Mel Kiper's fourth mock draft for 2011 provides the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed.
I'll begin with a look at his projection for the Seattle Seahawks, who hold the No. 25 overall choice.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Kiper's give: Locker has worked hard to help scouts forget about a bad season of tape, and did enough at his recent pro day to get more positive vibes attached to his stock among evaluators. As we've said before, Locker has a big-time arm, a great attitude, elite athleticism for the position, but has unfortunately lacked accuracy, the one trait most of us believe is the most innate.
Sando's take: Kiper is sticking with Locker in this spot for his second mock in a row. Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett and Florida offensive lineman Mike Pouncey were the choices previously. The Seahawks need a quarterback, no question. Long-time starter Matt Hasselbeck remains unsigned and it's unclear whether the team will bring him back. Selecting Locker would allow the Seahawks to say they addressed the position, but would they have found their next quarterback? They likely would not find out in 2011. It's tough taking a higher-risk, long-term quarterback project in the first round without having a veteran with the ability to win games in the interim. Would Locker fit the Seahawks' offense? It's safe to assume the Seahawks would make their offense fit Locker if they drafted him in the first round. We know coach Pete Carroll wants Seattle to become a hard-nosed running team. Perhaps Locker's athletic ability would help the Seahawks take fuller advantage of play-action fakes.