Drug concerns resurface for QB Ryan Mallett

Feb 24, 2011, 12:50 AM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:54 pm


By Brady Henderson

Tony Softli, a former personnel executive for the Panthers and Rams who now works for 101 ESPN in St. Louis, reported this week that former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett did not declare for the 2010 due to “heavy rumors” of drug use.

And according to Softli’s sources, it appears those concerns are resurfacing.

“Character and drug use issues are starting to rear their ugly head,” Softli wrote on the station’s website. “Heavy rumors of drug use and possible addiction kept him from coming out for the 2010 draft. A lot of people are comparing Mallett to Ryan Leaf. I think Ryan was a better football player, with a cannon for an arm but the immaturity was just too much to overcome. A hair facial test might tell all 32 teams who this person really is.”

ESPN’s John Clayton weighed in on the Calabro show on Wednesday.

“We’ve heard the rumblings that … you could say that Ryan Mallett was a little bit of a party guy when he was early in school,” Clayton said. “I think those things have been somewhat substantiated. But we really haven’t heard if there have been any new instances. Apparently what Tony is hearing from his scouting people – and he has good people that he listens to – there still are some problems.”

The 6-foot-7-inch Mallett possesses perhaps the strongest arm of any quarterback prospect. Mock drafts have him going as high as the first round. Mel Kiper Jr. predicted in his initial mock draft that the Seahawks would take Mallett with the 25th overall pick, though Kiper said Tuesday on the Calabro show that he thinks Mallett will now fall to the second or third round.

“You look at him and you see a talent very much like Joe Flacco – a big, tall, strong-armed quarterback,” Clayton said. “But is he Ryan Leaf? And if he’s Ryan Leaf, then everybody is going to shy away from him.”

Clayton said Mallett will be tested for drugs this week at the scouting combine.

“At this stage, I think a lot of people need to find out more about Ryan Mallett and what really is the case,” he said. “There’s a lot of loose ends to tie up.”

If recent history is any indication, a failed drug test could cost Mallett significantly. Last year, Anthony McCoy of USC was one of the top tight end prospects before he reportedly tested positive for marijuana at the combine. The Seahawks drafted McCoy in the sixth round.

“What probably ended up happening is that positive test cost him from going in the third round and dropped him all the way down to (the) sixth,” Clayton said.

You can listen to John Clayton’s Cold Hard Facts here.

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