If Auburn’s Cam Newton hasn’t been the most scrutinized figure in the NFL draft this year, then Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett certainly has been. Rumors of regular drug use by the quarterback have been as consistent as the praise over his cannon arm and tall frame, even though Mallett has never tested positive during a drug test. As if that’s not bad enough, NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes called him a “Caucasian street guy” who speaks with an Eminem or Vanilla Ice type of slang.
Apparently Dukes isn’t the only one who’s made that observation about Mallett. According to ESPN, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino tried to polish up Mallett’s speech his first summer in Fayetteville to make him appear more like a face of the program. Petrino had Mallett attend a class on speaking with the public and had him hone his communication skills with Chuck Barrett, the voice of Razorbacks football. “Blame it on texting and technology, Petrino says” according to the article.
Now even if Mallett’s character is defended vigorously against rumors of drug use by Petrino, a few noteworthy comments make you wonder if some of the stuff is true. Mallett’s father called his son “immature” his first year at Michigan (where Ryan first went to school before transferring to Arkansas). Ryan even admitted it took some time to mature after transferring. I understand that 17-year-olds can be immature when they’re living on a college campus for the first time — I’m sure I was — but maybe that’s where some of the character concerns have come from.
The only question now is whether Mallett is still immature, or if he’s ready to be the leader of an NFL team. When it comes to draft time, all it takes is one team out of 32 to believe he can be a leader and he’ll be set. Then it’s on him to prove all the character concerns were unfounded.Google+