Updated mock draft: 14th December

December 14th, 2010 | Written by Rob Staton

I often talk about my desire to use mock drafts to experiment.

I’d say it’s a need to review everything that ‘could’ happen rather than an unrealistic prediction months before even the combine, let alone next April’s draft.

However, I’m using this week’s projection as a ‘where we are now’ type experience.

It’s the end of college football’s regular season and now we’re waiting for Bowl season to begin. Things will change as we get to the Senior Bowl, the combine and then individual work outs. As of today, this is how I see things panning out.

It’s the purest mock I’ve done so far – and maybe the most reckless. There’s more opinion and ‘hunch’ involved to justify picks, rather than a qualified, “what if?”.

I will archive this mock and keep it in the ‘Scouting Reports’ section of the blog. It’ll be interesting to see how things have changed by April.

A few thoughts and explanations:

- Ryan Mallett (QB, Arkansas) isn’t in the first round. I am a big fan of Mallett’s on field talent, but I remain unconvinced that he has the necessary mental aspects that teams want in an expensive young quarterback. It’s harder, in my opinion, to place Mallett with a team than it is Newton or Locker. Whilst there are teams in need of a quarterback (and Mallett has top-15 qualities) I would predict a fall as of today. I’m willing to be proven wrong.

- Jake Locker (QB, Washington) on the other hand remains in the top-15. Some people would (rightly) question this logic. Others might call it ‘bizarre’ or ‘plain wrong’. I would not grade Locker in the first round myself. His accuracy issues are a major concern. However, I do think some teams – rightly or wrongly – will see the physical qualities, the character and occasional flashes of brilliance and feel they can turn water into wine. I can see a situation where Locker drops (and badly). I can also see a situation where one team takes him as high as I have projected here. The Seahawks could easily be that team.

- Cameron Jordan (DE, California) and Tyron Smith (OT, USC) are two prospects on the rise. That is represented here – with both having the potential to crack the top ten during work outs. For both – it’s the promise of potential and the physical quality they bring to the team that will be attractive rather than any brilliance shown in college. Smith in particular is the hot tip right now to be the first tackle off the board – representing a year without any obvious top end OT prospects.

- Other prospects might fall, such as Prince Amukamara (CB, Nebraska) and Robert Quinn (DE, UNC). I’ve kept both high on the board here with Quinn at #6 and Amukamara at #11. Quinn might suffer after missing the entire year through suspension and I could see a drop into the teens. This is a best case scenario for him based on the assumption he will work out well at the combine. Amukamara also has to show well in Indianapolis after only a so-so year without any picks. He struggled against Justin Blackmon and whilst he hasn’t been challenged that much this year, that hasn’t stopped a guy like Patrick Peterson having an impact.

You can see the latest projection by clicking here or selecting ‘Mock Draft’ in the title bar.

18 Responses to “Updated mock draft: 14th December”

  1. Dave says:

    Good read as always. Don’t know If you’ve answered this in a previous post but what kind of character flaws are we talkin about with Mallet. Is it leadership, is he a troublemaker, work ethic etc. Is it possible some of the issues are down to maturity?

    • Rob says:

      It’s a level of maturity, work ethic and personality. There’s been much speculation about Mallett that we’ve reported and discussed here previously. That may be proven false when it comes to meetings at the combine and work outs. We’ll see. At this stage I think it’ll hurt Mallett and I have a hard time imagining him on a roster full of veterans commanding things as the starter.

      If it’s enough to scare off teams in the top 10-15, that’s Mallett’s problem. There aren’t many teams you could place with Locker in the late teens or 20′s. He’ll have admirers in round two perhaps – where the risk is considerably less. But those same teams won’t be willing to pay the top ten pick. We’ll see how it goes. Tennessee… Miami. Maybe they are potential landing spots in round one. He’s difficult to place though and that’s why I put him in round two.

