Physically, the guy has as good a skill set as any prospect to come along in years. He possesses great height, an elite arm and can spin the football with ease on all levels of the field and make all the throws. Therefore, when you have a quarterback prospect with all the physical tools who has been extremely productive in the top conference in America — the SEC — common thought automatically says that this guy should be a first-round pick and a lofty one at that, right?
My response: No. And here’s why.
As we see from Mallett on tape, the guy is a really limited athlete. He struggles to quickly reset his feet when looking for secondary targets and for the most part simply will trust that big arm too much and try to make just about every throw from the waist up once he feels pressure. He has a tendency to fall off throws even with some time in the pocket and not consistently realign his body/feet toward his secondary target, which ultimately causes his accuracy to really suffer. And in my view, if you make him move his feet, he’s done, as he struggles to maintain his balance in his lower half, which directly affects his accuracy with the football.
And even when Mallett has his feet set and is able to stride toward his target, the guy isn’t overly accurate with the football. Sure, his completion percentage has gone up to 66.5 percent this season, but when you actually break down his ball placement on a throw-to-throw basis, he doesn’t grade out real high in that area. He’s got a ton of talented receivers and tight ends to throw to on the Arkansas offense who consistently are able to gain significant separation and give Mallett massive throwing lanes to throw into. Therefore, if his ball placement isn’t perfect, he can still get away with it and complete the pass. However, in the NFL we have seen quarterbacks who come in and showcase elite ball placement have a much easier time making all the throws than simply the strong-armed quarterbacks because of their ability to accurately pinpoint throws and neatly place passes into tight windows, something Mallett will really struggle with at the next level.
Mallett’s lack of ball placement also takes away from his receivers’ ability to consistently run after the catch in the underneath passing game, as they are routinely forced to gear down or even stop because of poorly thrown passes that do not allow them to consistently run at full speed through the pass.
Finally, there are also some concerns about the guys character, surrounding anything from his transfer from Michigan to questions about his overall personality to possibly even some off-the-field issues, as I talked to one area scout this year who told me “I got stuff on Mallett that no one even knows about and I wouldn’t touch him.”
Therefore, when you add up all the negatives on a quarterback like Mallett and take in the facts that he’s not a good athlete, struggles with his footwork, lacks great ball placement even when he has time to set and throw and there are some character concerns attached to his name, there is no way I would feel comfortable taking the guy in the first round. And if I don’t feel comfortable taking him in round one, I don’t think I would take him in round two either. He’s a guy who I would seriously consider just taking off my draftboard and moving on from as a quarterback prospect.
Now, is the guy going to go high? Yes. Is he going to be a first-round pick? In my view most definitely. However, if I were a GM — which I am not — I would just have an extremely hard time putting my career and the team’s future success riding on the rocket arm of Ryan Mallett."
2010: After starting his career in Ann Arbor as a Michigan Wolverine, Mallet bolted the Maize and Blue upon the arrival of Rich Rodriguez. Mallett returned to his native Arkansas to play for Bobby Petrino, who came up through the coaching ranks as a quarterbacks coach. The first thing that stands out about this Razorback is that everything about him is big. Standing at 6’7” and 235 pounds, the SEC signal caller possesses a cannon arm, one capable of making every NFL throw in the book…and some that aren’t. Mallett can get the ball into windows in coverage with an ease that most quarterbacks can only dream of. However, the Arkansas product is not all arm strength; he possesses light feet and excellent footwork for a man his size. After throwing for 30 touchdowns (only seven interceptions) and 3,624 yards some thought the red-shirt sophomore was right to test the NFL waters, but the broad-shouldered passer wisely returned to Arkansas for at least one more season. He still has issues with mechanics and accuracy that he needs to work on, and college is the place to do so. That being said, Mallett oozes with potential and with a big season he could be a top-10 selection. In fact, if all goes well he’ll join the race to be the number one overall selection in the 2011 Draft, should he declare following his junior season.
2009: A pocket passer with the howitzer arm to make any kind of throw, Ryan Mallett has drawn comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger. He may not be very nimble when he’s forced outside the pocket, but he’s not afraid to stand in there a few extra seconds to deliver his throw. The 6’6-signal caller has a great feel for the rush and a quick release, which makes him difficult to get to. Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino has a strong reputation for developing quarterbacks and his latest pupil seems to have all the tools required of the job. The Michigan transfer is well on his way to be being considered a future franchise quarterback at the next level."
He shows toughness in the pocket, stands in strong against the rush and does a nice job commanding the offense. He also shows indecision in the pocket, makes some questionable throws on occasion and must improve his accuracy. Mallett throws with an exaggerated motion which leads to passes ending up behind receivers or high of the mark. He has the physical tools to be a big time prospect but his poor mechanics and marginal accuracy are worrisome."
Negatives: Inconsistent accuracy, tries to throw every pass 100 mph which causes the ball to sail on him... Doesn't hit his receivers in stride, makes his receivers adjust to passes... Awkward throwing motion, will need to be coached up and is a bit of a project as far as mechanics are concerned... Footwork needs improvement, doesn't set his feet... Uses his upper body to fling the ball, needs to stop throwing off his back food and work on his stride... Trusts his arm too much, tries to throw into small windows which will be a problem in the NFL... Comes with character concerns, is said to be withdrawn from teammates and isn't very media friendly... Plays for Bobby Petrino who has a history of great college quarterbacks who have flopped in the NFL (Brian Brohm, Chris Redman, Stefan LeFors, Dave Ragone)... Suffered a concussion in week seven this year against Auburn, knocking him out of the game."
Through six games as a junior, he is completing 69.1 percent of his passes. The numbers started to come last season, proving that Mallett is not all talent and no production. The Michigan transfer tossed 30 touchdowns against just seven interceptions for the Razorbacks, while throwing for 3627 yards. So far this year he is 132 for 191 for 1844 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. Mallett has also run for two scores.
Mallett was probably wise to return to Arkansas for his junior year, at least if the concussion he sustained against Auburn does not become a major factor. He may not be the No. 1 quarterback, at least at the moment, but an overall Top 10 selection in the 2011 draft appears likely."
His footwork is lazy, his accuracy wanes on the move and he makes too many ill-advised throws, coming from a Bobby Petrino offense that tends to mask the deficiencies of his QBs. More troubling than any physical traits, however, are concerns about his intangibles, makeup and character that bear too much resemblance to former Chargers first-round bust Ryan Leaf."
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