With the NFL Draft coming soon, the hills are alive with the sounds of first-round mocks. Three that you should definitely check out are this one from SB Nation, this one from SI, and this one from ESPN. A few quick, SEC-centric reactions on these mocks:
- No Gamecocks in the first round, folks. Sorry. Maybe next year.
- SI and ESPN both have six SEC players in the top ten picks. That certainly says a lot to validate the perception that the SEC is loaded with talent.
- SBN, the only of the three not to have six SEC teams in the first 10, is also the only one to include Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett, and I think that's a stretch, considering the Dolphins, the team SBN thinks will pick Mallett, would likely be able to take Mallett in the second round. Mallett's fall from grace has been one of the more striking in the past few years. Personally, I think he can be a competent NFL quarterback, though, if he gets his act together.
- I also find surprising the consensus that Mark Ingram is a first round pick. Take SBN's projection, just as an example, which has him going to the Saints. I can see the rationale--the Saints are loaded, don't need to pick based on talent alone, and Ingram may satisfy one of their needs--but I just don't see Ingram as being worthy of a first-round pick, even in this case. To me, Ingram is a talented RB, but his seemingly elite 2009 season was largely the product of Alabama's amazing offensive line and clock-controlling defense. He's not first-round material; there are better options out there if the Saints feel that they need a bruising RB. Any team that takes Ingram with the 15th pick, which is where SI has him, is crazy.
- If I'm the Panthers, I pass on Cameron Newton. I believe a first-overall pick should be spent on a can't-miss prospect, and there are enough questions about Newton to suggest that he's far from can't-miss. Trade down for more picks and use them to refuel at other positions. Take a QB in the second round. Take Mallett, for example.