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Blessing in disguise: Why Mallett to Patriots makes sense

NEW YORK -- So Ryan Mallett fell like a stone in the 2011 NFL Draft. That wasn't a tremendous shock, was it?

The guy had some off-the-field issues. He had feet that moved as if perpetually stuck in mud. Clearly, those negatives outweighed the positive of the ex-Arkansas quarterback's tremendously strong passing arm.

At least enough to cause Mallett to slip all the way to the third round.

But this might prove to be a blessing for Mallett. By landing with the New England Patriotsat the 74th overall pick Friday, he's with the one team and the one coach that could do plenty to help him to overcome those negatives and turn into the standout NFL quarterback that many people believed he might become before his reputation superceded his talent.

Mallett is the perfect project for Belichick, who has the time and patience to take it on because he has a quarterback named Tom Brady, and together they own three Super Bowl rings.

Mallett will know this from the start: Belichick won't tolerate any knuckle-headed behavior. He'll know that because Belichick will tell him. He'll know that because Brady and other veteran teammates will tell him.

The Patriots have long done an excellent job of keeping order in their locker room. Remember, Belichick is the same coach who sat Pro Bowl wide receiver Wes Welker for the first series of a playoff game because he didn't like his attempt at humor at the expense of an opposing coach. He is the same coach who sent home other players home from work because they showed up late during a snow storm. He is the same coach who, after growing tired of the headache named Randy Moss, traded him to the Minnesota Vikings early last season for a third-round pick.

For the record, the Patriots used that pick on Mallett. And if he can stay out of trouble and get with the program, he might be able to develop that talent and eventually become Brady's replacement.

Follow Vic Carucci on Twitter @viccarucci.

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