Michael Rosenberg of SportsIllustrated.com refers to Mallett as "a top-five talent." The same player, however, checks in at No. 139 on ProFootballWeekly.com's prospect list.
There's also a significant difference of opinion on Alabama running back Mark Ingram. Bob Rang of CBSsportsline.com lists him No. 5 among all draft prospects. Conversely, Russ Lande of SportingNews.com has him pegged to be the 52nd player chosen, going to the Giants with pick 20 in Round 2.
That's what is so intriguing about the NFL Draft: Everybody has an opinion but nobody has a clue. All it takes is one GM making one off-the-wall pick to throw the draft off its anticipated course.
That said, take everything you read hereafter with a grain of salt:
TRACKING THE TALENT
One cool aspect of Scout.com's draft rankings is that they include a state-by-state breakdown that is quite revealing. For instance:
It's no surprise that the two SEC states who produce the most draft-worthy talent are Florida (37) and Georgia (21). The puzzler is how far the rest of the SEC states lag behind the Big Two. Mississippi produced nine players rated draft-worthy, Alabama and South Carolina eight each, Louisiana five, Tennessee and Arkansas four each. Kentucky brings up the rear with just one native son being rated draft-worthy, and that's Berea native Luke Stocker, who fled the state and played tight end for Tennessee.
Interestingly enough, none of the four native Tennesseans Scout considers draft prospects played for the home-state Vols. Receiver Randall Cobb (Alcoa) played for Kentucky, kicker Josh Jasper (Memphis) played for LSU, tight end Lee Smith (Powell) played for Marshall and guard Daniel Kilgore (Kingsport) played for Appalachian State.
Stocker could be off the board by the time Round 3 ends Friday night or he still could be sitting by the phone well into Saturday's drafting. There is considerable difference of opinion on where the ex-Vol will be selected. The mock draft compiled by John Crist of Scout.com has him going to the Steelers in Round 3 with the 97th overall pick. The mock draft of FoxSports' Peter Schrager has him going to the Falcons in Round 4 with overall pick No. 124. Lande's mock draft for Sporting News has Stocker going to Arizona in Round 5.
The draft analysts seem a little more in agreement on former Vol wide receiver Denarius Moore. Most view him as a fifth-rounder. Schrager has him going to Kansas City with Pick 9 in Round 5, while Lande has him going to Pittsburgh with Pick 31 in Round 5.
RATING THE VOLS
Pro Football Weekly took on the imposing task of ranking nearly 1,000 draft-eligible players. Here's where the ex-Vols rank:
79. TE Luke Stocker
291. WR Denarius Moore
434. DE/OLB Chris Walker
472. PK Daniel Lincoln
584. LB LaMarcus Thompson
590. WR Gerald Jones
606. FB Kevin Cooper
642. DE/OLB Gerald Williams
781. LB Nick Reveiz
810. G Jarrod Shaw
816. P Chad Cunningham
Only two Vols qualified for Scout.com's positional rankings: Stocker is No. 3 at tight end, Moore No. 18 at wide receiver.
Cooper is not listed among 10 fullbacks. Walker, Williams and Thompson are not among the 25 outside linebacker prospects. Reveiz is not among the 20 middle linebacker prospects. Shaw is not among the 20 guards. Lincoln is not among the five kickers and Cunningham is not among the five punters. Victor Thomas is not among 25 defensive tackles.
Lande's ratings for SportingNews.com show Stocker No. 5 among 32 tight ends, Moore No. 16 among 45 wideouts, Reveiz No. 17 among 26 inside linebackers, Thompson No. 22 among 40 outside linebackers and Williams No. 31 among 40 defensive ends. Like most draft analysts, Lande projects that Stocker and Moore will be the only Vols selected.