For a moment during Tuesday night's Sugar Bowl, it looked like Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was poised to lead the Razorbacks to the biggest comeback win in Sugar Bowl history. Once again, however, as he had countless other times, Mallett forced a throw while under pressure and paid a price. Ohio State linebacker Solomon Thomas stepped in front of Mallett's pass with under a minute to go and the Buckeyes killed the clock, winning 31-26.
With the latest NFL mock draft projecting Mallett as the Seahawks pick at No. 21 in the 2011 NFL Draft, Seattle fans should have been paying attention. We learned Mallett's mobility is a glaring weakness and his decision-making is suspect at times. And his completion percentage? Mallett finished the game completing 24-47 passes, just a hair above 50 percent. His receivers didn't help him, but that's not the kind of number that inspires confidence.
Mallett's draw is his arm strength. Legend has it he can step-up and throw 75 yards on the fly. But with that great arm strength comes an overconfidence that could be his downfall. It appeared, at times, Mallet thought he could fit the ball into any window, something that's plagued him his whole career. It's almost as if he has a high-powered rifle attached to his body, but no idea how to shoot it.
While his arm strength is enticing, it's clear Mallett isn't the kind of top-end quarterback Andrew Luck is. He's got the potential to be a quality, NFL-level starting quarterback, but that completion percentage and his decision-making should make teams wary.