Two quarterbacks with big questions hovering around them met with the media today. Both had sessions that left a lot of those questions.
Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett was first, with drug use rumors having just recently been reported. Mallett tried to deflect the questions, insisting he would talk to the various teams about the talk but wasn’t going to talk about it with the media, dismissing them as just rumors. “People can talk about me if they want to but I’m going to play my game,” Mallett said. But the questions didn’t go away, and when one reporter asked a final time that the questions weren’t going to end if Mallett didn’t answer them, Mallett ended the session with a quick thanks before stepping off the podium.
Mallett’s stock has been wildly speculated about, where he will go in the draft. Some thought he could be a high pick. Lately, there seems to be a thought he’ll drop, perhaps to the second round or later. Mallett said the strength of his game is mental, and he’ll have to be mentally strong to maneuver the latest talk.
Then came Auburn QB Cam Newton, who has not only had his own troubled past but recently caught everyone’s attention when he told Sports Illustrated he not only was going to be a football player but also “an entertainer and an icon.” Newton answered the question right away himself, although stunningly pulled out a piece of paper to read it as a prepared statement that football was his No. 1 priority. (He said the statement was misunderstood, and took the blame for that.)
Newton’s arrival stopped the media room — normally there is a buzz of background noise, but almost everyone in the huge room surrounded Newton as he spoke. He looked much more comfortable than Mallett, but was taking the same tack with his past transgressions at the University of Florida. “What I did in the past is in the past,” Newton said. “I’m not going to entertain questions about the past. I’m all about the future.” Newton did come across polished — and overall, better than Mallett in that setting.
Interestingly, Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert, the other highly rated QB, came off pretty well Friday when he spoke. Of course, the media interviews aren’t what teams are going to look at. It’s the one-on-ones, and I’d expect those — given the millions of dollars at stake — will be a lot tougher to sit through for the players.
Tags: Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett, Scouting combine
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