When we last checked in on the trio of ex-Razorbacks most likely to get picked in the first few rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft, Ryan Mallett, D.J. Williams and DeMarcus Love were prepping for the hype-filled madhouse that is the draft combine in Indianapolis. How did they do? Read on for the full report:
Ryan Mallett: Out of all the players at the combine, surely none of them had a stranger, more up and down experience than the former Hog QB, who went from being a rumored drug addict who gave a widely-panned press conference to delivering what one expert termed "probably the best passing workout of any quarterback at the combine the last 10 years" within a 24 hour period. Yes, we're confused too.
Somewhere along the way, as these matters occasionally do, the entire exercise transformed from a discussion about the pros and cons of Mallett as a NFL prospect to a national debate about the appropriateness of the media grilling a kid based on unfounded rumors rather than matters of substance.
As usual, most of the chattering class was so busy shouting about extremes that they missed the main point somewhere in the middle: Mallett is almost certainly not a drug addict or a terrible malcontent, but he won't be allowed to stand around in shorts and gun balls to uncovered receivers with no pass rush in an actual NFL game, either.
In the end, most teams are smart enough to realize this and will look beyond the silliness on both ends. Some will love his cannon arm and ability to make any throw, others will be turned off by his lack of mobility and occasional bad decisions. Where Mallett winds up will surely be one of the most interesting subplots of the entire draft and, thanks to the events of the last few days it's no longer just an Arkansas story...the entire football-watching nation will be following along.
D.J. Williams: Although he likely lost points for being undersized, D.J. impressed scouts with his speed, turning in a 4.7 40. Along the way he interviewed with Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Tampa and Houston. Call us highly biased, but if he winds up on the right team (i.e. one with enough vision to use him correctly and a QB who can get him the ball) he could be a major draft steal for someone. As with most things draft-related, though, luck is heavily involved...if he winds up in the wrong situation we may not hear much from D.J. until he announces his candidacy for governor in a few years.
DeMarcus Love: Love, who now projects as a guard, underperformed a bit in the workouts, but hopes to impress teams with his versatility. Don't take our word for it, though...check out his draft diary on ESPN.com for his own firsthand account of the proceedings. It's a good look at all the crazy tests, drills and interview sessions these guys have to go through.
Watch NFL Scouting Combine Feb 24 - Mar 1