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2011 NFL Draft: Patriots Select QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas at 74th Overall

Another shocker pick that I absolutely love. With the 74th pick of the NFL Draft, the Patriots select Ryan Mallett, quarterback from Arkansas. Mallett is the greatest quarterback, with respect to football skills and measurables, in the entire draft- bar none. I like Ponder for his NFL readiness, but Mallett has all the tools. In my evaluation of quarterbacks, Mallett ranked low as a result of little experience and, with that experience, a need to better read defenses. With Mallett sitting on the bench behind Brady for a couple years, there is no way this is a bad deal.

1) If Brady deteriorates in a couple years, Mallett will be ready in the wings.

2) If Brady does not deteriorate, Mallett can be traded for a draft pick (he cost a third rounder, which the Patriots have no problem releasing for free).

3) If Brady ends gracefully, Mallett will have experience and be ready to step right on the field.

I know that some people have an issue with Mallett's character, but Belichick had Mallett rated as the #1 quarterback in the draft- and his slide to the 3rd round was the buffer to make up. Just like making Aaron Hernandez drop from 2nd to 4th, Belichick had Mallett slide into the 3rd round. Mallett will have to prove that he can buy into the Patriots' system, but I fully believe that he can and will. He was coached by Bobby Petrino in Arkansas, who was a very demanding coach, and all reports say that Mallett responds well to tough coaching. Well, Belichick is a tough coach. I believe that Mallett will be tamed.

Mallett has a rocket arm, has NFL intelligence and has been compared to Drew Bledsoe. Have him sit behind Tom Brady and maybe he can pick up some Tom Brady drive, character, leadership, and decision making skills. Mallett thrives on short passes and can learn to put more touch on his ball, like Brady. A hybrid of Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe is enough to make any coach salivate. Taking a first round quarterback prospect in the third round? Sounds like a deal.

No, this does not signal the end of Tom Brady's reign with the Patriots. All it means is that there will be a quarterback waiting in the wings as Brady's contract winds down.