Monday, April 18, 2011

Ryan Mallett: The Bomb

Well, it didn't take as long as expected for the Ryan Mallett bomb to get dropped...albeit partially.

Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Narwocki drops the first part of the news. Ryan Mallett, the former Arkansas QB did admit to NFL personnel at the Combine that he did use drugs, other than marijuana, recreationally while attending Arkansas.

I found this quote to be especially telling:

"One GM said Mallett was the first quarterback ever to admit his drug usage to him in interviews." Mallett never had a positive drug test at Arkansas, but sources tell Nawrocki that he has a reputation as a "big party guy." Said one league executive, "I would not take him at any point (in the draft)."

As for Mallett, it'll be interesting to see how this hurts his stock. I've seen him going as high (no pun intended) 4 to the Cincinnati Bengals in some mock draft circles. As far as pure passing talent, Mallett is easily tops in this draft, and his skills in various chalk-talk (play diagramming) sessions have been superb according to all reports. However, you've really got to be sure he's broken these habits.

Interestingly enough, about 30 years ago, another highly touted quarterback with excellent arm talent, entered the draft and was linked to drug problems in college, specifically cocaine use. His name: Dan Marino. The rumors hurt Marino's stock as he was the last quarterback taken in the fabled first round of 1983. He was the best quarterback from that class, regardless if John Elway won two Super Bowls handing the ball of to Terrell Davis. For history's sake, here's how it shook out:

1. Baltimore Colts - John Elway - Stanford (Elway demanded a trade to Denver).
7. Kansas City Chiefs - Todd Blackledge - Penn State
14. Buffalo Bills - Jim Kelly - Miami
15. New England Patriots - Tony Eason - Illinois
24. New York Jets - Ken O'Brien - UC-Davis
27. Miami Dolphins - Dan Marino - Pittsburgh

Statistically, Marino owned every major statistical category over all of these QBs, except he trails John Elway in all-time wins by one: 148-147. Obviously Marino overcame the rumors and played for 16 seasons at a Hall of Fame level.

While I'm not crowning Ryan Mallett the next Dan Marino, it'll be interesting to see if he suffers a worse slide in the draft. I expect this is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to Mallett, as this wasn't quite the "bomb" I was expecting.

All things considered, I don't know if Mallett will slide out of the first round, as he did admit it of his on volition. Better to get it out there personally and truthfully, rather than to be found out later on having lied to your potential employer. Stay tuned.


  1. Personally, I don't understand the big whoop about players drug and alcohol use in college. I mean, they're 18-22 years old, and surrounded by women, booze, and drugs. They know they're subjected to drug tests; Mallet has no positive tests. If he boozes, and can still perform at his level, more power to him. He didn't get paid to play college football. I'd take a flyer on an QB like him and see if he can work out his character issues once he's making the big bucks. As far as I'm concerned, I'd take the fact that he's honest that he used drugs as a positive sign that he's trying to change his life around and confront what he's done in the past.

  2. I think it's a plus for Mallett's stock that he admitted it of his own volition; that should save him some of the slide that's expected. Personally, I think I'd be willing to take him in the top 5.

    The thing that hasn't been uncovered yet is the extent of his use. I've got one source that I trust, a lot, that says Mallett's only use was in high school. In that case, I'd throw it out the window completely. However, if it proves to be that he was using intermitently at Arkansas and never had a positive test you've got to worry if it's a long-term thing. I don't think he's Josh Hamilton by any means where you need surveillance on him 24/7, but it is worrysome giving a guy with that type of problem millions upon millions of dollars.