Tip Sheet notes: QB pool deep in '11
There are two possible top-10 quarterback prospects in the 2010 draft -- surefire lock Sam Bradford of Oklahoma and Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame (and he is iffy) -- but there are at least that many who would have been eligible for this month's lottery but opted to remain in school for another season.
The inclusion of Jake Locker of Washington and Ryan Mallett of Arkansas could have made this year a quarterback treasure trove. At the midpoint of the college season, most scouts projected Locker as the top overall choice because of his combination of size, speed, arm strength and athleticism. But Locker, who clocks even faster than Hall of Famer Steve Young, decided after much deliberation to remain with the Huskies and benefit from another season under the tutelage of Washington coach and noted quarterback mentor Steve Sarkisian.
Suffice it to say, Locker's decision broke a lot of hearts around the league.
Not since 1999 -- when Tim Couch (Cleveland), Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia) and Akili Smith (Cincinnati) were tabbed with the top 3 selections -- has a draft class featured three quarterbacks in the top 10. This year might have ended that drought.
As good as Bradford is, most scouts privately acknowledge that Locker would have had a higher grade and less uncertainty about his health, and that Mallett would have challenged for top-10 status as well.
Football people usually detest the hackneyed "wait until next year" adage. But in terms of the anticipated quarterback class for 2011, the old saw applies.