Wes Bunting from the NFP has posted this piece citing some interesting insider information. It’s worth a read.
There’s definitely a lot of validity to what Bunting is reporting and I wanted to look at three claims in particular.
“Pittsburgh DE Jabaal Sheard is the one guy who scouts seem to try to be keeping under the radar, as he’s quietly moving up draft boards. He had an impressive workout, showcases natural explosion off the snap and from what I’m hearing NFL teams aren’t real concerned with his character.”
I’ve been projecting Sheard as a round one pick since February 23rd – when I touted him as an option for the Seahawks at #25. When you watch tape of Sheard it’s not difficult to see why he’s very much an option for teams perhaps even earlier than Seattle’s pick. He’s got a good combination of size and speed, he’s a capable edge rusher and he holds up well against the run. His performance at the combine (including a 4.6 forty yard dash) will only boost his stock.
If you’re looking for a surprise riser on April 28th, it sounds like Sheard is one to keep an eye on. Josh Liskiewitz said as much recently for Scout.com.
“Talked with a scout the other day who said he thinks Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett is a lock for round one. However, at the same time he said he would take Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick any day in the second round over using a first on Mallett.”
Bunting has been one of Mallett’s biggest critics, ranking him fifth amongst quarterbacks. A lot of people are down on Mallett and some have (unfairly in my opinion) graded him as low as the third round. For a long time I had the Arkansas QB falling into the early second round, but I think he did enough overall at the combine to convince at least one team he’s worthy of a first round pick. Miami and Jacksonville have to be considered at #15 and #16. We can’t rule out Seattle at #25, or teams moving up/down into that mid/late first region.
But after a period where Mallett’s stock took an absolute pounding in the media, it seems like his stock may be back on the rise. The scout Bunting spoke to may prefer Kaepernick in round two, but it’ll only take one team to buy into Mallett’s talents – and whatever anyone says, he does have talent.
“‘Mark Ingram is just too talented to fall out of the first round’ was a comment I got from one talent evaluator when his name was brought up. ‘Someone will either trade back in the first or take him over a need, but the guy is just too good to fall into round two.'”
This is one of the toughest projections to make when trying to compile a mock draft. Ingram has undoubted quality but pairing him with a team isn’t easy. Some teams who we would logically see as comfortable at the position may have Ingram clearly at the top of their draft board. Buffalo believed CJ Spiller was too talented to pass last year, despite much greater needs on their roster. Denver spent the first of two round one picks in 2009 on Knowshon Moreno (one of the few picks I mocked correctly that year, but a surprise overall). Whether those moves were deemed worthy or not, there’s no reason why another team similarly won’t pull a slight shock by drafting Ingram early.
He should go in the 10-22 range based on talent, but it may not necessarily be to a team who currently owns a pick in that range.