2011 NFL Draft: Will the Miami Dolphins Finally Stop Bargain-Shopping for QBs?

Jason Clary@IamJClaryCorrespondent IApril 20, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks reacts after throwing a 22-yard touchdown to Jarius Wright #4 against Devon Torrence #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the third quarter during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

As consumers, we are all very aware and cognizant of great deals. If there is a way to save a buck or two, most people will find a way to do that.

The same goes for the NFL, and particularly the Miami Dolphins franchise.

The Dolphins organization is like an antique car owner; they love something so much that even when it stops working and loses its style, they still try to hang on to it.

If you didn't already know this next little fact, it's time here to shed some light. The last time the Miami Dolphins drafted a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Cold War was still almost a decade from ending.

Dan Marino was Miami's last first-round selection, and that pick took place during the year of 1983.

Fast-forward almost three decades to present time, and the 2011 NFL Draft is looming right around the corner. At this point in time, speculation is off the charts and many "reports" are surfacing about interests that certain teams have.

One apparent interest of the Miami Dolphins is quarterback Ryan Mallett out of Arkansas. Mallett's stock is just about as predictable as the economy. Through several months of draft speculation and countless mock drafts, Mallett has seen time as a mid-round prospect to one of the most polished quarterbacks in this entire draft class.

Many scouts and analysts are having a hard time gauging where exactly Mallett fits among the other top-rated quarterbacks.

Some have grumbled about his supposed drug use, others have raved about his huge stature and rocket arm and some even question his ability as a quarterback because his outward appearance and showing as a person doesn't garner a sense of fortitude.

Any way you look at it, Mallett could be one of the most NFL-ready quarterbacks in the entire class of quarterbacks. He played in a big-time conference, and although he did let some big games slip away from him, those are experiences that will help him learn and grow as a player.

One thing that Mallett has shown over his years of football playing in both high school and college is that he has improved every single season. That alone speaks volume to the kind of player that Mallett is. He may have some people concerned about his attitude, but the above fact is an extremely positive aspect of Ryan Mallett's game.

Year Team Comp Att Yards Comp % TD INT Efficiency
2007 Michigan 61 141 892 43.3 7 5 105.7
2008 Arkansas

Ineligible due to NCAA Transfer Policy

2009 Arkansas 225 403 3,627 55.8 30 7 152.5
2010 Arkansas 266 411 3,869 64.7 32 12 163.7

As you can see from this above table, Mallett improved each year in completion percentage, touchdown passes, yards, completions and efficiency.

Another aspect that Mallett brings to the table is his evasive abilities in the pocket. If you already knew that Mallett ran a 5.37 40-yard dash time, you are most likely a little baffled that somebody put "evasive" and "Ryan Mallett" in the same sentence.

There is a difference between fast and evasive. Michael Vick is fast. Dan Marino was evasive. Dan Marino was an extremely slow runner, but he possessed the ability to make defenders miss in the pocket. Mallett has that same ability.

For a player who is 6'7", Mallett has extreme control of his body. He has shown countless times that he can stick in the pocket and deliver a strike while evading a free-rusher when necessary. Quarterbacks in the NFL don't always have an open pocket to throw in, so having evasiveness is an extremely important skill for a quarterback to have.

If the above skills aren't enough, Mallett has one of the strongest, if not the strongest arm in the entire draft-class. He has the ability to air the ball out deep, fire a pass into a window over the middle, or hit a receiver quickly on an out route.

Sitting at pick No. 15 in the first round, Miami could be in a prime position for Mallett to fall into their lap. Twenty-eight years have passed since a Dolphins first-round pick has been a quarterback, and this is the year that Miami needs to strike at first opportunity, especially if Ryan Mallett is available.