Arkansas Razorback Quarterback Ryan Mallett Is Gauging NFL Interest

Blake StansberyCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 17: Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks sets to pass against the Florida Gators October 17, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

In today's press conferences with offensive players, Ryan Mallett spoke briefly about his stance on entering the NFL Draft in 2010.

Mallett has submitted the necessary paperwork to the NFL Advisory Committee to see where his draft stock stands right now.

This is a procedure that players do regularly as juniors to see where they stand, even if they have no intention of going into the draft early.

He insists that it is not on his mind right now, and that it is merely a formality to see about his options. He has stayed firm that right now the only thing on his mind is preparing to play ECU in the Liberty Bowl and leading the Razorbacks to a victory.

While Mallett and the Razorbacks remain hard at work preparing for ECU and the Liberty Bowl, Arkansas fans cannot seem to get Ryan Mallett off of their minds.


Will he go into the NFL draft?


Will he return to Arkansas and lead the Hogs to a BCS game?


Will he win a Heisman?


The torment some fans are dragging themselves through over these questions is unbelievable, and this latest news that he is gauging the NFL's interest is like throwing kerosene on the fire.


Mallett made it clear a long time ago that he will weigh his options regarding the NFL after the bowl game, but until that time, his only focus would remain to be preparing to win the bowl game. Fans and media members are beginning to wonder now if this decision is starting to weigh on him already.


Last week Tyler Wilson and Brandon Mitchell got most of the snaps at quarterback, and Coach Bobby Petrino and Mallett reveled this week that Mallett was late to a meeting. Mallett says it was a freak incident and will not happen again. This event had the rumor mill flying that Mallett had made his mind up about going pro.


People just need to slow down a little bit. Mallett may or may not go pro, but Petrino made it clear that he was going to practice the younger players and backups a lot during bowl preparations. Petrino also made a point to talk about how well Mallett did Saturday and in practices since the incident last Friday.


Now before people think I am playing this off like this is nothing, lets slow down a few steps.


The prospects of Ryan Mallett going into the NFL are very real. He may evaluate and decide that now is the best time for him because he would be one of the top QBs available (according to some sources), the impending rookie salary cap, or a list of other reasons.


However, it is also possible that he will see that he may only be a late first round to early second round pick. He may see that NFL teams want players with more than one year of QB experience and want a player that can proved he can play well on the road.


These things may influence him to return to Arkansas and improve his draft status for 2011.


Arkansas fans also need to slow down in a few other areas. If Mallett returns to Arkansas, it is not a foregone conclusion that he will:  (a) take Arkansas to a BCS bowl, (b) win the Heisman, and (c) then be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.


Those things could happen, but fans need to go with the flow and let things happen before they heap those expectations on a players back.


Fans should expect to see Wilson and Mitchell continue to get increased snaps, because they need to improve. Injuries are only one play away and backups need to improve and be ready just as much as a starter.


Fans also need to expect to hear from Mallett after the Liberty Bowl regarding his decision on the NFL. He said he would think about it after the game and focus on the bowl; that is what he should be allowed to do.


Enough with fans saying “he needs to say something now” or “him not clearing it up now means he is going to the NFL.”


He will not have much time since the deadline to enter your name in the NFL Draft will be Jan. 15th. So Hog fans will get their answer soon enough following the Liberty Bowl.


The only fact on the matter is that Ryan Mallett is the Arkansas Razorback quarterback right now.