Mel Kiper: Seahawks prefer Mallett over Locker?

January 19th, 2011 | Written by Rob Staton

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper published his first mock draft today with the Seahawks taking Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett with the 25th overall pick.

The interesting angle is – Jake Locker (QB, Washington) is still on the board.

It gets even more interesting when Kiper states:

“It’ll be asked, but my sources tell me the Seahawks prefer him to Washington’s Jake Locker — at least right now.”

You’ll have to be an ESPN insider to read the entire mock, but you can see more of what Kiper had to say by visiting Mike Sando’s NFC West Blog.

As we’ve discussed on this blog many times – Mallett wasn’t the ideal fit for the Jeremy Bates offense. Despite having the arm strength to thrive in the vertical passing game, Mallett does not do a good enough job on bootlegs and throwing on the run. His inability to set his feet and control his passes led to key interceptions against Alabama and Ohio State (Sugar Bowl) and turned what could’ve been a key-note season for Mallett and Arkansas into a year of what could’ve been.

Having said that – no quarterback in the 2011 class is capable of reading an offense like Mallett. His precise ability to go through reads and go to a third or fourth option stands out over Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker. You could argue he was even ahead of Andrew Luck in that sense.

The arm is a huge bonus and Mallett’s size and release – while sometimes having a slight wind-up motion – are big positives.

Of course at this stage information from teams can be deceptive. Pete Carroll has spoken glowingly of Locker in the past and he was the ideal fit for the Bates system. Now Bates has gone – do things change? Does Mallett become a more realistic proposition?

In Carroll’s end of season press conference today┬áhe cited the offensive scheme wouldn’t change going forward and again re-iterated the team’s desire to stick with the zone blocking scheme and have a mobile quarterback to enhance the run and utilise play action.

Would the Seahawks like either prospect enough to spend the #25 pick? The risk and cost is minimal at that stage to try and find a franchise prospect. If either busted it wouldn’t cripple the team.

Tim Tebow was drafted 25th overall by the Broncos last April and signed a deal worth $11.25m with $8.7m guaranteed. In comparison – Seattle signed Lawrence Jackson (drafted 28th overall) to a $11.25m deal with $6.1m in guarantees in 2008. The team was able to succesfully trade him two years later.

Taking a gamble on a quarterback at #25 won’t hurt the team as much as taking one in the top ten should the pick not work out. This could potentially lend favor to a guy like Mallett who has raised some character and work ethic concerns, but who also has a large amount of physical talent.

28 Responses to “Mel Kiper: Seahawks prefer Mallett over Locker?”

  1. Matt says:

    I gotta say that I am really anti-Mallett. The physical tools are great, but his height and attitude concern me. The attitude and leadership are huge red flags to me. Might be cliche, but the 10 other guys on offense got to be willing to sacrifice themselves for their QB. I just can’t see veteran players respecting Mallett.

    Despite my hometown bias, I would truly be shocked if we drafted Mallett over Locker.

    • plyka says:

      A lot of times these character concerns can be overblown. How do we know? Sometimes the media can take a mole hill and create a mountain. According to popular opinion, is there anyone with more character problems than mike vick? Lazy, entitled, dog killer, etc. Now he is the most productive qb in the league, and were it not for a downright dominant packers team, vick would have perhaps taken the eagles to the superbowl. What about in basketball? 5 years ago was there a more hated player than kobe bryant? Selfish, arrogant “possible rapist.” Now 3 nba finals, 2 nba championships making 5 in total, he is their hero once again. Maybe mallet is a bad guy, but I don’t think we can take the media’s word tor it. The front office will do its due diligence and they will have far more info than us to make a judgement. The great thing is that Mel thinks two of the top 4 QBs will be available at 25.

      • Matt says:

        I don’t like his on field demeanor. Bad body language. Every time he was hit, I never saw an O lineman pick him up.

        And basketball is just a crap team sport. Basketball is about 1 or 2 guys and a bunch of tagalongs. Football, leadership and team is a must.

      • Meat says:

        I am on the fence w/ Mallet-he has upside-like height and strenght and I think the mechanics and attitude, how much of one there is, gets developed and w/ some maturity. I Like the idea of a couple of the top QB’s area avail at 25 this year. I would take one of the top 4 at that pick-unless the guaranteed talent from a corner is avail-which it won’t be, not the pick i like. I have seen Locker all OVER the map on draft blogs, ESPN, etc.. He is top 10 and then some he is in the 2nd round. Locker and Mallet have proven that they are willing and teachable. Lockers less than steller year hurt his stock with some-but the hype train is comming like it has for Newton-who seems to have more questions than answers/provens. People forget though, attitude can change w/ mentoring and a healthy environment, and getting older-maturity.

