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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Andy Dalton To Seattle Seahawks, According To Sports Illustrated's Don Banks

We’ve seen every one of the top-five quarterbacks eligible for the NFL Draft connected to the Seattle Seahawks in various 2011 NFL mock drafts. From Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton to Christian Ponder, it’s been like throwing darts at the wall as analysts try to project which direction the Seahawks may go when April’s draft rolls around. It’s clear quarterback is a position of need, but which will be around when the Seahawks step to the podium, and are any worthy of a first round pick.

On Wednesday, a different name emerged in Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks’ latest 2011 NFL mock draft. Banks, surprisingly, felt Andy Dalton was the third-best quarterback in the 2011 NFL Draft class, ahead of Locker, Ryan Mallett and Christian Ponder. And when it’s the Seahawks turn to pick, Banks’ gut tells him Dalton could be the pick.

‘m admittedly reading some tea leaves here, but before it’s all said and done, I think the steady, if unspectacular, Dalton comes to be viewed as the most likely prospect to be the third quarterback off the board — ahead of even Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick. Seattle is clearly interested in trading for Eagles backup Kevin Kolb, and NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock made the salient point that Dalton is probably the closest thing to Kolb in this year’s draft. Locker is intriguing, but he’s probably just not accurate enough to warrant a first-round pick.

I’m not sure I could endorse the Seahawks picking Dalton. Sure, he won at TCU, a feat in itself, but is he ready for the NFL? Just because the Seahawks may have interest in trading for Kevin Kolb doesn’t mean drafting a quarterback that resembles him is a good idea. Dalton has failed to impress since capping his season with a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, leaving him without a first round grade in many mock drafts. If Locker or Mallett are available at No. 25, both would be more intriguing choices than Dalton.

For the latest on the draft, check out our 2011 NFL mock draft StoryStream. For more on the Seahawks, head over to SB Nation’s Field Gulls.