Ryan Mallett isn’t particularly fast. And when it comes to that lack of speed, the best thing we’ve seen coming off his 5.37-second time in the 40-yard dash at his pro day Tuesday was this:
“I’m not Mike Vick,” Mallett said. “Everybody knows that.”
We’re not concerned about Mallett’s straight-line speed, and it’s a good bet NFL teams aren’t either. Anyone remember the 40 times of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger? A source who spoke to Mallett says the quarterback believes he’ll be able to escape the pocket and run when he needs to on the next level — think Roethlisberger-esque — which is exactly what he did at Arkansas.
There’s little debate about what Mallett does well, which is spin the ball. He has what is often described as a “wow” arm that makes teams drool and is widely considered the best in the draft.
Bucky Brooks recently noted Mallett’s natural talent is “unrivaled” in this year’s draft. Pat Kirwan has described Mallett as a first-round talent … but with second- or third-round questions. Fair or not, the reality for Mallett is that the focus is currently on the rumors of possible drug use and how he handled himself when confronted with character questions during his combine interview.
Amid the scrutiny, Mallett said during an interview on “The Dan Patrick Show” that he “definitely” didn’t leave the podium early and wasn’t bothered by the line of questioning.
“That’s the thing, I didn’t walk out,” Mallett said. ”And wasn’t frustrated in the least bit. I was expecting all those questions because of all the things that are being said from who knows where. So I was expecting those things.”
He should be, because those will be the same questions NFL executives ask during closed-door interviews.
Patrick pressed some on the drug rumblings, and Mallett said not only did he pass the drug test at the combine, but that he “never failed a drug test at Arkansas.”
While Mallett — or any other player — may indeed believe he passed the combine test in question, or was merely expressing confidence that he did, a league source confirmed players currently have no way of knowing the results of those tests. Drug testing at the combine is handled by an independent third-party company hired by the NFL.
We’re not here to put Mallett on trial or even substantiate rumors. But clearly, these questions for Mallett are now out in the open. What remains to be seen is which teams don’t believe they’re a real concern, or how much they’re willing to risk to find out.