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Mallett Just Wants To Be Drafted

The run-up to the NFL draft hasn’t been particularly kind to former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.  Over the past few weeks he’s been called everything from a drug user to Vanilla Ice.  (Not sure which is worse, by the way).  Now, after all the rumors and accusations, Mallett just wants the whole process to come to a close.

“I just want to get my name called and go play ball for any team that wants me,” Mallett said this week.  “And whatever team takes me I’m going to go out there and give them everything I’ve got.”

When it comes to off-field worries, we at aren’t particularly concerned.  Wearing his hat sideways is not something that worked against Mallett in Arkansas’ locker room or on the playing field.  In fact, on the field he’s shown that he’s very coachable.

After his sophomore season, Mallett was anchored to a 55.8 completion percentage.  He had a reputation for struggling in road games.  But as a junior, he improved in both areas.

From 55.8% to 64.7% his completion number jumped.  He also led Arkansas to a 6-2 record away from home with the losses coming to eventual #1 Auburn — in a game in which Mallett was injured — and top-five Ohio State.

While his late-game decision-making against Alabama and OSU has been questioned, Mallett did throw for 380 yards at Georgia in a last-minute win.  He threw for 303 yards in a 41-20 win at East champion South Carolina.  And he threw for 320 more yards and three TDs against LSU in a game that had a Sugar Bowl berth (and $17 million BCS dollars) riding on it.

Is Mallett simply a product of Bobby Petrino’s system?  That’s a fair question.  Tyler Wilson entered the Auburn game after Mallett’s injury and rolled up 332 yards through the air with four touchdowns.  Mallett went out, but the Arkansas offense kept moving the ball. 

Another concern is Mallett’s style of play.  To this New England Patriots fan, I’m reminded of former Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Bledsoe when I see Mallett.  Big build, big arm, big numbers.  However… Mallett is also as slow as Bledsoe.  And as NFL defensive ends got faster throughout Bledsoe’s career, his numbers dropped.  Quite simply: You can’t throw from your backside.

Whether Mallett is a product of Petrino’s system or so slow that he’ll be a sitting duck behind center is anyone’s guess.  But his skills are those of a prototypical, first-round quarterback.  The Vanilla Ice issues might cause the big gunslinger’s stock to drop, but if he can prove that he’s not a system guy and that he can speed up his delivery time — Peyton Manning and Tom Brady don’t win a lot of games with their legs, folks — some team could get a franchise quarterback at a bargain price in tomorrow’s second round.



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