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Is Ryan Mallett The Future Successor to Tom Brady?

Does Ryan Mallett have what it takes to be the future face of the franchise in New England? (Photo on Panthers Gab)

On Draft Weekend 2008, the Patriots selected a project quarterback from San Diego State University. Known for his big arm and ability to move outside the pocket, many felt the 6-6, 225-pound rookie eventually would take over for Tom Brady.

A year later, New England released 2008 third round pick Kevin O’Connell.

Now, Bill Belichick and co. have embarked on a new, more challenging, project. A project that openly admitted to drug use, a project that ditched a meeting with the Carolina Panthers — who held the No. 1 overall pick — because of a good  night out, and a project that is viewed as a thug, white southern boy.

Meet Ryan Mallett. The future of the New England Patriots franchise.

After bedazzling the league with more lopsided trades — see Oakland — the Patriots actually made some draft choices Friday night. In the second round, New England added yet another cornerback with the selection of Virginia’s Ras-I Dowling. Later in the second, and into the third, the running need was addressed…twice. California back Shane Vereen, who’s already be labeled the ‘next Kevin Faulk,’ was selected with the No. 56 overall pick. With thier first pick in the third round, the Patriots added LSU’s Stevan Ridley.

But, no other pick garnered as much interest as the Mallett selection at No. 74 overall.

In the year of the quarterback, it was Mallett’s name that resonated throughout Thursday and into Friday. Some pre-draft chatter advised that Mallett could go as high as No. 15 to Miami, but inevitably he fell. If you haven’t noticed a theme, ESPN runs with whoever is falling in that particular draft and lives and dies by when their selected. (side note: where is Todd McShay?)

Anyway, let’s cut to the chase.

Brady will turn 34 if we ever play a game next season — the NFL pushed back into a lockout, by the way — and obviously the Patriots want the quarterback to replace him to be well-schooled. The current backup situation is bleak. Brian Hoyer, although solid, can’t really be counted on to carry the team in the event of a injury to Brady. Even still, Hoyer is 25 years old and would be around 29 when Brady retires. Plus, outside of Hoyer, there is virtually no one else (sorry Jonathan Crompton).

Mallett will provide healthy training camp competition for Hoyer, with all intentions to be the future successor to Brady. But, does Mallett have it in him?

Perhaps the most NFL-ready quarterback, Mallett has the biggest arm of anyone in the draft. He stands at a tall 6-6, but offers little-to-no mobility in the pocket. Mallett has played against the cream of the crop in the SEC, passing for 3,869 yards and 32 touchdowns this season with Arkansas. On the field, Mallett looks fantastic, but it’s his attitude off the field that is his biggest concern.

We touched on some of his problems in the open, but the level of Mallett’s immaturity is alarming. It was almost brutal to watch ESPN analyst– and the self proclaimed quarterback promoter — Jon Gruden break down tape with Mallett in Gruden’s quarterback camp. It’s not that Mallett didn’t know Xs and Os, he’s quite smart in that category, but it was Mallett’s presence that personally left me, a viewer, feeling awkward.

Whether it was the countless “yes sir” mumbled responses without direct eye-contact from Mallett, or simply his tone. It’s never good to pass judgment on an individual and by now we should know that the Patriots have done their homework, but I ask one question.

Honestly, do you see Ryan Mallett as the face of the most respected organization in professional football?

Belichick seems to think so. He doesn’t appear to be too concerned with the labels that are attributed with Mallet. But, why would he be? In the past Belichick has taken on “questionable character” players like Corey Dillon, Randy Moss and Brandon Meriweather and it has worked in the Patriots’ favor.

“He’s definitely a football guy. He’s a great kid to talk to. He’s very into football. You can’t wear him out — as long as you want to talk about it, he’ll be there. However many hours it is, he’s ready to go watch the next film or go talk about a new technique or read or whatever.

Like with all these rookies, time is of the essence. Is this New England’s Aaron Rodgers? Or another Kevin O’Connell?

Follow me on Twitter: @M_Marcantonio

About Matthew Marcantonio - @M_Marcantonio

Matthew Marcantonio is the Patriots and college football editor at Sports of Boston. Marcantonio has contributed for two newspapers; the Sentinel & Enterprise (Leominster, Mass) and The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La) and held internships with The Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated.

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Discussion

4 comments for “Is Ryan Mallett The Future Successor to Tom Brady?”

  1. Get your facts straight, Mallet did NOT miss a meeting with Carolina because of a “Night out”. Check your sources, Bro. The story has been debunked by agents AND the Panthers. It’s irresponsible reporting and it needs to stop! Want something to back it up? Here it is. Every reporter that has published repeats of this story should have to publish PUBLIC apologies to Ryan Mallet!

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/672299-nfl-draft-2011-ryan-mallet-story-false-enough-with-irresponsible-journalism

    I’m not saying he has the greatest “presence” nor that he comes across as the sharpest tool in the shed, but the constant harping on unsubstantiated stories gets tiresome.

    In short, writers need to check stories out before publishing potentially damaging stories. Untrue stories are told often enough, and they become accepted as truth. It’s funny how a scandalous story makes the front page, but the retraction is considerably closer to the rear.

    I think the Pats are a great place for him to learn and develop under some of the best minds in the NFL. Time will tell if he ever plays an appreciable amount in New England or if he ends up like Cassel and is dealt to another team where he is able to do well.

    Posted by Chris | May 1, 2011, 3:42 am
  2. Chris, this is a he-he said deal. Obviously his agents said one thing, the right thing to say, but it’s not crazy to think that the kid was out the night before.

    I have a very solid source who goes to Arkansas and told me that he would see Mallett out all the time and that he was “big into drugs.”

    Agents say one thing. You never know what to believe. But I’ll take Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Talk and ESPN.

    Posted by Matthew Marcantonio | May 1, 2011, 10:26 am
  3. THIS STORY IS AN OUT RIGHT LIE–THAT HAS BEEN DISPROVEN BY THE PANTHERS THEMSELVES.

    Posted by mike | August 10, 2011, 7:25 pm
  4. Over a year now since Ryan Mallet was drafted by the Patriots and if what this “writer” wrote seems so offbase. As we know now Mallet can move pretty well in the pocket. Also he has NOT been arrested or accused of anything criminal or even immoral. If he had all these problems we should have seen something concrete by now. All I hear from the Coach are good things about Mallett. Maybe, just maybe, all that crap were lies. Just saying.

    Posted by Rodney Owens | August 22, 2012, 11:23 pm

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