Mallett loaded with physical tools, potential

Updated: November 25, 2009, 12:29 PM ET
By Todd McShay
The one early-entry candidate at quarterback who is getting maybe the least attention could throw the biggest wrench in the works. Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett is not getting the publicity of his bigger-name counterparts but at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds and with a rifle arm he has all the physical tools of a first-round pick.

However, given his lack of game experience (11 starts this season, spot duty at Michigan in 2007) and questions about whether the spread system of Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino could translate to the NFL, I would have a hard time pulling the trigger on Mallett in the first round. Investing that kind of money in a quarterback is a sign he's your future starter and the cornerstone of your franchise and Mallett just hasn't shown enough to warrant that yet.

Similar things were said last year about eventual No. 5 overall pick Mark Sanchez, but Sanchez had 16 starts under his belt in a pro-style USC system that has served as a pipeline to the NFL under Pete Carroll's coaching staff. Petrino has virtually no track record of sending quarterbacks to the pros and his most recent pupil, second-round pick Brian Brohm, was a disappointment in Green Bay and was recently traded.