There has been a lot of talk about Ryan Mallett’s “character concerns” and “attitude problems” all season, and it came to a head over the past few days as we all prepared for the Sugar Bowl.
I’m usually quick to knock a player down – especially a quarterback – due to character concerns, but I’m struggling to understand exactly what Mallett’s issues are.
To this point the allegations against Mallett are so vague I can’t even bring myself to hold them against him. I made an effort to pay close attention to Mallett’s expressions and body language on the field last night, but I saw very little which concerned me.
At one point Mallett did become frustrated, something which NFL Draft Scout’s Chad Reuter noticed as well. But overall I don’t think he crossed the line in terms of showing up his teammates. His receivers dropped multiple passes, which may have cost his team the game, but Mallett kept his composure. I’ve seen Peyton Manning in similar situations give his receivers some far dirtier looks than anything Mallett did on Tuesday night.
In order for these rumors to emerge, something must be going on behind the scenes. For whatever reason, someone out there doesn’t like Mallett and is quick to supply scouts with stories. Wes Bunting of the National Football Post recently quoted a scout as saying: “I got stuff on Mallett that no one even knows about and I wouldn’t touch him.”
Comments such as that may lead you to believe that Mallett will fall on draft day. It’s certainly possible, but not with the information that is currently out there. Prior to the 2006 draft I heard far worse about Jay Cutler – rumors which I will not repeat because I believe they hold no merit – and the Broncos still selected him in the 1st round.
There is no doubt that teams have heard the same vague reports, and possibly even more detailed comments from those close to the Arkansas program. They will drill Mallett during the interview process, talk to teammates, coaches and anyone else who knows him personally.
In the end, I don’t anticipate Mallett’s stock suffering from these rumors. I believe he is a 1st-round lock and could even come off the board as high as No. 3 to the Buffalo Bills.