FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady might soon be introducing himself to his successor. Or, the handshake might last nearly as long as Ryan Mallett's stay in New England. The Patriots selected Mallett, the ultra-talented quarterback with big off-the-field question marks with the 74th pick in the draft, which was the selection they received from the Vikings in the Randy Moss trade.
Mallett passed for 7,493 yards, 62 touchdowns and 19 interceptions during his two seasons at Arkansas.
Mallett has a phenomenal level of talent, a huge arm that will remind fans of Drew Bledsoe, and he's got some accuracy to boot. Mallett has plodding footwork that needs plenty of improvement, but he plays fairly well under pressure in late-game situations and has all the physical tools to be a very good quarterback.
Mallett will have to beat out Brian Hoyer for the No. 2 job, but the Patriots probably didn't take Mallett to make any immediate impacts. The Patriots have had the luxury of keeping only two quarterbacks during each of the last two seasons, so it will be up to Mallett to prove he's ready to make them keep a third in 2011.
If the draft were based on talent alone, Mallett might have been the No. 1 pick, but he's been troubled with alcohol issues away from the field, and there have been rumors and reports of drug use, too. Mallett won't face any pressure to win the starting job and can live under the guise of a straight-edged franchise that could turn him around. If Mallett can turn into a model citizen, there's no question he'll be a starting quarterback some day in the NFL
"Obviously, we're comfortable with him. We took him."
–Belichick on Mallett's character concerns.