Four quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the NFL draft, two more went in the second round, and perhaps the strongest armed QB of them all lasted into the third. It wasn’t until the 74th overall pick that Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was finally selected, and it was by the team that already has Tom Brady — the New England Patriots.
The Pats are the same team that picked up Randy Moss when nobody else wanted to touch him, so maybe it’s no surprise they took a chance on Mallett. Mallett admitted he was immature when he first went to college and he reportedly admitted to drug use during interviews with teams. Despite his problems, there is little doubt he has the arm to be a top NFL quarterback — just ask Brandon Marshall. So why did he drop so far in the draft? There are two reasons to explain his free fall.
One, teams must have been turned off by Mallett’s attitude and past and they must not have believed he could become a successful franchise quarterback. Two, six QB-needy teams decided to take other players ahead of Mallett, meaning there was less demand for a quarterback.
The Patriots, sitting there in the third round with back-to-back picks, decided to pull the trigger on the strong-armed quarterback. The question is if this is about finding a future replacement for Tom Brady or about capitalizing on value. I think it’s much more of the latter than the former.
The Pats had so many draft picks, drafting Mallett 74th overall really isn’t a risk for them. If he doesn’t develop or gets into trouble, all they wasted was a spare pick. But if he matures in a strict environment in New England and becomes a true professional, he could turn into the best quarterback in the class like many people believe he is. The only downside for New England is potential embarrassment should he get into trouble. The upside is the Patriots have a quality backup for Brady (and potential replacement if something happens to him), and they’ll have a major bargaining chip in the future.
Imagine if Mallett gets an opportunity to show how talented he is the way Matt Cassel did. The Pats would then be able to flip him for several picks to a needy team and cash in. This was a low risk, high reward pick by the Pats. In other words, it was an excellent value pick.Google+