Sabtu, 30 April 2011

Bill Belichick throws a curveball by picking Ryan Mallett

Last night, with one pick, Bill Belichick blew the lid off Radio City Music Hall. Pass rusher? Nah, forget that. The Patriots [team stats] coach likes what he has in-house. He likes his young group of linebackers so much that he didn’t feel compelled to make a move. At least, that’s what he claimed after last night’s proceedings. We’ll respectfully disagree. But we’ve been beating that drum for a while.

So let’s move onto the pick that makes Belichick one of the shrewdest operators in the business.

You want sizzle? You want spice? You want the ultimate roll of the dice? Try Ryan Mallett.

While teams were scrambling for quarterbacks all over the board, jumping all over each other for kids who just might not be that good, Belichick merely swooped in during the third round and probably stole the best one of the bunch.

Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick were all gobbled up before the Pats locked in and selected the somewhat controversial Arkansas quarterback with the 74th pick.

Is this Tom Brady [stats]’s heir apparent? Maybe, maybe not. At the very least, he’s an intriguing possibility.

His arm certainly won’t stop him from being that guy somewhere down the road. If you’ve ever watched film of Mallett, he’s got an absolute cannon. He makes all the throws with ease. Of all the quarterbacks in the 2011 class, he easily has the best arm. It’s not even close.

Mallett, however, won’t win the character award. There’s been rumors of drugs and alcohol. But even with his troubles, there isn’t much risk for Belichick taking him in the third round and having him learn under Brady.

While he’s a bit shaky with his decision-making, Mallett would fit very well in the Pats’ vertical passing game, if he ever got the opportunity to relieve Brady for any period of time.

What this translates into is smart business. Having an eye out for grooming Brady’s replacement now is the wise thing to do. If Mallett can get his act together and realize his awesome potential, it’ll be an amazing coup for the Patriots coach.

If the 33-year-old Brady plays another half-dozen years, Mallett can always net a significant return in a trade. Last night, Mallett didn’t sound too bothered by having to wait for his chance.

“As a competitor, I want to play,’’ Mallett said. “But it’s an advantage to learn from Tom and gain as much knowledge as I can from him.”

He’s a nice chip to have in the stable for however long. So it’s a win-win situation for the Pats, assuming, of course, Mallett behaves and blossoms as a backup.

By the sound of it, Belichick has already begun the bonding process. He seems to like the kid and has a connection with him, given Mallett is also the son of a football coach, Jim Mallett.

“He’s definitely a football guy. He’s a great kid to talk to. He’s very into football,” Belichick said of Mallett. “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 film, or go talk about a new technique or route, or read, or whatever.

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