On Tuesday, I wrote about Washington Huskies QB Jake Locker (blog entry is here), who will definitely get a lot of hype heading toward the 2011 NFL draft. In colleague Todd McShay's very early 2011 mock draft, he has Locker going top-10 (No. 9, to the Jacksonville Jaguars) but also notes that is the result of team needs and "it won't be surprising if he becomes the No. 1 overall pick."
While visiting some schools in the Pacific Northwest last week, the subject of those way-too-early 2011 NFL mock drafts came up a few times. It is an especially tricky subject when it comes to touting quarterbacks. Sometimes, the draft gurus prove to be right on target (Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford so far) and sometimes, those quarterbacks anointed as future top picks, well, they don't even end up as first-rounders. This week's top 10 list: the hyped college quarterbacks who didn't end up getting picked where some projected them to. (Caveat: I tried to focus this group mostly from draft projections one year out, not off of high school recruiting rankings.)
1. John Walsh, Brigham Young Cougars:
NFL personnel folks supposedly were really high on Walsh's arm. Colleague Mel Kiper certainly was, talking about the Cougars quarterback as a first-rounder. Walsh had thrown for more than 8,300 yards and 66 TDs in his career, and in his final game at BYU, Walsh threw for 454 yards and four TDs in a 31-6 Copper Bowl win over Oklahoma. He bolted for the NFL. Unfortunately, for Walsh, he ended up falling to the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round and never played in an NFL game. Ironically, Steve Sarkisian -- now Locker's coach -- ended up transferring to BYU from a junior college because of the void left by Walsh, a childhood friend of Sarkisian's. "He was a tall guy and he could throw the ball. He just lacked foot speed," said Sarkisian.
2. Jevan Snead, Mississippi Rebels:
The one-time Texas quarterback really turned some heads late in the 2009 season, putting up a 14-2 TD-INT ratio in the Rebs' final five games. His stock with draft analysts surged. Then in the 2010 season, he turned some stomachs.
Eight to go. Could Mallett, Luck or Locker hit this list in a few years? We'll know then -- but for now, read this. It's an interesting archive of history related to "big arm, good accuracy" projections. For it, you must be an ESPN Insider.