    • Chris says:

      I think if he has maturity issues then sitting behind Hasselbeck for a year could help with that. He has all the tools to be a very good QB. Plus the fact that he has produced well in a big time college conference is also a good sign.

  2. T-Town says:

    Interesting.

    I wonder who his sources are and how close to Carrol they get.

    I honestly dont know what to believe about Mallet. There is a lot of unsubstantiated rumors flying around about his work ethic. It makes it difficult to actually gauge his value. If these rumors are nothing but gossip than he could be a steal at 25. If they are true than I fear Mallet could be the second coming of Ryan Leaf.

    Either way like you said Rob as a #25 pick Lock or Mallet isnt going to make or break the Hawks future. I also trust Carrol and Co. a lot more to draft the right prospect than Ruskell.

  3. charlie says:

    Seahawks are trying to sign brandon browner out of the cfl, 6-3 205 shutdown corner over there… we’ll see if that translates to the nfl

  4. Ryan in Yakima says:

    I’ve gotta say that there would be public revolt in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest if the Seahawks passed on Locker. Locker seems to be a good balance between hometown kid and NFL talent. Let’s keep him close to home!

  5. Patrick says:

    I personally would LOVE either Mallett or Locker, although I think I’d prefer Mallett. I think it comes down to potential, and to me Mallett’s is through the roof. The cannon arm, the improved accuracy, the height? Come on! I’m also not as concerned about his “character concerns.” I’m sure Pete will do his research and I there’s an issue, I doubt he’d take a chance. Sign Hasslbeck, draft Mallett, and then have Cable run wild with Lynch and Forsett. I like it… A lot!

    • Meat says:

      Well, need someone to move the o’line for Lynch and Forsett to have 50-100 yards per game. Carrol wants the run and obvoisly with the coaching changes it seems there will be changes to make sure gaps and lanes get open. I hate to see a good run not in every game.

  6. Nano says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if anything more surfaces–substantiated, I mean–about Mallett’s character. I haven’t really heard anything concrete. He sure did improve immensely in 2010 for a guy with a questionable work ethic. His improvements were exactly the types that silenced his critics (largely accuracy). If nothing else, it shows he’s aware of criticism and able to handle the pressure of needing to improve.

    Maybe there’s something to all of this. Maybe he butted heads with someone on the Arkansas staff. Maybe he’s just kind of a prick. Plenty of QB’s–great QB’s as well as busts–have been prickish. I think it can kind of come with the territory of being good at the most important position on the football field.

    • Rob says:

      We might get more concrete info on Mallett by the time the combine is here. There could be valid issues or it could just be a lot of supposition based on the fact he doesn’t come accross all that well. His body language isn’t always positive and he can be petulant. He isn’t the sharpest tool in the box when interviewed – certainly not at the level of a Luck or Gabbert. Perception can lead to a lot of negativity. But it doesn’t necessarily mean a guy can’t perform. If you believe reports not many people like Jay Cutler in Chicacgo’s locker room – but they’re not thinking about that this week… they’re thinking about the chance of making the Super Bowl.

      It may be that you need to surround Mallett around experienced veterans initially. It might not be a bad thing for Mallett to see Hasselbeck and Whitehurst at work – two guys who come accross as consumate pro’s. Even so, sometimes you just see QB’s fit and sometimes you don’t. It’s hard to picture Mallett working under Carroll at Seattle. You could see him in Tennessee, Jacksonville or Miami. With the Seahawks? I’m not sure. For some reason it doesn’t seem right.

      • Nano says:

        Good points Rob. It is kind of hard to picture Mallett in Seattle. But for me personally, it might be part of the Ruskell hangover. I don’t know. He definitely is a guy you’d want to put in a good locker room with competitive leader-types. Then again, that seems to be the environment Carroll is trying to create.

