2011 NFL Mock Draft: Is Ryan Mallett's Stock on the Rise?

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Is Ryan Mallett's Stock on the Rise?
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Believe who you want, but there are 100 lies being pumped into this year's draft machine for every one truth.

The insane amount of speculation on the quarterback position this year has actually made the draft more fun to discuss (as if that were possible), and I for one could not be happier.

I settled with the idea of Cam Newton going No. 1 overall about two, maybe three, months ago and do not plan on changing my mind any time soon. And I mean that not like "I had him going here from the beginning so ha-ha," but more like "I do not like it, but I see no other way around it."

As for the rest of the quarterback class, well, I guess I can say I have accepted the fact that Blaine Gabbert could conceivably go No. 1 overall but will most likely be the No. 2 quarterback off the board.

The rest of the quarterbacks in this class, notably the other five that could go in the first two rounds, are graded all over the place at this point.

We have heard everything from Colin Kaepernick of Nevada being the No. 3 quarterback off the board to Washington's Jake Locker falling out of the first round (and yes, that is surprising to me on almost every level).

Arkansas' Ryan Mallett is arguably the biggest wild card (in my mind at least) because I could see him going top 15 (see the table below) or sliding out of the first round completely.

The cannon-armed quarterback has undeniable skills on the field and is the best pure passer in the draft. He is, however, a player who raises as many flags off the field as he does on it.

Recent team workouts are hard to justify because there are many cases where teams do not bring a player in at all before drafting him, but Mallett's workouts have certainly been the center of intrigue on a lot of fronts.

The question remains, how high can he rise in the 2011 NFL draft?

Here is a look at the latest first-round projections as I see them right now.

And remember, for all your 2011 NFL draft needs, be sure to bookmark our draft hub

1. Carolina: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
2. Denver: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
3. Buffalo: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
4. Cincinnati: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
17. New England (via Oak): J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
18. San Diego: Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
19. New York Giants: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
20. Tampa Bay: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
5. Arizona: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
6. Cleveland: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
7. San Francisco: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, UNC
8. Tennessee: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
21. Kansas City: Anthony Castonzo, OT, BC
22. Indianapolis: Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
23. Philadelphia: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
24. New Orleans: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
9. Dallas: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
10. Washington: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
11. Houston: Prince Amukamara, CB, Neb.
12. Minnesota: Jake Locker, QB, Wash.
25. Seattle: Christian Ponder, QB, FSU
26. Baltimore: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
27. Atlanta: Justin Houston, DE, Georgia
28. New England: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
13. Detroit: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
14. St. Louis: Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal.
15. Miami: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
16. Jacksonville: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
29. Chicago: Marvin Austin, DT, UNC
30. New York Jets: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
31. Pittsburgh: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
32. Green Bay: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

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