  2. Cash says:

    As a Seahawks fan how would you feel about them picking Locker? Obviously he has problems with accuracy. Would you prefer them to take a shot on Mallet instead?

    • Rob says:

      I try not to get too emotionally involved in how I would feel about a pick, because it can weaken points I might want to make on the blog later. The Seahawks – in my opinion – need to draft a QB early as soon as possible. I don’t think they should draft any QB, but if they feel there’s a guy there they can build behind – I would support that move. If they think they can develop Locker into a starting NFL quarterback – I would support it completely. I’m not against the move and would understand why it could happen. At the same time, clearly Locker has problems with decision making an accuracy.

      I prefer Mallett’s game. The big arm, the way he disects a defense and makes predominantly solid reads. He’s clearly taken a big stride this year (that Locker hasn’t). He’s beaten very good teams and his stats are up accross the board. If he had Locker’s character and maturity I think he’d be a top five pick. He could still go early if he can convince teams he is maturing, that he understands everything he’ll need to do to be a great quarterback. But I’m not sure that will hapen. I wouldn’t recommend investing so much in a guy who won’t be the last guy out of the building, the one who leads by example. Talent won’t be enough at the next level.

      So both have their issues, both have positives and upside.

  3. Ralphy says:

    Great work Rob. This is the best mock you have done. It would be interesting to see some examples of guys that stayed an extra year and dropped in drafts from where they would have gone and what they did in the NFL. Is it a good time to buy on a guy like Locker or Clayborn who will be going much lower than they probably would have the year before or was the stock overvalued the previous year?

    • Rob says:

      Thanks Ralphy. I’ll study that and let you know.

      I’m not sure Locker or Clayborn would’ve gone earlier. After all – Locker received a 2nd round grade from the draft committee. He wouldn’t have gone first overall. He may have gone at #4 or #6, but he also may have lasted until #14 and Seattle – which is the same area I have him now. He also might have gone in the round the committee projected. Likewise with Clayborn – what grade did he actually get? Where would he have actually gone? It’s always easy to presume prospects would be better off.

  4. John_S says:

    Rob,

    Have you seen any tape on Dontay Moch from Nevada? I read that he was a DE who was 6-1 245lbs and ran a 4.25 40.

    His stats seem to indicate that he plays up to his speed.

    If you have seen him do you think he’s a viable LEO prospect?

    • Rob says:

      Hi John,

      I have Nevada vs Boise State tape saved to watch, but not on my own system. I’m hoping to get a chance to watch it soon and I’ll take a look at Moch. Two mid/late round prospects to keep an eye on who may be LEO candidates are Brooks Reed (Arizona) and Cliff Matthews (South Carolina).

  5. Mike says:

    Rob,

    Seems to me that the list of Seahawk needs is long and extensive. In my opinion they could use an upgrade at QB, OT, OG, WR, RB, DE, DT, and CB. With so many needs, seems to me that Carroll and Schneider may just try and take BPA. My fear in this draft is that that BPA won’t be a QB due to the amount of teams that could use an upgrade at that position. There are so many needs, but they all pale in comparison to the need for a QB. Without a good QB this team simply will not be competing for championships any time in the foreseeable future.

    Therefore, I would be in favor of the Hawks reaching a bit for a QB at 14 (or wherever they end up picking) rather than just taking the best talent available, i.e. taking a Locker or a Mallett or a Newton over a guy like Quinn or Jordan who might fall.

    Would love to know your thoughts on this issue, and any thoughts about how you might think Carroll and Schneider feel about the issue.

    Thanks for all your hard work.

    • Rob says:

      Hi Mike and thanks for the kind words,

      It’s an interesting proposition. If the Seahawks pick in that #13-#15 range then they’ll be out of range for some of the top prospects (Luck, Bowers, Green, Peterson). They’ll be in a slot where BPA at #15 won’t be that different from BPA at #21. I think the Seahawks will rate Locker highly and they are one of the candidates to take him early. He fits the scheme, there are ties there. I looked at the alternatives and asked to myself, “Ok – if they rate Locker, which prospect out there makes them pass?”

