The Boston Herald did good work in peeling back some layers of Ryan Mallett's personality while visiting with the family of the lightning rod third-round draft pick.
Unfortunately, the newsy portion of this interesting look at Mallett makes the former Arkansas quarterback look like something of an oaf because it includes an account of what Mallett told his family when the Miami Dolphins failed to pick him in the second round of the draft.
Before [New England Patriots coach Bill] Belichick called, the Herald writes, Mallett was almost a Dolphin, as the team informed the family they were interested in trading for him.
“They took another guy,” Jim Mallett said told the paper. “Ryan said, ‘Payback.’ He remembers it all.”
Let me count the ways this is simply stupid:
No. 1: As I have reported to you, the Dolphins did indeed attempt to trade up to take Mallett. A club source told me "we tried to get our hands on him" but that the Dolphins simply didn't have enough ammunition they were willing to give to get that high in the third round.
So already, we have a problem. If the Dolphins did indeed phone the Mallett clan to announce they planned to trade up for the QB (a fact I have not been able to verify), then Mallett must have assumed they were trying to do that in the second round. I doubt they told him they were trying to pick him in the second round because they clearly had Daniel Thomas as their target in that round and picked him then. Had they been targetting Mallett, they could have had Mallett because he was available.
So perhaps the team just told Mallett they would try to trade up for him, and he assumed it was in the second round, not realizing the team meant in the third round. Obviously, no one else had Mallett pegged as their second-rounder. Obviously, the Dolphins wanted him in the third round because they tried to get to him in that round. Obviously, we have a failure to communicate here.
And that makes me thankful Mallett is not expected to learn Miami's playbook and be the starting quarterback this year since he and the club can't get their signals straight on something so simple as a phone call.
No. 2: Mallett must have a great, long, elephantine memory. He's going to need it because with Tom Brady as New England's starting quarterback now, Mallett may have to wait a looong time to remember that "payback" pledge. He's likely to be a 30-year-old first-year starting quarterback if things go well for Brady so I assume Mallett will find a way to keep his Spring 2011 payback promise prominent in his mind until the Fall of 2017.
No. 3: Does this kid have zero foresight? Does he not recognize the NFL is an odd fraternity? By promising to collect "payback" on the Dolphins, he has possibly closed the door to any future with the Dolphins. What happens if he's a free agent in five years? What happens if the Dolphins were to reconsider things and want to trade for him next year? What were to happen if Jeff Ireland got a job running another NFL team and needed a quarterback when Mallett's available? Mallett's comments might turn off Ireland and thus close off a possible avenue of escape from duty as Brady's caddy. Think, kid, think!
No. 5: Ryan Mallett's desire for payback meet Bill Belichick's intolerance of individualism. Bill Belichick's intolerance of individualism, meet your newest project, Ryan Mallett's desire for payback. Patriot lobotomy on the horizon.
No. 5: One of the reasons NFL teams did not invest a first round pick or a second round pick in Mallett is his disposition. I reported to you the Dolphins were not absolutely sold on his personality in order to pick him higher than the third round. Well, if the adversity of not getting selected where he expected set Mallett off, what might the adversity of getting his nose knocked off his face during a game do when his team needs him back in the lineup for a possible fourth-quarter comeback? Vowing revenge for a draft slight is one thing. Brady did that. But Brady didn't speak of it for years, until he had already established himself and it became lore rather than news on profootballtalk.
Mallett brought this perceived slight to light less than a week after the draft ended and before he's ever taken a snap. It makes him look petty, particularly since he won't be able to do very much about it unless Brady gets hurt.
There's nothing about this vow of "payback" that makes Ryan Mallett look heroic. And if he doesn't get that, perhaps he should add that to the reasons he was a third-round pick rather than the first-rounder his natural football gifts suggest he would otherwise have been.