Updated mock draft – 10/04

Washington's Jake Locker is back in the top-20

Here’s this weeks updated mock draft. I’ve extended it to a top-20 projection and plan to keep progressing into a full first-round mock over the next 4-5 weeks. Seattle are back in the mock after Sunday’s 20-3 whimper at St. Louis. With a three-way tie at the top of the NFC West and thanks largely to the performance of the Rams defense and rookie QB/saviour Sam Bradford, I’ve left them out as this week’s ‘pick to win the West’. It’s only fair, having so far already left out Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle.

Andrew Luck still tops the board. Why? It’s clear to me the hype surrounding Luck will almost certainly mask the issues a handful of people (like myself) have voiced. During the broadcast of Oregon and Stanford, Luck was anointed ‘the best quarterback in CFB since Peyton Manning’ by the announcers. Of course, that isn’t true. In fact Sam Bradford would probably be annoyed if he wasn’t just winning games in the NFL on a $50m contract. Luck is neither as accurate as Bradford or in possession of the physical qualities of Matt Stafford. He’s a good, solid college game manager. That’s fine for Stanford.

That probably won’t be fine for the Buffalo Bills.

Whilst the Cardinal continue to get national attention and whilst Luck continues to score rave reviews nationally, momentum will build and he’ll almost certainly declare for next year’s draft. There’s already a lot of talk saying Luck will take advantage of his newly found fame. Buffalo raised a few eye brows when they took C.J. Spiller in the top ten last April. There’s every chance they might prefer the flashier, higher ceiling that belongs to Jake Locker. However – Luck at this stage appears destined to be the #1 pick. I don’t think he’s as good as advertised, but Buffalo almost have to go for a QB. I don’t envy the decision between Luck and Locker that they’ll have to make.

What about Seattle? What about Locker? I’ll answer both at the same time. The Seahawks biggest need is at quarterback. That would be the case even if Matt Hasselbeck was currently enjoying a Pro-Bowl type-revival season (he isn’t). This is a quarterback driven league and Seattle hasn’t solved that riddle to the previous regimes discredit. John Schneider and Pete Carroll rolled the dice to some extent on Charlie Whitehurst and should, I believe, be praised for at least taking a chance on finding a solution.

However, there’s nothing to suggest Whitehurst has proven the long term answer. He may only ever prove to be a stop-gap bridge or a solid backup. Either way, I think two things are clear. Firstly, legend that he is I don’t think Matt Hasselbeck will be part of the Seahawks roster next year. Secondly, they will absolutely have to bring in one quarterback. The options were limited last year (only Bradford and Tebow taken in round one). If they see a guy they want next April, they might just spend the house to get him. Then again, maybe they won’t have to move from their draft position? Either way, the chances Seattle drafts a QB next year increase every week.

Locker deserves to be back in the top-15 after a bounce back win against USC. A lot of people have pointed at the number of roll outs and running he did in the 400+ total yard performance. They may be legitimate points, but it took some guts to win that game after the Nebraska meltdown. People criticise Locker for not winning enough games, but he got the job done in SoCal. The target has to be finding a level of consistency for the rest of the year. No more Nebraska’s. If he can do that, of course teams will consider him in the top ten.

You can view the latest Seahawks Draft Blog mock by clicking here or selecting ‘Mock Draft’ in the title bar.


  1. Patrick

    Excellent mock draft Rob, and I am 100% with you. We NEED to address the QB situation and early! I’ve liked Jerrod Johnston a lot, and I actually do like Whitehurst, but I really think we need to pounce on a top QB in this year’s draft. Look at the NFC West, the only team really with hope is the one that got a top QB. Of course not all rookie QBs are Bradford, but at this stage we don’t need him to be. We just need someone to sit behind Whitehurst for a season and then be our QB for the next decade. Jake Locker falling to us at 10 would be a dream, but actually, I think I like Ryan Mallett a bit more. I noticed he wasn’t in your top 20. Do you think the character concerns are bad enough? I think I just love his arm and think grabbing him would make us incredibly better. With Mallett, we could utilize Tate, Butler, and Williams by opening up the deep passing game which would also help our running game tremendously. Still, I know he lacks mobility, but I can’t help but think that Bates and Carroll would love Mallett’s upside.

    • Rob

      Hey Patrick,

      I do like what Mallett brings in terms of physical qualities, release point, arm strength. He’s not a statue, although obviously there’s work to be done on setting his feet, knowing how to position himself for certain throws particularly under pressure and just learning how to play a complete game.

