Bahn: Mallett's Patience Tested, Then Rewarded As Patriots Select Him In Round 3

by Chris Bahn  on Saturday, Apr. 30, 2011 5:00 pm  

Ryan Mallett visits with the New England Patriots as agent J.R. Carroll reacts. Mallett was taken Friday in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

HUMNOKE — Boredom and frustration had officially set in for Ryan Mallett at about 6:30 on Friday night. Six quarterbacks were selected ahead of Mallett, and the player once projected as a first-round prospect needed a break.

To take his mind off the situation — and perhaps blow off a little steam — Mallett and about 10 friends and family members headed outside for some skeet shooting. Teams continued to pass on the 6-foot-6 Texarkana product and for about an hour-and-a-half Mallett continued to find ways to pass the time at the vast hunting lodge that served as his draft headquarters.

Mallett was on the phone with a friend when an unidentified number popped up on his iPhone a little after 8 p.m. He quickly excused himself from the call he was on, figuring something “important was about to happen.”

It was the New England Patriots calling to inform Mallett they were picking him in the third round with the 74th pick overall. Though he’d been through an excruciating two-day wait and three months of considerably scrutiny, it might end up being worth his while.

“After going through this process, I’m more excited than you could imagine,” Mallett said. “After the past three or four months, everything I’ve had to deal with and had to hear, it cost me. I can’t do nothing about it. I’m going to go up there and learn as much as I can.”

Mallett, who faced persistent rumors of drug use and questions about his on and off field decision-making, goes to what is widely considered as the top franchise in the NFL. He’ll have the opportunity to work behind MVP Tom Brady and play for Bill Belichick, regarded as one of the best coaches and evaluators of talent in the league.

Depending on what transpires with the NFL lockout, Mallett could be in line for a four-year deal. He went nearly 10 picks higher than Colt McCoy did last year. McCoy, like Mallett, is represented by Califoria-based firm Athletes First and signed a four-year deal worth $5 million with $1.07 million guaranteed.

Regardless of the payout, Mallett’s local representative said the situation is a rewarding one.

“We’re really glad this process is over and couldn’t have found a better organization than the Patriots,” J.R. Carroll said.

Mallett, who was wearing a Patriots hat within minutes of being picked, gets a quality organization. New England gets a quarterback who threw for 7,493 yards and 62 touchdowns in only two seasons with the Razorbacks. Mallett guided Arkansas to a 10-3 season and to its first BCS Bowl appearance in Bobby Petrino’s third season.

Petrino, who defended Mallett throughout the draft process, was happy for his former quarterback. He praised Mallett for maturing while in Fayetteville.

“Each Saturday I saw him make throws no one else in America was making, and I know he has the physical tools to be successful in the NFL,” Petrino said. “Ryan played an instrumental part in the transition when I arrived, and I can’t say enough about what he has done for this program.”



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