Quarterback Ryan Mallett is big (6-7, 250), has a great arm, put up big numbers for Arkansas against SEC competition, took them to the Sugar Bowl this past season, and did all under a coach (Bobby Petrino) who knows how to develop quarterbacks. He even impressed scouts in throwing drills at the NFL combine.
So why do many seem so unsure of Mallett? Well, that would be the dreaded “character questions” label, and common thought was that in his media session yesterday, he did little to dispel them. The main reason: he declined to answer questions about allegations of drug use, saying he wanted to keep his responses on the matter between himself and teams with whom he interviewed.
It’s a strange thing, though – my partner in crime Dan Fogarty and I both watched Mallett’s press session, and we both agreed that something just seemed off about Mallett and his responses – even though we didn’t think that was totally fair, since neither of us could quite put our finger on it. We weren’t sure if our impressions were merely tainted by all the questions surrounding Mallett, or whether what we were noticing – whatever it was – was legitimate.
The closest I can come to explaining it was that Mallett had a cocky look and sound to him during the 7 1/2 minutes you’ll see of him below – which is of course not nearly a fair basis on which to judge him as a person. And yet – if I were part of a team potentially making a multi-million-dollar investment in the guy, I’d have to acknowledge it. And whether the perception is legitimate or largely a byproduct of the drug rumors, the fact that those rumors exist will likely hurt Mallett when the draft comes around. Check out the video below and see if you can see what Dan and I are seeing – or think we’re seeing, anyway.