Nov 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett (15) throws in the pocket against the Cincinnati Bengals at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
College: Ryan Mallett played as a sophomore and junior at the University of Arkansas after transferring from Michigan in 2008. He was a starter as a freshman at UM but “felt that he was forced out” after the team hired head coach Rich Rodriguez and his spread offense. He believed that the system was not a great fit for him and he decided to transfer to Arkansas. He threw for 30 touchdowns in both of his seasons there and only 19 career interceptions in 26 games. Ryan Mallett’s size allows for him to throw deep (9.7 adjusted yards per attempt), yet he was relatively accurate (64.7% competition percentage as a junior). He finished 7th in Heisman Trophy votes in 2010, had the most yards and touchdowns in the SEC, was first in yards per play as a sophomore in the NCAA, was fourth in yards per play as a junior, and led his team to a 10-3 record in the toughest division in college football.
NFL: At the NFL combine, Mallett was recorded as the second tallest and fourth heaviest quarterback in Combine history. His size and college accolades resulted in being a third round pick and landed with the New England Patriots. New England never needed Ryan Mallett and he was only able to attempt four passes in his three year career behind Tom Brady. In those four passes he throw one interception (against the Texans lol). Maybe Mallett just knew he was best suited throwing passes to Texans players.
After getting traded to the Texans, he has been able to get more competitive snaps. In his first season with the team, he started two games after a Ryan Fitzpatrick injury. His first career start came against Brian Hoyer in Cleveland as an underdog without Arian Foster but led the Texans to a 23-7 victory. He was able to complete 66% of his passes and threw for two touchdowns (one to JJ Watt) and one interception (Brian Hoyer completed 40% of his passes and threw 1 TD and 1 INT).
The second career start did not go well for Ryan Mallett. Once again without Arian Foster, the Texans played against a good Cincinnati Bengals team and wound up losing 22-13. Mallett was held accountable for the loss that game because he was unable to throw a touchdown or for 200 yards. Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins combined for 8 catches and 75 yards. The offense was stagnant and Ryan Mallett did not use his arm strength at all to generate any explosiveness (longest passing play was only 22 yards). His season later was over after an injury but is fully healthy going into this year.
What to expect in 2015: Ryan Mallett seems like the better fit over Brian Hoyer. Ryan Mallett has better measurables due to his large frame and arm strength. He has been more accurate than Hoyer over his NFL and NCAA careers and deserves the chance for the Texans starting gig. The biggest advantage Ryan Mallett has is his uncertainty. Everyone knows what Brian Hoyer brings to the table but there is something eerily exciting about Ryan Mallett. Nobody really knows what his upside is, how much Tom Brady helped him, or his maturity level. His game against the Browns last year was enough for me to believe there is more upside in Mallett than Hoyer. Either way, the Texans need three things to win to help out the starting quarterback: 1) A healthy Arian Foster for spacing and to set up long bombs through play action, 2) explosiveness from DeAndre Hopkins or another play-maker to move the ball down the field in a hurry when the offense gets stagnant or the team is behind in games, and 3) very strong defensive performances to allow for the quarterback to play more conservative to limit turnovers.