May 3rd, 2011 03:29 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Arkansas
Tags: Drew Bledsoe, New England, QB, San Diego State
Last week I wrote on this site and said on various radio stations across the Southeast that Ryan Mallett a) reminded me of Drew Bledsoe and b) would likely be a steal for someone in the draft if his head’s screwed on tightly. Little did I know Mallett would wind up on Bledsoe’s old team, which also happens to be the one team in sports that I pull for above all others.
And personally I’m happy with New England’s decision to use a third-round pick on the former Arkansas quarterback. His talent — aside from a very slow pair of feet — should’ve landed him a top 15 type of contract. Instead, the Patriots got him with a pick they pilfered from Minnesota in last Fall’s surprisingly shrewd Randy Moss deal. There’s really no potential downside for the Patriots.
As for Mallett, while the folks back in the Natural State continue to focus on the negative press he’s getting, the QB has his future in his own hands now. He’s landed in a place where he can carry the clipboard and back up a future Hall of Famer. He can learn and study and develop and — perhaps — grow up without the pressure associated with being a team’s starter.
If Mallett walks the straight and narrow he should be able to parlay his big arm and his knowledge of the game into a solid professional career. Think Aaron Rodgers. The reigning Super Bowl sat behind Hall of Famer Brett Favre patiently for three seasons. He worked, he studied, he grew. He didn’t complain. And he didn’t flake out. Eventually, he got his own chance to shine.
If Mallett doesn’t keep his nose clean — pun intended — then he could go down in NFL annals as a cross between Ryan Leaf and a 6-foot-7 Eminem. If he is the first guy out of the film room and the first guy off the practice field every day, he’s more likely to be Kevin O’Connell than Rodgers.
Who’s O’Connell? He’s the last “heir apparent” to Tom Brady the Pats drafted with a third round pick. The tall, stout, record-setting quarterback (sound familiar?) from San Diego State was drafted in 2008… and waived in 2009.
Harry King of ArkansasNews.com correctly states the following about New England’s latest third-round QB pick:
Immediately and officially, (Mallett’s) competition to back up Brady includes Brian Hoyer and Jonathan Crompton. Unofficially, his competition is himself.
Patriots coach and football czar Bill Belichick is already a fan of Mallett’s. So the quarterback starts his career with a clean slate. If he keeps it clean and follows the Rodgers’ plan, his draft fall might not be such a bad thing in the long run.
But if all the long-rumored issues turn out to be more than just rumored issues, he might someday realize that he’s have been better off staying in Fayetteville to do some more growing up.
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