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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Ryan Mallett, Blaine Gabbert Or Cam Newton As The Top Quarterback?

Andrew Luck’s decision to stay at Stanford left analysts scrambling for a new quarterback prospect to latch on to. Depending on who you believe, that quarterback will either be Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett or Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert by the time the NFL Draft rolls around in April. With mock draft artists scrambling to account for the lack of Luck in the draft, it’s clear the quarterback class is lacking without the Stanford quarterback leading the way.

CBS Sports analysts Rob Rang and Chad Reuter were, surprisingly, in agreement about the top quarterback off the board. It’s not Mallett, Gabbert or Locker at the top of their boards, but is Auburn quarterback, and Heisman winner, Cam Newton. Each analyst has Newton going No. 3 overall to the Buffalo Bills.

After Newton, the two begin to disagree. Each has Blaine Gabbert heading to San Francisco with the seventh pick, but Rang projects Ryan Mallett to the Tennessee Titans at No. 8, where the Seattle Seahawks would have picked had they missed the playoffs. Reuter, on the other hand, has Locker as the next quarterback off his board, going 10th to the Washington Redskins. Mallett is projected to be the No. 12 pick by Reuter, taken by the Minnesota Vikings.

And where does Rang have Locker heading? To the Seattle Seahawks with the 21st pick, of course. There’s a significant gap between where Rang places the first three quarterback — in the first 12 spots of the draft — and Locker, at No. 21. Is he a bit of a project? He likely will be. Would it be a feel-good story for the hometown kid? Most definitely.

No Luck, no problem, as the draft moves on without the Stanford signal-caller. Unfortunately, the shockwaves from his decision to stay at Stanford will reverberate all the way up until the NFL Draft in April.