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The Rise of Ryan Mallett

Cliff WelchIcon SMI

                In September 2010, Brady agreed to a four year contract extension (48.5 million guaranteed) which will keep him in a Patriots uniform through the 2014 season. In April 2011, the Patriots selected quarterback Ryan Mallett in the third round (74th overall pick) of the NFL Draft. Despite the fact that Mallet was the 7th quarterback taken in the 2011 draft, the Patriots ranked him the highest amongst all quarterback prospects entering this year’s draft, and I can’t help but to agree with them.

                ESPN analysts think otherwise and believe Mallett has character issues that will prevent him from becoming a great player in the NFL. Ever since Mallett was arrested on charges of public intoxication in 2009, everyone jumped on the Ryan Mallett hate bandwagon. This is one of the main reasons why Mallett fell too far in the draft. Meanwhile, more than half of Americans in this country drink alcohol on a weekly basis, but that’s beside the point! After watching the combine this past February I thought Ryan Mallett looked like the most natural quarterback in his class. Of course you can’t blame the Panthers for drafting Cam Newton first overall, but Ryan Mallett has the intangibles to develop into a pure pocket passing quarterback. Who better to mentor Ryan Mallett than Tom Brady and the New England Patriots?

                In his preseason game debut, Mallett drove the Patriots down the field for four scores to set up a 35 point rout against the Jags in the second half.  Ryan Mallett went 12 for 19 with 164 yards with a touchdown pass while 10th overall pick in the draft Blaine Gabbert went 9 for 16 with 84 yards and no touchdown passes. I know Ryan Mallett didn’t play against first team starters but his accuracy and arm strength still awed the fans at Gillette Stadium and Blaine Gabbert couldn’t help but comment after the game, “Ryan did a great job.”  Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White also had something to say, tweeting after the game, “Ryan Mallett 12-16 for 174 and a TD got all the way to the 3rd round gone be a great player in this league and Blaine Gabbert 9-16 85 yards I can bet he won't be better than Mallett." Brandon Marshall also tweeted, “Listen to me. Ryan Mallett will be an All-Pro Qb.”

                I know it may be too early to crown Mallett just yet and a little too premature for ESPN analysts to broadcast a nationwide apology for trying to dress up as NFL scouts, but Mallett did silence his critics in his first performance as a Patriot.  What if the kid keeps it up? In two years, Mallett won’t be just a kid and we all know coach Belichick likes to get rid of players a little too early rather than a little too late so is Tom Brady going to be an exception to this rule?  I doubt it, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Coach Belichick knows what he’s doing, just ask Drew Bledsoe.