Ryan Mallett scouting report coming soon

Posted by Kip Earlywine

I just finished scouting my 3rd game (out of 4) for Mallett, and I’ve already got a ton of notes.  I’m hoping to have it done and posted by tonight.  As I found last year from my work scouting Russell Okung, watching tape for one player will often help you inadvertently learn a lot about other players as well.  In order to keep my Mallett scouting report on topic, I’d like to put my random comments on some other players I saw here, before I talk about Mallett himself.

  • I’m sure some of you won’t like reading this, but if Seattle shocked us all by drafting Mark Ingram at #25, I wouldn’t feel the slightest bit upset or really even that surprised.  Ingram’s acceleration is deceptive but excellent, and his vision/instincts are on par with Shaun Alexander’s, which is saying a lot.   And like Shaun, Ingram’s field speed is faster than it looks.  Everyone would say Shaun wasn’t a burner and then he’d torch a team for an 80 yard scamper.  Alexander and Ingram posted nearly identical 40 times coming out of college.   I like Lynch, but he’s regularly one of the worst RB in the league at yards before contact, and since Seattle’s line is in complete shambles right now outside of Okung and possibly Spencer should he return, there really isn’t a lot of reason to expect Lynch to not repeat his awful 2010 regular season performance, which was one of the worst in the league per DVOA.  Not because Lynch sucks, but because he’s a guy that needs good blocking to gain momentum and do what he does best, run over defenders.  Drafting one very very good running back with better elusiveness would be a faster route to fixing the run game than acquiring 3-4 new lineman, and as such, it makes a great value pick like Ingram surprisingly sensible.
  • I don’t know why, but Greg McElroy kind of reminds me of a less mobile Jeff Garcia.  Similar size/build, similar moxie.  Depending on who you ask though, that’s not really saying much.  Garcia had an up and down career and was generally under-valued even when he was very good.
  • I think I’d rather take Drake Nevis at #57 than Liuget at #25.  I’m not a particularly huge fan of either, but Nevis is pretty close to Liuget in my eyes and is a far better value late in the 2nd.
  • If Cam Newton learns how to properly use and set his feet in the pocket, he will fully justify being picked #1 overall.  Newton isn’t polished, but he’s only been in division football for just one year.  Its hard not to bank on Newton improving, and if he does, he will someday become one of the most feared players in the NFL.
  • Trevor Vittatoe probably won’t be drafted, but I think he’s worth a look as an undrafted free agent.  While he’s nowhere near the physical specimen of Locker or Kaepernick, he’s got the same mobility QB skillset, and unlike those guys, he actually is well trained at checking multiple reads.  His upside isn’t that great, but he has a high floor relative to his draft stock and  I think he could be a better backup than Charlie Whitehurst.  If Vittatoe adds another 10-15 lbs, he would compare very closely to David Garrard.
  • Arkansas has a heck of a running game, and that is thanks mostly to a great system implemented by Bobby Petrino.  It makes me wonder if RB Knile Davis is just a product of the system or not, because in every game I watched, he was sensational.


  1. Vin

    Looking forward to the Mallett scouting report.

    Kip, count me as one of those who would be disappointed if we picked Ingram @ 25. I am more than willing to be proven wrong, but I dont see how Ingram would improve our running game, which would, in turn, open up the passing game. I can agree that Ingram is probably better than Marshawn. In my opinion, hes probably a combination of Marshawn & Jforce. So what Im getting from your comments is that Ingram would be able to hit the holes that Marshawn could not? In our line’s current state, would Ingram make the extra yardage that Marshawn did not? Im really hopeful that the addition of Cable will generate a better rushing attack, no matter who’s back there.

    And I guess thats why Id be disappointed if we picked him. But I base this solely on the idea that some of the players I think can help the hawks will be there (Pouncey, Smith, Sheared, Wilkerson, Houston). My only perceived knock on Ingram is that he has history of knee issues. Healthy or not, the life of a RB is what, 4-5 years? You draft starters with rnd 1 & 2 & typically depth with the remaining. With all the holes on our team, I would consider Ingram a luxury the Hawks cant afford. I think the Hawks have a solid stable of RBs…..nothing spectacular, but enough to make decent yards, eat clock & ultimately open up the passing game, especially if Cable can work the magic he worked in Oakland. If they do draft a RB, I hope its in the later rnds. Again, Ingram may very well be as good as published, but I just think the Hawks could draft a player at just about any other position @ 25 who would/should be a starter/bldg block for years to come.

    Regardless of my opinion on the matter, I appreciate your/Rob’s comments/insights, etc

    • ChavaC

      I don’t think it matters if you’re Marshawn Lynch, Mark Ingram, or Adrian Peterson, no one is going to shine if they’re being tackled before they get the handoff. I really like Ingram but I get the feeling he would disappear in this offense/line.

