I like to picture Ryan Mallett in a tuxedo T-Shirt because it says I want to be formal, but I’m here to party.
According to a report on Pro Football Weekly that cited an unknown GM, Ryan Mallett likes to party. The rifle-armed quarterback out of Arkansas admitted at the NFL combine that he had used drugs in the past, but he did pass his combine drug test and all subsequent tests since, as well. The information garnered mixed reactions.
One GM said Mallett was the first quarterback ever to admit his drug usage to him in interviews, and his willingness to be honest about his past and acknowledge issues is viewed as a positive. Concerns about his history of use could impact his draft position, though. Although Mallett did not produce an official positive test at Arkansas, he has been arrested for public intoxication and carries a reputation as a “big party guy,” per sources who have interviewed him. How much teams believe he has matured will weigh into his draft status. “I would not take him at any point,” one executive not in need of a quarterback said. He still figures to be drafted in the second round.
Personally, I really don’t care what a guy does in his spare time. If Ryan Mallett could be an All-SEC quarterback and smoke a little dope on the side, good for him. But I also see why that would be a bit of an issue with NFL GM’s. It’s bad enough when a defensive back or a running back fails a drug test, potentially losing your signal-caller for four games to a season though? That’s a big risk. It will be up to NFL GM’s and front offices to vet Mallett and try to determine if he’s at-risk or past that point.
I’ve never been that high on Mallett, and I’ll be honest some of that isn’t fair. I just never got past all the enthusiastic comparisons (and similiaries) to Chad Henne when he arrived at Michigan his freshman year. If Miami drafts Mallett, I sure hope it’s not at 15.
But, Mallett does intrigue many Dolphins fans. A growing contingent seems to believe he could be the next great Dolphins quarterback, a fact that derives at least partially from his remarkable similarities to Dan Marino. Both were a bit flat-footed with lightning quick releases and rocket arms. Well add one more thing to the list, both came out of school with reputations as partiers. Take one look at Marino from his first few years (long hair, backwards ball-cap, mischievous smile) and it’s not hard to picture it.
Marino did, to his credit, turn out all right too. Though, I’ve always secretly wondered if, knowing what Marino could be capable of, Don Shula didn’t leak the rumors to give his Dolphins a better shot.
And that also illustrates what a crap shoot picking a quarterback in the first round can be. In 1983, in a loaded class many teams had needs at quarterback (and many did find very good young signal-callers in the first round) but Miami, a team coming off a Super Bowl appearance ended up getting the best of the bunch at the back-end of the round. And they haven’t tried picking one in the first round in Miami since.
Regardless of his similarities to the great one, Mallett’s previous drug use will raise a number of flags for a number of teams. Hopefully he has made the wise choice not to sacrafice an NFL livelihood for a chance to get high with his buddies, but that’s a pitfall a lot of players fall into. Only time will tell.