      However, other people have speculated about character concerns. I can only go off by bare minimum experience, which is listening to Mallett… seeing how he handles the big games and listening to what others have had to say. There’s been some strong stuff. If that proves true, he’ll fall. My biggest concern is the day Mallett gets paid and suddenly goes from needing to be a leader of men rather than just the star in campus. Will he do what it takes to be great? When I listen to Mallett speak, he’s not like Stafford/Bradford/Sanchez. Maybe that means very little, but whether it’s maturity or what – he doesn’t seem like that Matt Ryan/Bradford/Sanchez/Stafford type who will be able to manage the situation around him as well as on the field.

      I have to off-set that with the fact I do like a QB that can sling it around, force coverage downfield, stretch out a defense… open up a running game. I like a guy who is capable of making any throw and nailing a big play. But teams are very cautious about the QB’s they draft early and there may be some concerns with Mallett. As of today, I’d put him in the 20-40 draft range.

      • Patrick

        Thanks for the feedback Rob. It’s very discouraging to hear this about Mallett. I can honestly say I’ve only seen him be interviewed once and it was after he had made his decision to stay for another year at Arkansas. He didn’t come off poorly to me, but obviously that was just one time. Do you think he has time to correct this negative feedback? I recall when Sanchez first announced he was declaring for the draft and remember there were definitely character concerns coming out of USC. Aside from the big issue being the rape allegation (and also I believe he was arrested for breaking a window in a fraternity house) there were also some issues of immaturity. In the end, he was the #5 overall pick and so far has avoided negative perceptions. I never liked his character and found him to be very cocky and insincere in interviews. I know feel much more highly towards him. I like Ryan Mallett, but I also want him to be on the same level as Ryan and Bradford, and not follow the route of Jamarcus Russell, Matt Leinart, etc.

        I guess a big question I have for you is, if Mallett is there and Locker isn’t, do you pull the trigger if you’re the Seahawks?

        • Rob

          The difference between Sanchez and Mallett for me is that Sanchez was, as you rightly say, a bit cocky and much more charismatic. There were lingering issues in the background as you also point out Patrick – I think we can only presume NFL teams made their background checks because the serious allegations never seemed to play much part in the draft stock or build up and he went very early. I think Sanchez was perhaps a little too comfortable in the Hollywood environment and perhaps that’s why he came accross the way he did – but you could just tell he was switched on. He’s handled starting early and managing ‘New York’ very well. Mallett – to me at least – doesn’t come accross anywhere near as switched on. There’s been some talk about poor work habits but my bigger concern will be the day Mallett is drafted and perhaps is expected to embrace being ‘the franchise’. I’m not sure he’ll cope. Wes Bunting from the NFP tweeted a couple of weeks ago that a scout had relayed information that would destroy Mallett’s stock if it became public knowledge. Tony Pauline used a description of ‘not like the other players’ to describe Mallett. Walter Cherepinsky in his mock draft says, “Major character issues will eventually surface regarding Ryan Mallett. Let’s just say that he won’t be too focused when watching game film at the next level.” There’s no smoke without fire as they say – and whilst this is mainly just second hand speculation… it has to be considered.

          If the Seahawks are satisfied with Mallett’s mental make up and his work ethic, I would have no issue at all drafting him. However, I suspect these concerns could end up hitting Mallett a lot down the line.

  2. PRP

    im not sure the bills are going to draft Luck… Why? cause he is from Stanford i know im just speculating but its a solid reason.

    • Rob

      Buffalo surprised a few people and went for a flashy pick with Spiller last April. It wouldn’t surprise me if they preferred Locker over Luck. Right now though, there’s so much momentum behind Luck it could easily carry him into the off season. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t take him because he went to Stanford, though. Feel free to explain.

      • Patrick

        I could be wrong but I think PRP made the connection because Trent Edwards came from Stanford. (Sort of like last year when people said the Browns wouldn’t take a chance on another Notre Dame prospect after Brady Quinn failed)

        • Rob

          Yeah – I see the point he was making now. I probably should’ve realised the whole Trent Edwards connection!

  3. Matt

    I think the biggest issue with drafting a QB in the first round, is that the masses want the perfect, fool proof prospect. I’m sorry people, but there’s not such thing, especially with QBs. At some point, you have to take a chance on a guy and build an offense around their talents.

    I think the failure of 1st round QBs can be attributed to 2 definitive things. 1) the most obvious, is a lack of work ethic and putting in the time to learn. 2) Being forced into a system that doesn’t allow them to have the most success.

    If we draft Locker, then we need to get him on the move and not try to force him to be Peyton Manning but rather Steve Young. If we draft Luck, then we need to build a sturdy O-line and ground and pound run game, allowing for shorter, simpler throws. Same goes for Ponder. If we draft Mallett, then we need a very solid O-line and talent at WR to allow him to sit in the pocket and use his big arm.