      • Kip Earlywine

        Not saying that Ingram is Barry Sanders, but Sanders was maybe the greatest RB of all time behind a decidedly mediocre offensive line. Why? Because his elusiveness was legendary. The whole reason why an Alex Gibbs zone scheme was so successful for building rush offenses was because it paired vulnerable but quick mid-to-late round lineman with elusive and quick running backs. Lynch is neither. Which isn’t to say he’s bad, but he’s not going to make a defender miss in the backfield. A guy like Reggie Bush could.

        I look at Ingram and I see a guy who is incredibly similar to Shaun Alexander, and Alexander was a highly productive runner even before his line became really great later on.

        Of course, it really depends on who’s there. You wouldn’t pass on a QB you believe in obviously, nor a top 15 talent at an area of need. But if the options are underwhelming, I’d honestly prefer taking a near sure-thing in Ingram than trade down for the likes of Marvin Austin.

        • Blake

          That’s not really what Gibbs and zone schemes rely on. Clinton Portis, Arian Foster, Terrell Davis are examples of zone scheme guys. Even look at Cable’s guys in Oakland: McFadden, Fargas, Michael Bush. One cut guys who are bigger, not scatbacks like you are suggesting. Lynch can do that just fine. Not exceptionally, but just fine. Maybe not even as well as Ingram could, but it would be such a minor upgrade to a team lacking big playmakers that I could not justify it. Especially being that RB is ALWAYS a position that benefits more from the line than anything else and ALWAYS has deep talent. Ingram is not a pick I can see happening or justify if it did happen.

          Force didn’t average a “real” 5.4 YPC; all his yardage was on BS 3rd and 12 draws where he’d come up with a gain of 9. He was hardly the same role that Lynch has been this year. Lynch has been a 1st and 2nd down back while Force was a pace-changer for the first 12 games and the lead back in the final 4 games of ’09. Runningback(albeit average or below average) is probably our best position group on this entire roster.

          • Carl Shinyama

            Ingram is not a scatback. There’s a difference between being elusive and quick and being a scatback.

            More so, Ingram is very much a one-cut runner who is elusive and quick.

            You want playmakers? Then you should want Ingram, because the guy will get you an incredible amount of first downs and is an incredible red-zone runner. You know what? He broke Shaun Alexander’s school record of 42 TD’s in his career. Further, he’s perfect for running behind Russell Okung with his vision and ability to run the sweeps to perfection.

            He’s basically Priest Holmes but without the elite speed.

          • Kip Earlywine

            The problem is, Lynch isn’t really a very good 1 cut RB. He often takes a lot of time to arrive at the hole, and while I wouldn’t say he dances in the backfield, he does often strike me as lacking decisiveness. In general, my impression of Lynch last year was a guy that really struggled at the 1st level but shined in the 2nd level running over linebackers and turning 5 yard runs into 7 or 8 or 67 yard runs.

            By contrast, Forsett is almost a polar opposite. He’s instinctive, decisive, has great short burst and tiny size, which makes him outstanding at penetrating the first level on everything but short yardage. Yet at the 2nd level his top speed is really low, so he’ll give you a lot of 10-30 yard runs, but only rarely will he break anything bigger than 40.

            As of this moment, Lynch is an inferior RB for our system than Forsett despite having more talent simply because he lacks elusiveness which is a fatal flaw coupled with a line that allowed backfield penetration at an alarming rate.

    • Kip Earlywine

      Its important to understand that the running game is not as simple as having a great line or a great running back. Its about both and how they feed off each other. Consider that Lynch barely broke 3 yards a carry only a year after Justin Forsett averaged 5.4 ypc in basically the same role. I think that in terms of talent, Lynch is the more talented back, but he’s just an awful fit for the current blocking situation, whereas Forsett is the kind of guy who can make the most out of it.

      The problem is, Forsett is not a feature back and he plays at such a small size that its foolish to bank on his durability for too long. Lynch was brought in to spell Forsett, but Lynch is killing us while doing it, and will continue to without sweeping and immediate changes to the line. And even then, Lynch would probably just be an “okay” RB. Even in his better years, his YPC has always been low.

      Ingram is faster and quicker and much more instinctive. He’ll avoid more contact in the backfield which means fewer TFL’s and more positive plays- which is the golden rule of a ZBS running game (“no negative plays”).

      And to be brutally honest, the “fix the line” plan is almost completely unrealistic in just 1 offseason. The running game killed Seattle last year and it figures to be an even bigger part of the gameplan in 2011- so while this isn’t as important as finding a QB, its still a very important issue.

      Not saying I’d personally pick Ingram, just saying that under the right circumstances, drafting him could make a lot of sense.

      • ChavaC

        Uh. Force was actually less than a ypc over Lynch last year, despite the fact he was the mid-field passing down back whereas BeastMode was the goal line grinder/workhorse and lost a lot of ypc to x and 1 at the 1’s. When you look at them in their own vacuums, I’d say they were equally ineffective albeit in different ways. I also think Cable’s ZBS will be a better fit for Marshawn.

