The Seattle Seahawks will be flying in Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett to their team headquarters, according to a source.
I typically don't put a great deal of stock into the travels of prospects during this time of year. While it makes for interesting fodder, the reality is, the vast majority of players selected will NOT have been flown in for a visit with their new team prior to the draft.
That the Seahawks are bringing in Mallett, however, is interesting in a couple of different ways.
For one, Seahawks' General Manager John Schneider was at Mallett's Pro Day workout. This is believed to be the only Pro Day workout Schneider has attended so far this year.
Secondly, the Seahawks could be in considerable need of a quarterback. Incumbent starter Matt Hasselbeck is scheduled for free agency. Head coach Pete Carroll said last week at the Owners' Meetings that the Seahawks "made a run" at re-signing Hasselbeck prior to the lockout.
"Financially, we went after it and couldn't get it done," Carroll said. "In my mind, it kind of came right down to the final day of it. We made an effort and they made an effort."
The Seahawks have veteran Charlie Whitehurst waiting in the wings, but in limited duty in his first season with the Seahawks (six games). Whitehurst failed to impress. He did, however, help Seattle beat the St. Louis Rams in the final regular season game of the year, giving the Seahawks the NFC West divisional crown. With Hasselbeck healthy the next week, the Seahawks beat the Saints in the opening round of the playoffs befoe losing on the road at Chicago the next week.
Should the Seahawks be able to re-sign Hasselbeck or feel comfortable enough with Whitehurst as their starter, the team has plenty of quaterback options to consider. The team has previously been linked to several passes including Florida State's Chistian Ponder, TCU's Andy Dalton, Washington's Jake Locker and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.
With the exception of Ponder, however, most of these quarterbacks are viewed as developmental prospects. Should Seattle be unable to re-sign Hasselbeck, find another veteran option to compete with Whitehurst or feel Whitehurst is not the answer, the Seahawks could feel pressure to draft a quarterback who could contribute immediately.
The only two quarterbacks likely to be available at Seattle's No. 25 pick who are considered "pro-ready" are Mallett and Ponder.
Ponder fits Seattle's West Coast Offense better, but at 6-2, 230 pounds and with a history of injuries, he is a gamble.
Mallett is unquestionably the more gifted prospect. But, of course, concerns about his on and off-field decision-making makes him evey bit the gamble, as well.