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 he 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.