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2011 NFL Combine: Ryan Mallett Stands Out In Passing Drills

The quarterbacks took part in their various drills today and from everything I'm reading Ryan Mallett really stood out in a positive way. After a tough day at yesterday's 2011 NFL Combine press conference, Mallett showed why scouts are enamored by his on-field skills. Whether he's a head-case or not, it appears as though Mallett can make the throws necessary at the next level.

The positional drill for quarterbacks involves three-, five-, and seven-step drops. From each of those drops the quarterback will make all the passes of the route tree, which includes a slant, an out, an in, a corner, and a deep route. There are plenty of throws at the NFL level but the route tree hits the important throws a player has to hit at the next level.

Over the course of reports out of today's workouts (PFT, Rob Rang), it sounds like Ryan Mallett was the one guy who had no trouble hitting all the throws. Of course, physical talent hasn't exactly been the primary question about Mallett. Rather, it's the various off-the-field question marks that people have raised when it comes to Mallett. If he could find some level of consistency across the board, it seems like he would be a likely first round pick. Unfortunately for him, the picking-apart process raises question marks about players whether those questions are legitimate or not. All it takes is one rumor for the media to latch on to and the draft season can become an absolute mess for a player.

Given Mallett's strong performance today, if he can follow that up with another strong performance at his Pro Day, there are teams that would roll the dice on him. The 49ers have a quarterback need and have to at least be looking at him as an option. I don't mean that to indicate they've shown some level of interest, but rather they need to assess every QB option out there.

At this point, if you were running the 49ers draft, what is the highest draft pick you'd be willing to spend on Ryan Mallett? This isn't a question of where you think he'll be drafted. It's a question of how high you'd go to get Mallett, if at all.