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The run begins?


It appears the run may start here.

It would make sense, considering we're already to Day 25 in the 2011 reader mock draft and – despite being more than three-quarters into the process – it has yet to take on a real quarterback-heavy feel.

Yes, Jake Locker, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert are off the board . . .

But all those other names? Christian Ponder, Alex Kaepernick, Ryan Mallett, etc., etc. The ones that are being discussed, dissected and projected as end-of-the-first-round possibilities?

Not yet. Not in this mock anyway.

But the draft, it may be a-changin', and with the Seattle Seahawks and their effective yet aging quarterback (Matt Hasselbeck) and his uncertain future with the team on the clock, the senior writer late last week offered up quarterback as a possible direction.

And if the readers didn't agree unanimously, they at least agreed in something close to a consensus.

"I'd say almost certainly a quarterback here," J-School Corby wrote, adding, "The Seahawks don&39;t seem likely to bring Matt Hasselbeck back, and no one&39;s sold on Charlie Whitehurst. The question is which one, and I&39;m going to vote Ponder."

Corby hardly went solo in his support of Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder, and his nod toward quarterback matched the overall tone of the day.

But while quarterback was the theme, there were dissenters – and as usual, the dissenters were vocal and their logic was hardly without merit.

"With the 25th overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks select Gabe Carimi," Kevin Grab wrote, adding, "Okay, folks, I&39;ve been harping on Carimi for days now. He&39;s by far the BAP according to most media-driven value boards, and I think (Seahawks Head Coach) Pete Carroll goes for the BAP and a guy that will only help add much needed competition and depth across his offensive line.

"Carimi looks to be a nice blue-chip swing player who could pivot between the guard spots and either tackle position. He&39;s the safest pick in the draft at this point. Plain and simple."

Carimi, an offensive tackle from Wisconsin, got huge reader support on Day 25, and with reason. As Grab noted, he has big-time value this late in the first round, and indeed seems a safe selection.

Illinois running back Mike Leshoure also got what is becoming a daily dab of support, as did Georgia linebacker Justin Houston. Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor, after a couple of days of heavy support last week, got a few mentions and seems in danger of somewhat surprisingly slipping from the first round.

But, as we said, quarterback ruled the day – so much so that part of the day was spent debating and even selecting Locker. But while the quarterback from Washington certainly merits discussion at No. 25, in this draft he went off the board to Minnesota at No. 12.

That made Ponder a huge topic of discussion, and it seemed for a time he would be the selection for Seattle.

"Christian Ponder," Nick Larson wrote, adding, "Smart QB that Carroll can definitely work with, and he will be able to sit a year or two."

But while Ponder was a popular direction, the support for Mallett far outweighed it.

Mallett, an intriguing prospect from Arkansas, has been one of the draft's most-discussed quarterbacks. He has NFL size and arm strength, but there are constant whispers of off-field concerns that led to a contentious meeting with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

"I don&39;t know how the Seahawks are about character issues, but I have to think that Mallett falling this far down would be mouth-watering to them," Kamen Fattorusso wrote, with Bran Ramsby adding, "Mallett is the best quarterback in this draft. In real life he is going to go before this spot. He is the next Peyton Manning (who doesn&39;t sack himself)."

While Ramsby can, should and almost certainly will congratulate himself for getting his Manning dig into the main draft story, the crux of his pro-Mallett post got a tone of agreement.

"The Seahawks will go with Ryan Mallet here," Riley Klicker wrote, adding, "He&39;s raw but the Seahawks can get another couple of seasons out of Hasselbeck to allow Mallet time to develop at a comfortable pace. Quarterback is the most over-drafted position for a reason: you can&39;t win without a good one. Mallet has too much talent for Seattle to pass up."

So sayeth the readers, and so agree-eth the senior writer, which means the Seahawks go with Mallett at No. 25 and which means the board looks like:

No. 1 | Carolina | Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

No. 2 | Denver | Patrick Peterson, CB, Louisiana State

No. 3 | Buffalo | Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M

No. 4 | Cincinnati | Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

No. 5 | Arizona | Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

No. 6 | Cleveland | A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

No. 7 | San Francisco | Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

No. 8 | Tennessee | Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

No. 9 | Dallas | Tyron Smith, OT, Southern California

No. 10 | Washington | Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

No. 11 | Houston | Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

No. 12 | Minnesota | Jake Locker, QB, Washington

No. 13 | Detroit | Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

No. 14 | St. Louis | Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

No. 15 | Miami | Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

No. 16 | Jacksonville | Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

No. 17 | New England | J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

No. 18 | San Diego | Cameron Jordan, DE, California

No. 19 | New York Giants | Mike Pouncey, G, Florida

No. 20 | Tampa Bay | Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri

No. 21 | Kansas City | Adrian Clayborn, OLB, Iowa

No. 22 | Indianapolis | Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

No. 23 | Philadelphia | Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

No. 24 | New Orleans | Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

No. 25 | Seattle | Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas

That brings us to the Baltimore Ravens at No. 26, where the senior writer will offer up Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith. This is probably a bit high for Smith, but wide receiver seems a possible direction for Baltimore. Safety also is a possibility, so we'll see what the readers say.

Have at it. 

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