Another week, another prospect at #25.
Regular visitors to the blog will know how I treat these mocks – they’re a means to represent possibilities rather than seriously project what is going to happen on April 28th. Even in March so much can change, especially if a new CBA can be agreed this week and free agency does take place before the draft. Of course, that remains an almighty ‘if’.
Part of the mystery at #25 is also down to the fact we’re still relatively green when it comes to this new Seahawks front office. Tim Ruskell became very predictable during draft season because he had such a refined and specific idea of the prospects he wanted to select. We’re not even close to understanding Pete Carroll and John Schneider in the same way.
I made a huge error in judgement trying to mock the Seahawks last time they owned the #25 pick in 2008. I projected Miami defensive lineman Calais Campbell to Seattle, thinking he was a bit of a rough diamond the Seahawks could nurture. In reality he was a poor choice. He fell from a possible top-15 position due to inconsistent effort/production and having never played up to his potential as a senior. Ruskell drafted a defensive end – Lawrence Jackson – who made the most of what he had and over achieved at USC. It all seems obvious now.
I wonder in my latest mock if I’m making the same mistake, albeit with less understanding of the Carroll/Schneider blue print. The pick at #25 this week is Ryan Mallett (QB, Arkansas).
We’ve talked a lot about Mallett on this blog but this is the first time I’ve had him going to Seattle in a mock. I’ve been more positive than most about his off season but please don’t mistake this for anything other than perspective. Every issue that has been raised about Mallett is legitimate – whether it’s the character concerns, the lack of mobility or the footwork that will need repairing at the next level.
My main desire for perspective was down to a slight feeling of injustice for the guy. Not enough attention has been paid to the positives, because Mallett did make significant improvements during 2010. He isn’t a lost cause and there’s definitely a talented football player in that 6-7 frame. Faultess? Absolutely not. A write off? No way.
John Schneider was one of just two GM’s present at the Arkansas pro-day to watch Mallett throw. Does it mean anything? Not necessarily. It could just be due diligence, he may even be concentrating on another Arkansas player. Equally you can’t write off his presence at the same time. Maybe there is interest there? He didn’t attend the Auburn event (or the Cam Newton show) which took place on the same day.
Neither Schneider or Carroll appeared to attempt too many smoke screens before last year’s draft. Carroll gave interviews at Sam Bradford’s pro-day and it was common knowledge that the pair went bowling with Russell Okung after a trip to Texas (Earl Thomas). Neither travelled to Jimmy Clausen’s pro-day, but Jeremy Bates and Jedd Fisch conducted a three-hour work out with the Notre Dame quarterback immediately after the event.
Maybe it’s worth considering how early Seattle picked (#6 & #14) and the fact they had two first round choices. They possibly didn’t feel the need to play any mind games, having an idea how the first few picks would fall and who would likely be available. That luxury doesn’t exist in the late first round. Again – this is all just supposition.
Really it’s impossible to take too much out of this either way, but I wanted to represent the possibility in this mock. So why do I think it could be a mistake on my behalf a la Calais Campbell in 2008?
Pete Carroll has preached an ‘all-in’ mentality and an incurable enthusiasm for ‘the programme’. Does Mallett fit into that and more specifically, does Carroll effectively make him the face of his latest NFL excursion? I am not convinced the Seahawks Head Coach is willing to tie his success or failure in the NFL to Ryan Mallett.
Secondly, this doesn’t appear to be a great scheme fit. Carroll spoke about having mobility at the quarterback position in his end of season press conference. The team traded for Charlie Whitehurst – a mobile quarterback. JP Losman is no slouch and Nate Davis has plus-athleticism. These are all guys this regime has added to the team at various stages.
Mallett has a big arm – something else seemingly courted – but he has a real mobility issue emphasised by a 5.37 forty yard dash which was actually slower than a shirtless Andre Smith. Indeed Mallett’s main problems as a pro-prospect come down to poor footwork and inability to deal with pressure.
I’m not even convinced how much this team wants to make the big splash on a quarterback in round one. It’s something we’re going to learn over the next few years. I’m not suggesting they’d rule it out completely – whether considering an Andrew Luck early on or another Aaron Rodgers who falls into the 20′s. They might, however, choose other ways of finding a productive quarterback.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe players like Kevin Kolb or Carson Palmer may be more tempting to Carroll. I don’t necessarily agree with such moves – I think Kolb is over rated and Palmer can’t be considered anything more than a stop-gap – but it would not surprise me at all if the Seahawks traded the #25 pick for either in preference of spending draft capital on Ryan Mallett. We’ll see what happens.
Either way I suspect the team will be pro-active in trying to secure the long term future at quarterback and even if the solution is an extension for Matt Hasselbeck, I think we’ll see some kind of addition during the off season either for competition or long term planning.
So I’m willing to admit this may be a poor selection at #25 but it’s also something I want to bring to the table. You can after all change an offensive game plan. It’s assumed Darrell Bevell will bring a more ‘west coast’ or Holmgren flavor to the offense, but I don’t agree with that. He’s worked much longer with Brad Childress and Andy Reid who both utilised down field threats, big armed quarterbacks and mobility. Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick aren’t Holmgren style QB’s yet that’s a system Bevell has been associated with. Minnesota drafted Tarvaris Jackson and Joe Webb and used a system more equated to Philly than Holmy.
But perhaps most crucially, they adapted when an ageing and much less mobile Brett Favre joined the team in 2009. You can make the point that ‘it’s Favre’, but they still adapted. There’s no reason why Seattle’s offense – which I still think will fit the desires of Pete Carroll rather than Bevell - cannot similarly adapt.
Some people have complained that it’s not possible to comment directly on the mock draft page. Due to weekly updates, comments would quickly become out dated which is why I start these ‘discussion’ threads alongside every projection. I have added a link to this thread at the top of the mock draft page to make things easier.