See if we can get some actual draft discussion going.
4/28 (Tonight): Round 1
4/29: Round 2 and Round 3
4/30: Round 4, 5, 6, 7
I've got some thoughts, mostly quarterback related. I've followed the NFL draft pretty closely for the last 5 or 6 years. I've never been this puzzled by a quarterback class as far as where some players are going to go.
Just some of my thoughts....
Cam Newton/Carolina Panthers:
I have been trying to understand how Cam Newton going #1 overall to the Panthers makes sense. Newton was a one year wonder at Auburn in an offense where he basically had 1 or 2 WR's running predetermined routes, and if they weren't open he tucked the ball and ran. He never lined up under center, never checked down or made adjustments at the LOS, and barely read defense. He has a very small sample size as far as college work to go off of. He threw a whopping 280 passes in college. Carolina just took Clausen in the 2nd round last year and now they're going to take another QB #1 overall, even though there are several immediate impact type defensive players they could take instead, and Newton is a big project. The Panthers don't have a veteran for Newton to come sit behind and learn from for a few years and they don't have a great defense or wide-receivers to cover up his flaws as he learns on the go.
There are players like Marcell Dareus, Patrick Peterson, Von Miller, and Nick Fairley that would be much safer picks in my opinion. Newton may prove me wrong in a few years but he's just too big of a project and risk to waste the #1 overall pick on when you just took a QB in the 2nd round a year ago.
Quick, name the four Big 12 quarterbacks that threw for 20+ TD in the 2010 season.....Nope, Blaine Gabbert wasn't one of them. The correct answer: Landry Jones, Taylor Potts, Brandon Weeden, Robert Griffin.
How many D1 quarterbacks threw for more touchdowns than Blaine Gabbert in 2010? 58
That means almost half of the starting quarterbacks in college football threw for more touchdowns than Gabbert did a year ago. So, Missouri must have lined up in the 'I' or 'Power-I' or some other run ehavy formation and ran the ball 70% of the time, right? Wrong. They lined up in the shotgun with 5-Wide more times than not. Yet Gabbert, the #1 or #2 QB on most people's boards, and a consensus top 10 pick, managed a whopping 16 TD and 9 INT last year.
Really? Those numbers in a pass-happy offense scream top 5-10 pick to some NFL GMs? REALLY?!?! How about the fact Ryan Mallett gets knocked for his "late game decision making" based off of one interception late in the game against Alabama and one interception in the Sugar Bowl late in the game against Ohio State, yet Gabbert throws a pick-six this year in the Insight Bowl against Iowa. That pick-six just so happened to be late in the game and was essentially an walk-off pick-six. For some reason, though, that gets swept under the rug.
For reasons beyond me, there are a lot of "experts" and talking heads that have Locker going in the first round. I posted this on another thread, but these were Locker's numbers in 3.5 years as a starter at Washington.
6.6 yards per pass attempt
16-26 record as a starter (3.5 seasons)
That barely screams 4th or 5th round pick to me but he very well may be a 1st round pick.
Word is he might be the 3rd or 4th QB taken in the draft and a potential 1st rounder. Now, I'm not even sold on him, and don't think he's worth a 1st round pick, but at least his numbers and record in college look good on paper, until you remember he put up those numbers in the Mountain West Conference. Oh, and his ability to throw the ball down the field is questionable at best. But at least he's accurate, put up big numbers, and won a lot of games in college. Not something you can say about every other potential 1st round QB.
At this point I could write a book on all the mostly false crap that's killed his draft stock over the last three months.
Some of these I'll completely debunk...
1. He's not great under pressure and eluding the pass rush.
If you have time, watch this video...
Is he perfect under pressure? No, but he's much better than people assume and/or think he is. This video shows some questionable and flat-out stupid passes while being rushed but also proves he's not a complete dumbass who makes nothing but bad decisions when the pocket collapses.
2. Mallett has a bad work-ethic and is lazy.
Completely 110% FALSE!! Bobby Petrino and his teammates at Arkansas have raved about his work-ethic and also stated he loved the film room. One proven and well-known thing about Petrino as a coach is that he is VERY demanding of his quarterbacks. In two years as a starter at Arkansas Mallett put up numbers that about every other starter in the nation over the same two year span would love to have. Bottom line is, you can't have a lazy work-ethic and put up the kind of numbers in Petrino's offense, especially against SEC defenses.
3. Mallett has/had a drug problem in college.
Mallett transferred to Arkansas prior to the 2008 season. In the three seasons he was at Arkansas Mallett never
failed a drug test. So, how does someone with an alleged drug problem go three years without failing a drug test? His one proven off-field incident was an arrest for a public intox during his sit out year at Arkansas. Now, that's not good but it's far from being a drug user/abuser. Mallett admitted himself that he experimented with marijuana his freshman year at Michigan. Shocking...a collegiate athlete smoked some weed four years ago.
4. Mallett is a bad leader and a bad teammate.
Fact: Ryan Mallet was elected team captain - by his teammates - before ever taking a snap for Arkansas, and he was a two year captain.
Mallett's teammates have stated Mallett was a great leader and teammate during his time at Arkansas. Now, he allegedly had some issues while at Michigan and his cockiness rubbed some of the upperclassmen the wrong way. However, there was never any stories about Mallett being a bad teammate, locker room cancer, etc. while at Arkansas. Trust me, I live in Arkansas, and we would have heard if Mallett was causing problems while he was a Razorback. Every little bit of drama that takes place at the University of Arkansas gets reported, made known to the public, and spreads like wildfire. There are no professional sports teams or other major D1 programs in the state. The Razorbacks are our pro sports team and, especially the football and basketball programs - are in a fishbowl. We would have heard if Mallett was causing problems with the team.
Strengths and Positives
1. He has a cannon for an arm.
Mallett is the only quarterback in this class that has proven he can make any and every throw on the football field. Mallett is also the only quarterback in this class that has proven he can consistently complete throws down field - 25+ yards.
2. Mallett played in a complex pro-style offense in college.
Despite what some people think, Mallett wasn't lining up in the shotgun and throwing the ball 70% of the time while at Arkansas. In fact, Mallett lined up under center much more than he did in the shotgun. Also, Mallett was constantly making reads and checking down at the LOS. Want to know how complex Petrino's offense is? On passing plays Mallett was lining up under center with two receivers wide, one in the slot, a tight end, and a back coming out of the backfield. The three receivers and one tight end almost always had an option route. In other words, Mallett was coming to the LOS during a pass play knowing his receivers had multiple routes they could run based on how the defense was lined up. It was up to Mallett to also read the defense and determine what route would best for his receivers to run based on READING the defense.
3. Mallett is a competitor and good leader.
I've already addressed this to an extent. Mallett was elected as team captain by his teammates before he ever took a snap for Arkansas. He is a fierce competitor and someone his teammates raved in regards to his leadership ability.
Now, I know I'm an Arkansas "homer" but, the fact is, Mallett is not only the most polished QB in this class with the most "tools" as a pure passer, but he's also the most NFL ready QB in this class. Yet, he may slip as far as the 3rd or 4th round, and guys like Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, and even Christian Ponder may go ahead of Mallett in the draft mostly because of some unsubstantiated off-field issues. I personally don't think there is a single quarterback worth a top 10 pick in the draft but, in my opinion, Mallett is the best QB prospect in this class, and the only one worth going in the 10-15 range.
It's a defense heavy draft and I think a team like Carolina, Buffalo, and Arizona are stupid if they don't take a defensive player instead of a quarterback in the top 5.