Wes Bunting’s insider info

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.


  1. Matt

    Sheard is such a tough call. I really love the way the guy plays and he’s been productive. That said, I just can’t fully get on board with him as the pick IF Taylor, Wilkerson, Liguet or Mallett/Locker is still on the board. The 2 QBs are a no brainer considering our current situation and the 3 big bodies listed are, what I would consider, elite athletes at their position. Not necessarily elite talents right now, but guys that are big and can seriously move for their respective size, which obviously suggests big time potential down the road.

    However, if all those guys are off the board, I would be more than happy with Sheard who I think would profile EXTREMElY well as a Leo. We could keep that 3-4 dynamic, but still have the run support of a 4-3, thanks to Sheard’s nice playing strength despite his explosive ability and being somewhat undersized.

    I’ve mentioned this before, but I would be happy if the FO got aggressive and traded up to get the guy they really want. This team is still very far away from being a legitimate super bowl team, that I’d much rather get that base of upper echelon talent before we worry about loading up on slightly above average players.

    Once we get a QB. a dynamic talent on the D-line (part of my affinity for Muhammad Wilkerson), and a game changing weapon on offense, then I think you start to consider the “trade down” philosophy and surround said QB or DLineman with “supporting/complinmentary” talent. Until then, I see no benefit to continually adding a bunch of role players.

    • Alex

      I too like those players over a LEO which can at least be temporarily compensated by scheme. I’m of opinion that if scheme can cover deficiencies, then let it be. The truth is that there are way too many positions to cover them all. No team is perfect. However, if a scheme can get the same production, then that’s one less need. By comparsion, a DT is not something scheme can cover in our system. Then we should get one if the right one is at 25. The same is said for QB or CB.

      In addition to those names, I’m also for Jimmy Smith if he falls which is sounding like a possibility as he’s going through a Mallet like character media assassination.

      I’m relatively positive that at least ONE of those players listed (6 of them) will be at 25. We aren’t even considering the PP, AJ Green, Julio Jones, or Aldon Smiths of the draft which will certainly go in the top 15. If a QB, CB, and DT is there, I would choose it in that order because that’s the order of importance. Further, you can’t get Mallet or Locker at the end of the 2nd round while there is some depth at DT in the 2nd round and depth at CB into late 3rd (granted not as good).


  2. Ben

    Rob I was wondering what you thought of giving up the 25th for the rights to sign Carl Nicks from the Saints.

    • Rob

      I think the fact that Nicks fell as far as he did (was it the 5th round?) shows how you can find effective offensive lineman at non-premium positions later in the draft. Nicks fell because of character concerns and ended up being a steal. The Seahawks need to keep their finger on the pulse and unearth players like that – rather than spending first round picks on players other teams have found value with.

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