There’s no question Ryan Mallett has the physical tools to be successful in the NFL. But it’s not his ability to make the throws or rocket the ball all over the field that’s been the question; it’s the mental side of his game. With questions about maturity, football smarts and off-field issues surrounding Mallett, the Arkansas quarterback took the stage and met with the media on Saturday, and he didn’t impress at all.
Take, for instance, this statement from Doug Farrar following Mallett’s media session.
Ryan Mallett didn’t impress anyone I talked to when he was at the podium. Whatever public speaking coaching he got didn’t take.
Or Wes Bunting, who ripped the physically-gifted quarterback, as well. Bunting did add that Mallett said he could throw the ball 80 yards, which could keep him in the first round despite questions about his character.
Don’t trust #Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett…end of story, guy rubs me the wrong way and he wouldn’t be on my draft board. Period. #NFLDRAFT
Mallett has been unable to shake questions about his mentality and work ethic, even with plenty of opportunities to change the perception. One can argue it’s the off-field activities at the combine — interviews with general managers, media meetings, etc — that are of the utmost importance to Mallet, and it appears he failed those miserably on Saturday. While he’ll no doubt impress in the physical activities, wowing scouts with his throwing ability, if he can’t sell teams on his personality and work ethic, his stock will plummet farther than it already has.
Mallett is currently the fourth-best quarterback — behind Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton and Jake Locker — in the draft according to most big boards, and may be an option for the Seattle Seahawks. But with questions about his character, would the Seahawks take a chance on him in hopes he’ll develop into a franchise quarterback? If he’s unable to convince a team he’s willing to put in the time and effort to become a top-flight quarterback, while avoiding off-filed issues, there’s a strong chance Mallett slides out of the first round.
For more on the workouts and interviews, check out our 2011 NFL Combine StoryStream.