        I get the body language thing. And he’s not the most articulate guy around. No doubt there. He probably won’t ever be the cool, funny guy you want to grab a few beers with. Your Cutler comparison is a good one. Here’s a Fox Sports story (pretty fluffy, but best I could find) that tries to paint a more affable picture of Mallett.

        http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/Ryan-Mallett-pleasant-surprise-for-Arkansas-football-teammates-091710

    • Meat says:

      I rembember watching something on ESPN, or whatever early in the season about Mallet and ARK-Coach mentioning Mallet’s character-hot headed type of behavior, and that Mallet and the staff worked with him this. The staff made comments how much he changed just from the prior season. Now, this is from memory MONTHS ago now. But, it was obvious his attitude/behavior on/off field was a concern and it had been-was being addressed, and mentioned a change-how much truth to that is uknown. I think we only get a small sense of how things really are regarding things like ths.

  7. Rob says:

    I’ve updated the article to include financial benefits to drafting a quarterback at #25 and how it could improve the chances of a guy like Mallett being taken.

    Check it out.

  8. TJ says:

    I would be OK with either QB at #25. This is the perfect time to find Hasselbeck’s eventual replacement. Draft the QB, let him sit and learn for 1-2 years, and bring him in when he is ready.

    If I remember correctly, after UW beat Carroll’s USC last year, Carroll commented that he thought that Locker was the best Pac 10 QB he had seen during his time at USC, and that was before he took the Seahawks job. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing.

  9. Ralphy says:

    I know he’s risky but when I watch video of him it blows me away. I think he looks far better than any of the QBs in the draft. Sure there’s a chance he ends up like Ryan Leaf but I would be pretty excited to have him with pick 25.

    • plyka says:

      Mallet? I think you’re right. I mean, if there were zero character concerns wouldn’t he be the first qb off the board? It’s probably smart to use all this stuff to the hawks advantage and get someone who you would otherwise have no shot at. I remember all the concerns regarding leggarate blount which pushed this kid from 2nd or 3rd round to undrafted free agent, Tampa picked this kid up for free and he gained over 1000 yards this year as a rookie. He was the leading rookie RB in yards, beating out three first round RBs, spiller, best and Matthews despite not even playing meaningful snaps in the first 6-7 games of the season. And remember blount was suspended for his entire senior year.

      • charlie says:

        id rather have locker than mallet, just cause im a biased hometown guy haha but even dan marino had a mysterious “drug concerns” and dropped, so who knows if its legit or not

  10. Ed says:

    I think they will both be gone before hawks pick. Locker is going kill in the interview process at the senior bowl and combine. His stock will skyrocket in the next few months.

    This mock doesn’t address qb needs in tenn/minn/sf/miami/jax. I can see any two of those teams taking a qb as well.

    If both qb’s fall, I’m with the majority of people here, Locker fits the bill much better than Mallet. Big, strong, mobile, athletic, hard worker. Needs to work on reading defenses and accuracy, but if we keep Hass for a year, look out.

    Like the Bates firing and Cable hiring. We need our oline to be nasty and hiring Cable is the first step to that. Now get a fa (Gallery) or two and draft another tackle (ijalana) and we can stay ontop of the nfc west.

  11. Jay says:

    I’ve read on a forum that stated he sold drugs and did marijuana. But it’s only on a forum so stuff should be taken with a grain of salt. But it make sense with the fact that some would not touch Mallett with a ten foot pole if true.

    • Blake says:

      I guess selling drugs would be a dealbreaker but Harvin tested positive for marijuana at the combine at ended up higher than most had graded him. On the other hand, so did Anthony McCoy and he fell 3 rounds. If that’s all it is then I’m super disappointed. Walter Cherepinsky has said things like “He’ll have a tough time paying attention to film” and “the info will ruin his stock.” With the scout that told Rob he wouldn’t touch him with a 10 foot pole, it has to be more than God’s green gift to Earth.

      • Rob says:

        Someone sent me this today: http://www.sportshoopla.com/forums/sports-forum-general-discussion/1382-why-ryan-mallett-such-moron.html

        Complete forum speculation and I’d advise people not to discuss it on the blog at all. There’s no harm however in posting a link to another forum – but it’s there for people to visit if they wish. I want to stress again though – do not relate to the content provided in that link.

        • Alex says:

          I won’t say anything specific about the content, but if those are true…, yeah, I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole either.

          Character issues aside, I do prefer Locker over Mallet if both are on the board because of fit for the offense. It’s like we’re running the air coryell offense. We’re running a modified WCO with lots of bootleg and play action with mobility/running ability emphasized. If Locker had 2 years to learn under Hasselbeck, it would definitely be worth it.

          Alex