After two runs on quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft - one at the top of the first round, another at the top of the second - Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett dropped and dropped down the draft board. However, if Mallett had to fall, it's hard to imagine a better place for him to land than with the New England Patriots, who selected him with the 74th overall pick.
In New England, Mallett will spend the first few years of his career holding a clipboard behind Tom Brady, 33, learning not only from the three-time Super Bowl winner but from
evil robot head coach Bill Belichick, as well. Hey, it worked for Matt Cassell of the Kansas City Chiefs - why not Mallett?
While he's not a terrific athlete, Mallett has the size (6-6, 238) and the rocket arm to possibly develop into an NFL starter with some coaching, particularly when it comes to his accuracy. (He's actually drawn comparisons to our own quarterback, Pittsburgh Steeler Ben Roethlisberger, for what it's worth.) Mallett's draft stock fell after he (allegedly) missed a pre-draft visit with the Carolina Panthers after having too much to drink the night before. I think you can make the argument that that was the most expensive hangover in the history of hangovers, as he would have likely been a first-round selection otherwise.
In any case, Mallett in the third round makes for a smart value selection for the Patriots, who refused to allow Brady Mania to blind them to the needs of their future.