After an awkwardly long wait throughout the first two rounds of the NFL Draft (and into the third), Ryan Mallett ended up getting picked by the New England Patriots with the 73rd overall pick. Despite the general unpleasantness of the moments leading up to his selection, Mallett really wound up in an excellent spot.
So much of a person's pro career depends on the good fortune of going to a solid organization, with strong ownership and good coaches, and teams don't come much more solid than the Patriots. In the best case, Mallett works hard, learns from masters like Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and eventually inherits the starting QB position of a championship team (we'll call this the Joe Montana/scenario).
If not that, it's still an excellent chance to learn from the best and possibly get traded to another team looking for a starter in a couple of years (we'll call this the Matt Cassell scenario). Either way, it's hard to imagine a better place for him to get immersed in the NFL game and shake off those infamous "character questions" that cost him several million dollars along the way. (We suppose there's another scenario where he proves the naysayers right and completely flames out in an epic binge of drugs, skanks and bad Vanilla Ice-style attitude, but to anyone who actually followed Mallett at Arkansas that seems unlikely.)
Mallett may not be a starter in the NFL as soon as some of the six (!!!) QBs taken ahead of him, but thanks to this bit of draft luck he's better positioned to have a successful long-term career than most. As you watch the NFL over the next few years be sure to remember these names...we're sure Mallett won't forget them any time soon:
* Cameron Newton, 1st pick
* Jake Locker, 8th pick
* Blaine Gabbert, 10th pick
* Christian Ponder, 12th pick
* Andy Dalton, 35th pick
* Colin Kaepernick, 36th pick
Many thanks to Mallett from all of us here at Arkansas Expats, Inc for the great Razorback memories, and best of luck in the NFL. (Now let's keep our fingers crossed for D.J. Williams, DeMarcus Love and Ray Dominguez.)