The quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft have been impossible to nail down, with nearly every mock draft arranging them in different orders, going to different places. Blaine Gabbert seems to be the only certainty, as the first quarterback off the board, but his destination is still all over the map. Working down the line, Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker continue to be unknown quantities, with some placing one or the other in the top 10 and others not having either as a first-round pick.
Mallett, originally thought of as a Seattle Seahawks target, is just as polarizing as Locker, who has been all over the map in projections following the 2010 season. Over at CBS, Rob Rang and Chad Reuter are unable to form anything resembling a consensus. Rang has Mallett in the top 10 as the second quarterback off the board right now. He sees Mallett as a building block for a Tennessee Titans franchise that’s in desperate need of something new.
Clearly, Adams is starting over, and will need a new leader on the field. Mallett’s leadership has been questioned but has the arm strength and ability to contribute early in his career.
On the other hand, Reuter doesn’t see Mallett as a first-rounder at all, dropping him all the way out of his mock draft this week. In fact, Reuter doesn’t see either Locker or Mallett in the first round, knocking both out, leaving just two quarterbacks — Cam Newton and Gabbert — in the first 32 picks. Seeing only two quarterbacks in the round is surprising considering the affinity for the position that’s typically prevalent in the first round of the draft.
Keep an eye on where Mallett and Locker move as the draft nears. Is it possible neither end up in the first round? To me, it seems highly unlikely.
For more on the draft, check out our 2011 NFL mock draft StoryStream.