FAYETTEVILLE - SEPTEMBER 25: Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks passes the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on September 25 2010 in Fayetteville Arkansas. Alabama won 24-20. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Today on the ESPN podcast titled "First Draft", draft aficionados Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both said that they were hearing around the league that Arkansas Quarterback Ryan Mallett is slipping due to questions about his character. Mel Kiper said, "I heard from people in the league that have told me don't be surprised if drops to the 4th round". McShay totally backed him up on this saying "I've heard the same thing... and it has 100% to do with character."
Given that the Browns front office has been pretty forthcoming about taking a quarterback somewhere in the draft, should the Browns take Mallett with their 4th pick?
There is no doubt that Ryan Mallett is an elite athlete and that he has huge potential as a quarterback in the NFL. He is huge and has a big, big arm. He often grades out as a 1st-round pick and many mock drafts have him going in the late 1st or early 2nd round. He comes from a very complex pro-style offense. If you want to see someone with football IQ, watch his Q&A session with Jon Gruden--especially the part where he diagrams a play. Incidentally, he gets character advice from John Daly (the pro golfer) and that makes following the link above worth it all by itself.
But what about the character issues? Drugs, partying, and other things have come up as well as some other on the field issues. McShay alluded to many more issues than have been reported in the media. Can the Browns organization keep a leash on Mallett and help him with his character?
I like Mallett because of his preparation but his style is not a perfect fit for the Browns. But would an arm for the vertacle game be that big of a problem? Another criticism of Mallett is his speed. He is not going to beat you with his feet or be able to escape a determined blitz.
So should the Browns take a chance on Mallett if he is available in the 4th?