FOXBORO, Mass. — Now that quarterback Ryan Mallett has completed the most grueling test of character evaluation in his life, it's his turn to come out of it with the mentality that he can be better than many believed.
Mallett chose not to fire back at the rumors during his pre-draft campaign, but clearly, his off-the-field concerns translated into a massive slide down the board to the third round, where the Patriots selected him with the 74th pick.
Mallett wasn't shy when asked about his goal to prove everyone wrong.
"Obviously, when there are six other guys at your position taken ahead of you, there’s going to be that," Mallett said sternly.
There's little question that Mallett — who passed for 7,493 yards, 62 touchdowns and 19 interceptions during his two seasons at Arkansas — had the best arm in the draft class, and his actual talent was certainly worthy of a top-five selection.
There was so much unknown, though. Could he stay in the first round if there was a run on quarterbacks? Or would he fall to the fifth round because teams thought he was too risky of a prospect? As it were, the Patriots even made four selections before they drafted the quarterback.
Mallett couldn't control any of that. He had to live with the reputation that he had earned. Now, though, it's his turn to control a new situation and show that he belongs in the NFL.
"Obviously, it's disappointing [to fall to the third round], but I just wanted to hear my name called at any point," Mallett said. "I'm a competitor, so now it's my turn to go compete. I get to compete in the highest level of football that there is, and there’s not a better opportunity."