Ryan Mallett ran the 40-yard dash on Tuesday and stirred up an Internet firestorm in the process. Mallet, whose name has been mentioned among the elite quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft class, isn’t an athletic specimen like Jake Locker or Ryan Mallet, but does possess a cannon for an arm. One would expect the former Arkansas quarterback could at least run a respectable 40. But alas, it wasn’t to be.
Instead, Mallett set the track ablaze at Arkansas’ Pro Day on Tuesday, clocking a blistering 5.37 second 40-yard dash. To put it in perspective, Locker and Newton each ran 4.59 40s, with Christian Ponder running a 4.65 40. But maybe it’s not fair to compare Mallett to some of the more physically gifted quarterbacks. So let’s dig deeper.
Marcell Dareus is nearly 320 pounds and a defensive lineman. He ran a 40 in the mid 4.9-second range. Nick Fairley? Also in the low-to-mid 4.9-second range. In fact, 30 defensive linemen ran the 40 faster than Mallett did.
His performance spawned a meme on Tuesday morning, with Twitter exploding as people added things that were faster than Mallett’s 40. How fast he runs doesn’t matter — he’s a pocket quarterback, something we’ve known all along — but the perception hasn’t been positive. It’ll go down as a joke and nothing more, but a 5.37 40 isn’t the stuff dreams are made of.
Luckily for Mallett, redemption came in the throwing drills. By all accounts, he threw well, showing off his cannon for an arm, impressing with his touch on deep passes and the zip on his throws. His ability to show improved accuracy, while displaying his throwing power, far outweighs Mallett’s ability to run 40 yards in a straight line. While he’s not mobile, there’s no denying his arm strength and pocket passing.
It’s that arm strength that should keep Mallett in the first round, and may land him in Seattle with the 25th pick.
For more on the draft, check out the rest of our 2011 NFL mock draft StoryStream.