If you are like me, then you're also probably wondering what to make out of Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett. On one hand, we hear about the "character concerns" that surround the big quarterback. And we did see a small example of the "maturity issues" that have been discussed when he abruptly ended his press conference with the media at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
On the other hand, Mallett has been simply outstanding during his passing drills on the field - both at the Combine and again at his Pro Day workout on Tuesday. Now I can't help but wonder if the Dolphins should seriously be considering the 6'6 signal caller.
Mallett was the most impressive quarterback on the field at the Combine. Tony Pauline, one of the most respected draft analysts, called Mallett's Combine performance the best QB performance at the Combine of the past ten years. Now Mallett has followed up on his performance in Indianapolis by having a very strong passing performance at Arkansas' Pro Day.
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks referred to Mallett's workout as "absolutely sensational." Brooks writes:
The junior was absolutely sensational during the workout, and his natural talent is unrivaled in this year’s draft. As a strong-armed passer, Mallett easily makes all of the requisite throws in the pro game. He had little trouble putting the ball on the proper shoulder with velocity and zip. His arm strength, touch and accuracy also stood out on deep throws. His high-arcing throws consistently hit receivers in stride 40-45 yards down field, but he also showed the ability to adjust the arc and trajectory of his throws to match the speed of his intended receiver.
Mallett’s footwork and fundamentals were sound in the pocket, as he quickly sets up and comes to balance following three-, five- or seven-step drops. His natural rhythm comes from his extensive experience running a pro-style attack, and he shouldn’t have any problem transitioning to the next level from a physical standpoint.
Brooks went on to compare Mallett to Drew Bledsoe. Other scouts in attendance, according to Brooks, threw out names such as Dan Foutes and Dan Marino (no, I couldn't believe it, either) when asked to draw comparisons to Mallett.
But the comparisons make sense in terms of Mallett's arm strength and ability to throw the football as well as Mallett's athleticism - or rather, lack thereof. As expected, Mallett ran a very slow 40 time (5.37) and didn't do very well at all in the athletic drills, leading to the term "statue quarterback" being thrown around.
To me, Mallett has always reminded me of a Bledsoe type of quarterback because of his lack of athleticism. The comparison to Marino, though, is ridiculous. Marino may have been unathletic in terms of his ability to scramble. But in the pocket, he was as good as there ever was at avoiding the rush. I'm not so sure Mallett possesses that kind of ability to move within the pocket.
Still, Mallett's pure passing ability has got to have the attention of Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland. He's one of the most physically gifted passers to come out of the draft the past several years.
But will the Dolphins consider taking a chance on a kid like this? Should they?