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Mallett And Newton Going In Different Directions

When the 2010 college football season began, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was the A-1 NFL quarterback prospect in the SEC.  Cam Newton was just another guy.

Fast-forward a few months and things have flip-flopped.  Now Newton’s draft stock is soaring while Mallett’s is in decline.  The ex-Razorback, sadly, hasn’t helped his own cause while Newton has.

Mallett has announced that he will throw at the NFL combine this week, but that he’ll hold off and do a number of other conditioning-type drills on the Arkansas campus.  Lots of players do that.  Scouts and GMs just don’t like it.  And Mallett needs to be winning people over right now.

For months there have been rumors of marijuana and cocaine use by the former Hog QB.  Yesterday, former St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers executive Tony Softli said in his new radio gig that “heavy rumors of drug use and possible addiction kept (Mallett) from coming out for the 2010 draft.”

Ouch.

Mallett needs to do himself a favor and do anything and everything that scouts ask him to do.  First, he’ll need to be open and honest with league execs when they ask him about drug use and perceived leadership issues in interview sessions.  If he’s evasive or shows anger, Mallett’s stock could really plummet.  Second, he needs to do the drills scouts ask him to do.  When your stock is rising, you can set the schedule.  When it’s not, you need to win some people over.  Mallett needs to win some people over.  If NFL GMs say, “Jump,” Mallett should say, “How high?”

Newton, meanwhile, has aced the run-up to the combine.  His decision to hold a media-only workout — at first criticized — turned out to be a brilliant move.  According to ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, the skills Newton displayed in San Diego will have scouts drooling at the combine in Indianapolis.  And Newton plans to participate fully in Indy. 

For Newton, his size, strength and skills will all go into the plus column.  Now he just has to ace the interviews.  For starters, he might want to tone down the bravado.

This week, Peter King of SI.com reported that Newton told him in a phone interview: “I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon.”  He sees himself as an icon?

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports also chatted with Newton and asked him about the fact that he played just one year as a starter in college.  “I’m aware of that statement,” Newton said.  “I don’t want to sound arrogant but I did something in one year people couldn’t do in their whole collegiate careers.  We had a chance go do something great and we did it.”

Good thing he doesn’t want to sound arrogant.

At least Newton has his body on his side.  He’s working from a position of strength and needs to avoid undercutting his own draft stock with his mouth.

Mallett needs to get himself back into the race.  He needs to show off skills — all of them — and use his mouth to explain away the fears many teams have about him.

Newton’s stock is great.  Mallett’s stock is not.  Who would have seen that coming back in August of 2010?

 


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