Patriots select Ryan Mallett in 3rd Round of 2011 NFL Draft - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Patriots select Ryan Mallett in 3rd Round of 2011 NFL Draft

FAYETTEVILLE (NWAOnline.com) - Former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is off the board.

Mallett was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the NFL Draft Friday, ending a two-day wait to hear his name called. Mallett was the 74th pick overall and the seventh quarterback taken in the draft, which began Thursday.

Mallett, once thought to be a lock to be selected in the first round, didn't attend the event, instead opting to watch with family and friends at a duck lodge outside of Stuttgart Thursday and Friday. His fall down the draft board was the focus of much national attention throughout the first two days of the draft, much like it was in the months leading up to the annual event.

On the field, Mallett holds every major passing record at Arkansas, passing for 7,493 yards and 62 touchdowns in two seasons as the Razorbacks' starting quarterback. As a redshirt junior, Mallett helped Arkansas win 10 games and earn its first Bowl Championship Series bid in school history.

Mallett is one of just four players in SEC history to pass for at least 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. He impressed scouts with his passing accuracy at both the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis and his pro day in Fayetteville.

Off the field, though, allegations of drug use and questions about Mallett's character made national headlines throughout the lead-up to the draft. Despite the negative press, Arkansas coaches and players repeatedly defended Mallett in recent months.

After playing his freshman season at Michigan, Mallett transferred to Arkansas in the spring of 2008 and was a two-year captain for the Razorbacks.

Mallett will step into a less pressured situation in New England, where three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady is the starter and still in the prime of his career.

Tight end D.J. Williams and offensive linemen DeMarcus Love and Ray Dominguez are former Arkansas players also expected to be drafted during the three-day event. Williams, who won the Mackey Award for the nation's best tight end as a senior, is projected as high as a third-round pick.

The second and third rounds of the draft will conclude Friday. Rounds 4-7 will be held Saturday.

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