Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett wrapped up an official pre-draft visit with the Bengals on Friday, and Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with the Razorbacks’ all-time passing leader on Saturday night.
A lightning rod for criticism for his off- and on-field persona, Mallett insisted to Reedy that concerns about his character are overblown.
“There been times when I have not come off the best way,” conceded Mallett. “At the Combine I was listening to what the moderator said and that 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.”
The Bengals, who would presumably consider Mallett with the 35th overall pick as opposed to the fourth, have shown quite a bit of interest in him. In addition to last week’s team-facility visit, the Bengals met with Mallett at his March 8 Pro Day. Quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese made the trip to Fayetteville.
Mallett told Reedy that he can envision a smooth transition from Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino’s offense into new Cincinnati coordinator Jay Gruden’s West Coast system.
“I consider that I’ve been playing in a West Coast (offense) last three years,” said Mallett. “We ran a lot of crossing routes and shallow routes. That was a big part of our game.”
Ultimately, the Bengals are not expected to hold Mallett’s character concerns against him on draft weekend. That means he’ll likely be given strong consideration in the second round by Cincinnati if the team drafts a receiver or defensive lineman at No. 4 overall.