Recently I was discussing with another fan what the Patriots could reasonably expect to get in return if they were to trade backup QB Brian Hoyer, who will be an unrestricted free agent next spring. This person was of the opinion that rather than trading Hoyer the Pats should attempt to move Ryan Mallett. His view was that Mallett was more desirable and would therefore get more in return; in fact, he thought that the Patriots could get a first round draft pick for Mallett.
In two years at Arkansas Ryan Mallett threw for 7,493 yards and 62 touchdowns
My initial reaction was that a first was preposterous, and that he was allowing his fandom to over rate the player on the team that he roots for. My response was to compare quarterbacks just drafted. Would teams rate him as highly as Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, or Ryan Tannehill?
Then I thought about the fourth quarterback selected in the first round this past April, Brandon Weeden.
Mallett and Weeden both put up gaudy numbers in college. Both have strong arms, though I would give the nod to Mallett in that category. Both were aided by playing under shotgun, but Mallett has a one-year head start on working on that. Both come out of college needing to work on their footwork, and again Mallett has had a year that Weeden has not had to work on that. Weeden at times would lock onto and stare down his primary receiver. Mallett had a better inner clock, was adept at reading coverages, and was very good with a play action pass.
The only thing separating the two was intangibles; Mallett had an arrest for public intoxication which mushroomed into allegedly having major character concerns, but he has been a model citizen in his year with the Patriots. Weeden on the other hand is portrayed as being a mature leader, much of which is based on his being 29 years old this year.
To me it is a tossup projecting which one of these two will have a better NFL career, but the bottom line is that most would agree that Mallett possesses better physical tools than Weeden does. The biggest knock on him was his character but he has been a model citizen. Is it reasonable to expect every NFL player to have gone through college without ever having a few beers or smoking some weed at some point in time before graduation?
If a first round pick for Mallett would have been too much, what if the Patriots sweetened the deal for Cleveland? The Pats traded their third round pick, #93 overall to move up to #21 to select Chandler Jones. The Patriots could have conceivably traded Mallett and that #93 selection to the Browns for their #22 pick, and still could have landed the player they wanted. If that is too much they could have packaged Mallett with a 4th round pick, #126 overall, which is what they ended up doing to trade up from #31 to #25 to select Donta’ Hightower.
I’ll be interested in comparing how the careers of Mallett and Weeden progress over the next few years. I can’t help but wonder if it would have been a win-win for both teams: the Browns could have ended up with a better quarterback, while the Patriots could have added one more blue chip prospect to their roster.
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