NFL Draft  

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Run on QBs could mean as many as six go in first round

Gary A. Vasquez / NFL
Andy Dalton is one of a few quarterbacks in this year's draft who could get picked in the first round.


The buzz around the league continues to be that up to six quarterbacks could go in the first round of next week's NFL draft. And a lot of people shake their heads in amazement soon after acknowledging that.

"It's nuts, but I don't disagree with that," one scout said. "There's a lot of good players at other positions that are gonna fall as a result of people over-drafting quarterbacks. I'm telling you, teams that have that (quarterback) position filled are salivating."

Mock drafts
Pat Kirwan's latest two-round mock draft included Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick going to the Redskins. Question is, was that selection in the first or second round? More ...

» Mock Draft Central: All the picks

The principle here: The power of one. As in, it only takes one team to like a player and take him off the board. And, from the football folks I've talked to, each quarterback comes off the board for a different reason. Clearly there are differing opinions as to the best quarterback in this draft. 

I've heard "unteachable instincts" could make Andy Dalton the best quarterback in this draft, and also that he's a only "third- or fourth-round talent."

I've also heard Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick could have the highest ceiling, but then was asked by someone else, "You really think he could go in the first round?"

And on. And on. And on.

Plenty of work to do in Pacific Northwest

John Schneider's most recent roots, before taking over as Seahawks GM, were in working for Ted Thompson's Packers regime. During each of Schneider's final four seasons in Green Bay, Thompson assembled the league's youngest roster.

Conversely, the Seahawks had the 10th-oldest roster in the NFL entering the 2010 season. So was it nice for Schneider and Pete Carroll to win the division in Year 1? Sure. But it was hardly indicative of where they are in the rebuilding process, with Schneider looking to mimic a lot of what he learned in Green Bay.

That's why plenty of folks inside the building were pleasantly surprised when the Seahawks went two rounds into the playoffs last season. But it's also why Schneider is determined not to let it alter the plan.

"We did some things to just fill some holes where we ended up getting a little older," Schneider told the Seattle press last week. "We want to be young, tough, smart, fast, aggressive. We want that to be our staple, and get this roster to a point where every year when we go into the draft, that's what we're doing."

Schedule adds another CBA deadline

Is the NFL ready for the possibility that games could be missed in the fall? Sure it is. But those inside the league are also well aware of how the first weekend of the schedule puts an inordinate amount of pressure on both sides to get the labor situation resolved.

One New York team (the Giants) goes to Washington. The other (the Jets) hosts "America's Team" in prime time. The NFL didn't have to do that, and there's an understanding of the consequences. If games on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 are pushed back or cancelled due to a labor dispute, everyone looks terrible. No exceptions.

So, in a way, another unspoken deadline has been strengthened. When I asked folks what deadline would exist in order to have a normal preseason, I came up with July 15. To start the season on time? I'd say the NFL needs to have an agreement in the first couple weeks of August to allow teams time to pursue free agents, sign rookies, hold a truncated training camp and do all else necessary to be up and running in early September.

Sign of the times

You don't hear the term "signability" all that often in the NFL outside of the top couple picks. But it could come into play more this year than in the past, with no guarantee yet that a rookie salary scale will be in place.

The chance exists, of course, that the lockout lasts into the summer. If the season is set to start in short order under that scenario, there will be limited time to sign rookies. So, say the New England Patriots take J.J. Watt with the 17th pick. Watt is represented by CAA and Tom Condon, who had a well-publicized falling out with the Patriots over Benjamin Watson's rookie deal in 2004, something Watson eventually split with the agent over.

The fact that Watt is represented by Condon could make a holdout more likely and, with little time to spare, might well impact how much he could contribute as a rookie. I'm not saying this will cause a team to pass on a kid it desires, but for those who don't think that kind of thing could be real, I offer you the Condon's comments to the "Boston Herald" in September 2009: "We pretend there are 31 franchises in the NFL now, and (the Patriots) pretend we don't exist."

NFL Draft's family ties

Maybe only I found this interesting ... just one quarterback in this year's draft, which is full of interesting family connections to the NFL, has a father who got a taste of professional football. That quarterback is Cam Newton, whose dad Cecil (the source of much controversy during the fall) had training camp stints with the Cowboys and Bills.

Some of the more notable sons: RB Mark Ingram (Mark Sr.), LB Casey Matthews (Clay), LB Greg Lloyd (Greg Sr.), DL Cam Heyward (Ironhead) and DL Cameron Jordan (Steve). Among those, only the two linebackers play the same position as their dads.

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @albertbreer.

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