      I rate Paea highly. I rate Harris and Jimmy Smith. But if the Seahawks are willing to take Locker at all – do they pass for any of those guys? QB is a need, I expect they’ll rate Locker. It was a reach in terms of the grade I offered, but even if the Seahawks feel the same way it could still be the pick. I could see Minnesota feeling the same way, or Arizona.

      In terms of how PC and JS will feel, I think they will acknowledge they need to invest in a QB, but that there are also many needs. Based on stuff I heard from those in the know (I have a proven, quality source) the Seahawks settled some time before the draft on going with a safety and a tackle last year. I know they thought Berry would be there for some time at #6 and that Trent Williams would be there at #14. They changed that plan around, but kept their focus on the two positions. If Philly had traded up for Thomas, then they would’ve had to tweak their stance. They could’ve traded down considerably to take Nate Allen and stuck to that OT, FS focus. Even though the picks weren’t Berry & Williams, there was complete satisfaction that it ended up being Okung & Thomas.

      They may have a similar focus for this draft. It might be a determination to get a specific QB. They may have two QB’s in mind, with getting one guaranteed the focus at all costs. They might see another position as a greater focus. We’ll see how it plays out. I suspect that QB will be the focus early. PC doesn’t want QB to be the be all and end all of this team (he’s said that before – and it was never the case at USC). At the same time, they know they won’t be able to drift at the position.

  6. allen k says:

    Hey Rob,
    great mock as always. One of the key offseason decisions that will shape this draft in my opinion will be what the Eagles do at QB if they keep Vick and put Kolb on the trading block and a team like Seattle or the Cards acquire him then that team would be not looking to draft a QB. What are your opinions of Kolb? what were your opinions of him when he came out of college
    thanks for the great mocks and discussions

    • Rob says:

      I think Kolb is a little over rated. His reputation is enhanced by the fact he hasn’t played that much. When he has – he’s done just enough to preserve the reputation. Philly will not let Vick go – that is a given. If he signs a multi-year deal for big money as I suspect, then Kolb will be expendable. However, I suspect the price will scare off nearly everyone. I can’t see a team spending a first rounder and more on Kolb. A second rounder? Maybe. Is he an option for Seattle? I wouldn’t rule it out. He’s got good mobility for size and a decent arm. His accuracy wasn’t brilliant coming out of Houston – and he did come from a pass-happy offense. He’s benefitted playing with some decent weapons on an under rated offense. I don’t think he could necessarily come in and produce immediately on a rebuilding team. He’d be a good option for Arizona who have some good receivers and he’s mature, developed. For Seattle, there’s a precedent when they traded for Whitehurst. Would they spend big on a 27-year old starter at QB rather than draft a guy who will be 22 or 23? We’ll find out. The price might be too big for anyone on Kolb though, not just Seattle.

      • jianfu says:

        The Texans gave up two second-round picks for Matt Schaub, who at the time had 2 career starts and about 160 pass attempts under his belt. Kolb has more starts, more pass attempts, and better overall numbers than Schaub had. So you’re right: I think the price will be steep.

  7. Matt Q. says:

    Brandon Harris, remember this because he WILL be a star in the NFL, i think the seahawks should take him

  8. Cliff says:

    I think the Seahawks have a leg up in determining if Locker is the real deal. Ya any team interested will have scouts and can look at tape and determine his value but Pistol Pete and Steven Sark worked together at USC. Sark won’t BS Carroll about Locker.
    Also i remember last year JS and PC were interested in Kolb. Philly wanted both of our first rounders as they had traded McNabb and Kolb was their future. We went another route.. But if Kolb were to become available at a reasonable price i’d expect to see the Hawks at least make an offer.

  9. kevin mullen says:

    With a win over Nebraska, Locker will be a legit 1st rounder. If he has the same performance from earlier in the year against Nebraska, 2nd to 3rd round status.