Mallett Must Mature Mentally Both On and Off the Field

April 20, 2011 | Brian Billick

Outside of Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett is the most intriguing quarterback in the draft.  His talent is obvious.  He has a huge arm, and the skill-set to make all the throws in the NFL.  As far as physically talent, outside of foot agility, he has all the tools to be successful at the next level.

Mallett will need to mature most on the mental side of the game.  For a professional athlete, especially a franchise quarterback, this mental maturation process is both off the field and on the field.  Off the field, his character has been dissected and his unwillingness to answer drug related questions at the NFL Combine only fueled the fire.  To me, this is awfully reminiscent of Ryan Leaf as he struggled to find his way in the NFL.  I hope that Mallett can mature and handle the media attention that goes along with being a professional quarterback, right now, i questions if he can.

On the field, his mental development needs to occur in the film room.  On tape, he missed blitzing schemes in which his lineman were out manned and he needed to throw the ball “hot”.  He will be counted on the check out of plays that are already set up to fail just by the pre-snap alignment of the defense.  He will need to read elaborate coverage schemes by NFL defenses, and make good decisions as Pro Bowl pass rushers are in his face.  In order to do all these things, he will need to spend hours and hours in film study and commit himself to nothing other than football season after season.  I am not sure he is mentally prepared for that right now.

Again, he has all the physical skills needed to be successful, and maybe is the most pro-ready quarterback just from a physical attributes perspective.  He played in a pro-style offense at Arkansas, and the throws he made as an amateur will translate very well at the next level.   I would like to see him develop lighter feet in the pocket and use his size like Ben Roethlisberger to make it difficult to bring him down in the pocket.

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