State of the Hogs: 6-foot-6

Ryan Mallett is officially 6-foot-6. Apparently, that's just right for the NFL.

Apparently, Ryan Mallett isn't too tall to play quarterback after all.

Mallett was listed as 6-foot-7 on a few rosters early in his time at Arkansas. But it was changed to 6-6 this past year when some NFL scouting experts (media types) started to compare him to Ryan Leaf and noting there had never been a successful 6-7 quarterback in the league.

The Arkansas rosters that appeared this past summer listed Mallett as 6-6, as did the UA media guide. And guess what, he's 6-6 now after measuring "officially" at 6-6 3/4 at the combine.

Whether or not Mallett is a tall drink of water (just kidding) was among the handful of things Mallett discussed Friday in an interview with Hawgs Illustrated. Is he really still too tall for NFL teams? What did they say about that in one-on-one meetings at the combine?

"Nothing really," Mallett said. "I am 6-6. I thought that was kinda funny, really. It never came up with any of the teams."

Mallett had a good pro day in Fayetteville last week, a workout that has prompted some keen interest from a few NFL teams. Mallett hit every pass in the workout, including an amazing string of deep throws, most of them 60 to 65 yards down the field with receivers at top speed.

"The feedback from that workout was really good, especially from two teams that really followed up," Mallett said. "There were two teams that called and wanted to talk to me more afterwards, but I'm not going to mention them. They asked me to keep that conversation quiet."

Mallett has noticed teams keeping things closer to the vest as the draft date approaches. He understands.

"I really didn't know how this was going to go," he said. "Before it all started, I didn't know what to expect. But I was told by my agents to expect everything and not to let anything surprise me. I can say that nothing that has happened has caught me off guard because of that."

He said the conversations at the combine, after workouts and in meetings since the pro day have all been interesting and nothing different than what daily life has been like his whole life. He reminds that he grew up with a football coach as a father.

"I don't get nervous at any of this stuff because it's still just being with football coaches and talking football," he said. "My dad was a coach. We talked football every single day. I've always talked football. So these coaches are just like what I've had all of the way up."

He's had a pro environment at Arkansas the last three years under head coach Bobby Petrino and quarteracks coach Garrick McGee. He said it's just business as usual. Interestingly, McGee handled the pro day workout for Mallett. He put the quarterback through his paces in an up tempo passing drill that amazed most of the scouts.

"That was unplanned, unscripted," Mallett said. "Coach McGee just walked up five minutes before we did started and said, 'I think we should do this,' and we just got after it. He told me what we were going to do and I nodded my head. I think it surprised a few people by how rapid the pace got. It was fast from start to finish.

"To be honest, it was about like our pass skeleton drills. I've watched some of the other pro days and the (quarterback) workouts and they seemed slow to me compared to what we did every day (at Arkansas). I think we did go pretty fast, though."

Mallett said he didn't know Petrino was going to talk to scouts about his leadership ability and character before the pro day. Petrino asked for an audience and then spoke up for the quarterback who has been hit with negative rumors in the last month. Most of that seems to have subsided.

"I guess I'm not surprised Coach Petrino would do that because our relationship is solid," Mallett said. "He's always had my back. He has a reputation, too. So when he says something like that, it means something. He doesn't have to say a word. But he did. It's his credibility on the line when he makes a statement to back someone, so I appreciate that. You like to know that someone still has your back."

It's not clear how many of the top prospects are going to attend the actual draft ceremony in New York City in a few weeks. Mallett isn't clear on his plans, although he is leaning on hanging out with friends and family in Texarakana.

"I haven't had an invitation," Mallett said. "So I'd say right now, I'm planning on just staying around home."

Mallett does have some plans next week. He's going to spend some time with ESPN pro football analyst Jon Gruden. The former NFL head coach and quarterbacks coach has worked with draft prospects in a behind-the-scenes-look at what they can improve.

"I'm looking foward to it," Mallett said. "I've watched those episodes he's done with other quarterbacks. He's an NFL teacher. I like to have as much help as I can get. He can critique my game and I can learn. You know Coach Gruden can give me pointers that will help me improve. So that's going to be good."

Get inside coverage of your favorite team. Click here now to get started.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories