It's far too early to be seriously discussing the 2011 NFL draft. For starters - we don't really know what will happen with the CBA. If the threat of no football in 2011 becomes reality, will a draft even take place? There might be a long overdue rookie pay scale and that could have an effect on which prospects consider leaving early. Even so, I wanted to throw this out there on a quiet Easter Sunday. A lot of these guys will be hoping to 'take the next step' in 2010 and turn potential into performance.
Ryan Mallett (QB, Arkansas)
I think Mallett could've been a top ten pick this year. Huge cannon of an arm, very high release point and sound mechanics. Ideal size. Showed in 2009 he can make the huge play downfield, but too often lacked accuracy on basic throws. Returning for another year in Arkansas should help. Begins the 2010 season as a potential candidate to go first overall in 2011.
Jake Locker (QB, Washington)
The hot favorite to be next years #1 pick. Locker has incredible athletic qualities and showed signs of real development in 2009 under Steve Sarkisian's pro-style offense. Another year's fine tuning should further aid Locker's development. He has arm strength, the physique, footwork and a quick delivery. Extra experience should add required polish.
Jerrod Johnson (QB, Texas A&M)
I watched Johnson put in a really impressive performance against Texas' star studded defense last year. Then in his next game against Georgia, he was poor. He really struggled against Oklahoma's defense. However, he has all the tools - arm strength, size, athleticism. The stats are impressive - a 51/18 TD/Int ratio as a starter.
Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford)
Only a redshirt sophomore last year so no guarantee he'll declare for the 2011 draft. Received a lot of praise during Stanford's great run last year, but he was severely helped by Toby Gerhart and the teams power running game. Indeed, Luck only managed thirteen touchdowns and a 56.3% completion percentage. Will be interesting to see if he can make the team his own post-Gerhart.
Terrelle Pryor (QB, Ohio State)
The Buckeye's quarterback showed signs of promise in the Rose Bowl. He needs to take that into 2010 and find a level of consistency that's so far been missing. Another guy with everything you'd want from a franchise QB - size, arm, physique. But can he lead this team forward and become more consistent? Starts the year with potential to be a high first rounder.
Pat Devlin (QB, Delaware)
The comparisons to Joe Flacco are obvious - Devlin transferred to Delaware from Penn State and has a huge arm. He'll have similar ambitions of pushing himself into first round consideration with a good senior year in 2010. Despite facing weaker competition last year, he never really had a season defining performance.
Christian Ponder (QB, Florida State)
I liked what I saw from Ponder last year. He hasn't got the physical qualities or the arm of some of the prospects above, but he's accurate and one to watch next season. He had a superb performance against Georgia Tech in 2009. His stats would've looked a lot better but for a four interception display in his final game before injury against Clemson.