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Saturday, February 26, 2011
Cocky Mallett rebuffs tough questions

By Paul Kuharsky

INDIANAPOLIS -- Many scouts and evaluators have indicated that Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett is kind of a dividing line for the draft class of quarterbacks.

I’ve talked to some who clearly have him behind Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker, but ahead of the second tier that could include Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Christian Ponder and Ricky Stanzi.

Hazy reports of Mallett having big red flags have surfaced, and he was confidently defensive about them at a well-attended podium session that wrapped up a bit ago, deflecting repeated questions.

“If people talk about them, they keep circulating or whatever, that’s nothing I can control,” he said. "Obviously somebody did it for a reason before the combine and the draft. I talk about it with teams and everything is good.”

Those conversations will go a long way toward influencing his draft-board standing with quarterback-needy teams, a list that includes the Titans and Jaguars.

He told people with questions about him to ask his coaches and people he worked with about him.

And to a question about scouts questioning his decision-making and accuracy, he kind of snapped: “Seven thousand-plus yards and 60-plus touchdowns in two seasons, that’s how I respond to that.”

After he’d dismissed multiple questions about the red-flag issues, one reporter took a final stab: You’re going to be asked about them until you address them, so why not address them now?

“I don’t want to,” he said. “I’m not going to talk about it. I talk about it with the teams.”

I don't know that "I don't want to" will suffice as an answer to tough questions from an offensive coordinator trying to coach Mallett once he's in the NFL. But I won't presume that coach will get the hard-line guy we just saw.