FAYETTEVILLE - SEPTEMBER 25: Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks passes the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on September 25 2010 in Fayetteville Arkansas. Alabama won 24-20. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett was happy about his two-day visit with the Cincinnati Bengals, saying that "it went real good. I definitely think I surprised a couple of the coaches."
Mallett met with quarterback coach Ken Zampese, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and head coach Marvin Lewis during his stay in the Cincinnati, which is the first quarterback needing city he's visited. He is expected to meet with at least 10 different NFL teams. Reedy wrote that, because this was Mallett's first team visit, he didn't know what to expect and was nervous.
When it came to what he expected out of visiting teams, Mallett did admit that he was nervous coming up here because the Bengals was the first team he visited and that he didn’t know what to expect.
Mallett may be one of the more controversial quarterbacks entering the draft his year. He is, without a doubt, the most gifted passer in this year's draft class. He's got a big arm, he stands tall in the pocket and he has has the ability to make any throw that would be asked of him. Physically, he may be the closest thing to Carson Palmer.
However, there is a lot of concern about Mallett's maturity and character. Many scouts believe that Mallett lacks the ability to be a good leader on a football team and that his character flaws should make any team wary about selecting him, especially if he's going to have to play immediately.
When asked if he felt as if he's the most misunderstood prospect in the draft, Mallett said he isn't as much misunderstood as it's the fact that you just have to get to know him.
"I don’t know if its misunderstood. There been times when I have not come off the best way. At the Combine I was listening to what the moderator said and that it was the last question. I didn’t storm out like some people said. Once people get to know me, they will find out what a great kid and great person I am. That’s the thing about the team visits, they get to see the up close and personal.
"People have called me cocky and arrogant but I have a lot of confidence in our team and the people around me. I wasn’t trying to make it sound like it was all about me because it wasn’t."
Another concern with Mallett is the kind of system he would best fit in. In Bob Bratkowski's down field style of offense that requires a strong armed quarterback, Mallett may be the best choice, but Jay Gruden's west coast offense puts more of an emphasis on intelligence than it does on a strong arm. A quarterback would need to make quick reads and, more often than not, only be required to make short to intermediate passes. There won't be nearly as many deep balls as there have been over the last few years.
It's questionable whether or not Mallett would fit into a west coast offensive scheme. He believes, though, that he played in a west coast system while at Arkansas.
"I consider that I’ve been playing in a West Coast last three years," Mallett said. "We ran a lot of crossing routes and shallow routes. That was a big part of our game."
Upon leaving Cincinnati, Mallett wanted to leave the Bengals coaches with the impression that they can win with him under center, saying "I can lead a team to a championship. I can learn quickly and adjust on the run."
The Bengals are meeting with Auburn quarterback Cam Newton today and tomorrow and will likely meet with other quarterback prospects, like Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder in the near future. The draft begins on April 28.