Rapid reaction: Ryan Mallett

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Shocker.

When the Patriots drafted quarterback Ryan Mallett in the third round (74th overall), it was a move that few saw coming. Tom Brady is entrenched as the starter and the Patriots also have a promising backup in Brian Hoyer. Third-stringer Jonathan Crompton, a 2010 fifth-round draft choice of the Chargers, filled out the third spot on the depth chart entering the draft.

Mallett, who took a pre-draft visit to the Patriots, will now have the luxury of learning behind the scenes. Being around a pro like Brady should only help him. Mallett is considered a quarterback who can make all the throws, but he seemed to slip in the draft because of non-football-related questions. The Pro Football Weekly draft preview wrote, "issues still reside about his makeup and lack of maturity."

From a football standpoint, Hoyer's contract expires after the 2011 season and if he plays well in the preseason, he could draw Kevin Kolb-type interest around the NFL.

This gives the Patriots a highly-touted in-house option to move up the ranks should that scenario unfold.