If the 2011 NFL Draft plays out how Mel Kiper expects it to, the Seattle Seahawks will be left with an interesting decision with the 25th pick. According to Kiper, two quarterbacks should be available late in the first round, one of which has become sort-of a hometown hero. At No. 25, Kiper has the Seahawks selecting Ryan Mallett, quarterback from Arkansas, over Jake Locker, the hometown kid from the University of Washington.
We’ve seen Locker all over the board thus far and it’s more than possible that he rises in the rankings between now and April. Would the Seahawks pass on the hometown prospect with off-the-charts athletic ability for the kid with the cannon arm from Arkansas? The choice is an intriguing one, taking into account where each would project.
Both Locker and Mallett have questions about their ability to make reads and throw an accurate ball. There’s no question Mallett has a Howitzer attached to his should, but he’s shown the tendency to get a bit squirrelly at times, as well.
Locker, on the other hand, returned for his senior year at Washington despite having his name thrown around as a top-10 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. A rough outing against Nebraska in September, and inconsistency throughout the season, noticeably hurt his draft stock, but shouldn’t knock him out of the first round. Playing behind a patchwork line, and with multiple injuries, appeared to hamper his ability in 2010, giving him room to boost his stock between now and April. He’s the type of player that should shine in a combine situation and may impress enough to move up.
It’s still early, but Kiper projecting the Seahawks to take Mallett when Locker is available is an interesting sign of just how far Locker has fallen. You can read more about Kiper’s reasoning at Bob Condotta’s blog at the Seattle Times.
For another view of the draft, check out SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft.