Bledsoe calls decision to draft Mallett 'wise'

Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett surely has a strong arm and can make all the throws. Still, the biggest criticism of his football skills is that draft analysts believe he will be a statue in the pocket.

The New England Patriots drafted Mallett in the third round, and you know who liked the pick?

A rifle-armed former Patriots quarterback who was a statue in the pocket.

"He's a big, strong-armed guy," Drew Bledsoe said Monday. "I've never met him, don't know much about him, but it sounds like he throws it pretty good. I've watched him play a little bit. We'll see how that plays out for them. But he seems to check the boxes, at least physically."

Bledsoe held a conference call to talk about his selection for the Patriots' Hall of Fame. He beat out former head coach Bill Parcells and AFL star defensive lineman Houston Antwine in an online fan vote. Bledsoe and AFL center Jon Morris, a senior committee selection, will comprise this year's induction class.

On the conference call, Bledsoe was asked for his thoughts on Mallett, who likely slid in the draft because of questions about his mobility and character. But few dispute Mallett's arm and preparedness for the NFL game.

Mallett will compete with Brian Hoyer to be Brady's top understudy. Brady became a star after a valuable developmental period under Bledsoe. When Brady went down with a knee injury in the 2008 season opener, the Patriots won 11 games with backup Matt Cassel.

"I think everybody recognizes that having a good backup quarterback is essential in this day and age," Bledsoe said. "Guys are still getting bigger, faster and stronger, and to rely on one guy to fill that very important position is a risky proposition.

"I think that was probably a wise move on their part. They saw value there in a talented guy who can come in and learn behind Tommy for years to come. ... That backup quarterback position is never important until it becomes the most important thing. That was probably a wise selection on their part to have a quality talent behind Tommy if he ever does get injured."