than last year’s top pick at the offensive tackle position alone says a lot about the depth of this year’s draft.
The biggest reason for the extra depth this year is the number of underclassmen who entered the draft. A record 98 underclassmen declared for this year’s draft, a 34% increase over last year’s draft.
NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock is also impressed with the depth of this year’s draft believing that quality players will still be available in the third and fourth rounds.
“This is the deepest and best draft class I’ve even in probably ten years,” said Mayock during a recent interview. “That’s been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts I’ve talked to throughout the league. I had one GM tell me the other day that having a top 20 pick this year is very similar to having a Top ten pick last year.”
This combined with a number of marquee names at the top of the draft could lead to a lot trade activity on the first day of the draft as some teams target specific players and other teams look for addition picks for days two and three.
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