    Overall, this upcoming draft needs to be heavily focused on offense. I believe in JS and PC to find very good defensive players that fit their system without having to pay a premium price to get it. Time to get our QB, an intimidating RB, and a HWS WR who isn’t one dimensional. I’m keeping my eye on guys like Allen Bradford, Leonard Hankerson, Mikel Leshoure, Graig Cooper (when healthy), Devier Posey, Greg Little, Terrance Tolliver, Deandre Brown (huge sleeper), Armon Binns as non-1st round guys who could prove to be productive offensive players that seem to find the mold of what our FO is on the lookout for.

    • Rob

      Excellent post Matt and thanks for throwing some names out there at WR. I’ll keep an eye out for those I haven’t seen already. Got to say, I’ve been very disappointed with Terrance Tolliver. When I first saw him at the start of last year, he looked like a potential first round pick. The QB situation at LSU doesn’t help (how do they keep winning?) but his general performance has been lacklustre. Have been impressed with Hankerson and Posey this year and liked Binns as a late rounder on 2009 performance. Little a big talent on a team that has been decimated.

      You’re 100% correct on the QB situation too.

  4. 1sthill

    Matt, I have to admit that I am guilty of trying to find the perfect QB, although I did want us to draft Mark Sanchez when we had the #4 pick a couple of years ago. I think Pete Carroll and his staff have shown that they can and have put in a system, at least on defense, that fits there personnel. So, I think Carroll will implement a system that would bests fits which ever young QB he decides to draft.

    Nice pull on those players that you mentioned! I was really high on Graig Cooper last year, but I have not seen him this year. Deandre Brown might be a bit of a head case, earlier this year he supposedly refused to go on the field because he didn’t like the coverage the opposing team’s defense was playing him. I’m real high on Leshoure, he reminds me of Steeler RB Rashard Mendenhall. I’ll keep an eye out for Armon Binns.

    I highly recommend watching Hawaii WR Greg Salas. Salas has good size 6-2 210 lbs, very good initial quickness, outstanding ability to sink his hips getting in & out of his breaks, good speed. He has quick feet and good hands. He did not run many NFL routes vs Colorado, but when he did on one particular play, the CB trying to stay with him crossed up his feet and fell down because of how fast Salas got in & out of his route. So he flashed the ability to quickly & smoothly run routes. Also, Salas has good hands and gets yards after catch. Right now Salas is a sleeper, but may change once more people get a look at him.

    • Rob

      I liked Salas when I saw Hawaii vs USC. Certainly someone worth considering in the mid/late round range. Nice shout, 1stHill.

  5. Mind of no mind

    I wouldn’t be suprised if the Bills go for a guy with a cannon arm. I don’t know a lot about Chan Gailey’s offense and maybe it might accommodate someone like Luck, but I was under the impression that the Bills stadium has a lot more wind than most stadiums and therefore favors strong armed QBs who can power passes through the wind.

    I could be wrong on the whole wind thing, but it seemed like a lot was made out of it when they got Drew Bledsoe. Looking at the Bills history on pro-football-reference.com going back to the Jim Kelly days, it seemed like every time they had success (9 wins or more) they had QB’s with higher arm strength (Kelly, Bledsoe and Flutie). They also won 8 games with Rob Johnson at QB, who I believe at the time was known for having a strong arm. Also given the fact that Ralph Wilson has somewhat of a reputation as a meddlesome owner, even if the coaching staff wants a guy like Luck, I could see Wilson making them take someone that fits the mold of the kind of guy he’s had success with in the past.

    • Guardian

      @Mind of no mind

      Perhaps Mallet will show the kind of promise the Bills are looking for, having the strongest arm seen in a long while.

  6. Frankfrog

    Thanks again Rob love the mock, still not a Locker fan at the next level. Really disappointed by the Mallet grumbles unless they drop him enough to gamble in round two. I may be a broken record but I’m still not impressed with the Oline. No Rookie QB out their could take playing behind that line. Leo Dt and Cb remain issues but not emergency. I think Luck will pan out a little better than Harrington but the Team these kids go to have as much to do with their future as the players.

    • Rob

      Hi Frank,

      I think the offensive line remains a work in progress, but that it’s main issue is familiarity. Obviously Okung has barely played and needs time starting. Hamilton is a stop gap measure and we need to see if Chester Pitts can get healthy. Can Stacy Andrews and Tyler Polumbus feature long term? I’m not sure what else the team can do in terms of the draft early… I like Rodney Hudson a lot if he would remain on the board in R2, but the emphasis has been less on the prototype ZBS lineman since Gibbs left and more on size. The line has performed well with St. Louis being the exception, but I do think a lot of that as well is the lack of depth to the offense. If you can’t stretch the field or offer no big play ability, teams can really attack an offensive line by stacking the box or blitzing.

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