        I just can’t see Ingram coming in here and having enough success to warrant taking him. I can’t see him putting up a decent ypc any more than I could Spiller or Best last year.

        As far as the Sanders/Alexander comparisons, that’s an interesting connection to make considering I cannot think of two backs that were worse fits for a ZBS.

        • Kip Earlywine

          I disagree about Forsett being ineffective. He was great in 2009 and pretty much the same guy in 2010. If anything he should have played far more.

          Just my opinion, but I don’t see the difference between Ingram and Lynch as slight. I think Ingram has real HoF potential, whereas Lynch’s career has been mixed to this point. Lynch didn’t stop the Bills from taking Spiller last year, and Ingram has a similar level of talent in my view.

          The running game could be revived if built around Lynch, but the offensive line would have to be improved dramatically for that to happen and that’s not something you can do quickly easily. If the team had a player like Ingram, it could revive the running game with less invested in the line which would take less time to accomplish.

          Let me say too that I’m not normally one of those guys who thinks much of RBs, and I generally like to avoid drafting a RB in the 1st round. I’d typically much rather draft a lineman than a RB early. But given these special circumstances, I think Ingram could make sense.

  2. Derek

    Kip what are your thoughts on the possibility and fit of Vince Young coming here once free agency happens?

    • Kip Earlywine

      Just my opinion, no inside source or anything, but I’d say its pretty unlikely for 3 reasons.

      (1): Seattle may draft a QB and give him the starting job at least unofficially.

      (2): Failing that, I expect Seattle to be very strong players for Palmer/Kolb, particularly Palmer as he figures to cost less and is a better “bridge” option.

      (3): Vince Young would have to be released or traded by Tennessee. The owner has publicly announced his intention to do so, but it hasn’t yet, and sometimes people change their minds. I think Young probably gets moved, but only after Tennessee finds another QB first.

      Now, if all 3 conditions are cleared, I absolutely think Seattle would be a logical landing spot for Young. This FO is all about reclamation projects, Young is an excellent fit for Carroll’s style of offense, and in the past Pete has made no secret that he thinks the world of Young. But a lot has to happen for that to come to be, and I doubt all the stars will align exactly right.

      • Derek

        I may be wrong, but unless a new cba is done before the draft, during the draft the only trades that can take place are picks for picks, and no players. So by the time the draft is over we either have drafted a QB or spent our #25 on another position, and have no first rounder to trade for Kolb or Palmer, unless your thinking a 2012 pick. And I am not too excited about either Kolb or Palmer joining the hawks. What are your thoughts on that?

        Also, if VY was brought in and won a starting job, imagine how much the Hawks have changed in two years with the likes of Mike Williams, Marshawn Lynch, and VY all starting. Tim Ruskell would crap his pants.

  3. Carl Shinyama

    I would be ECSTATIC if the Seahawks selected Mark Ingram. He is one best pure players in the draft, and I would love for him to be playing on Sundays in Seattle.

    • Vin

      Ingram may be a playmaker….but I doubt he’ll be one as a Seahawk. The kinds of playmakers the hawks need are receivers that can spread the field. As it is now, our running game is ineffective not only because the Oline sucks, but also because the defense does not fear our receivers. We have no vertical threat. I dont care how quick, elusive or how many cuts Ingram makes, those holes he ran through on Saturdays wont be there on Sundays. And thats why I think he wont be the difference maker you think he will be for the Seahawks. Im not saying he’ll be a bust wherever he’s drafted, I just dont think he’ll do well on the hawks, and therefore, not a good pick @ 25.

      • Carl Shinyama

        I doubt that he will be a Seahawk, too. However, I disagree with the notion that the Seahawks don’t have a vertical threat because of the receivers. I think it has to do with the fact that the Seahawks don’t have a quarterback with the kind of arm to force DC’s to back it up a little bit. That’s not to say that they can’t get a receiver who could add to that dimension, but I think it has more to do with the quarterback.

        It’s not like the Seahawks don’t have speed at WR, because they do, and it’s not like the Seahawks don’t have WR’s who can’t beat CB’s deep, because they do.

        The Seahawks would have Mark Ingram for about four to five years minimum, it’s not unrealistic that the Seahawks don’t build an offense that he couldn’t be effectiv in.

  4. Rob

    Glad you mentioned Knile Davis, Kip. Having watched about eight Arkansas games from 2010, he looked like a sure fire first round pick.

    • Charlie

      Yeah I remember watching him in arkansas bowl game and wondering why I hadn’t heard of him yet, but realized he hadnt declared for 2011

  5. Jim Kristofic

    Hello Kip,

    I don’t know if you check this. This is Jim Kristofic from Page High School in Page America. I just wanted to get in touch with you. What’s the best way? Do you have an email?

    I’m kristoficjr@yahoo.com

    Hope to hear from you soon, Freight Train.

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