Shining spotlight on Ryan Mallett's status

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the New England Patriots selected quarterback Ryan Mallett in the third round of the 2011 draft, they gave him his rookie season to learn behind the scenes on the third spot on the depth chart. Tom Brady was entrenched as the starter and Brian Hoyer was a capable backup.

The same situation could unfold this year with rookie Jimmy Garoppolo. That is, unless Mallett is somehow not part of the picture.

The league-owned NFL Network attempted to forward that storyline during its draft coverage, fanning the flames that perhaps Mallett could be part of a trade.

This topic was broached with Patriots coach Bill Belichick late Friday night.

Q: Do you view this situation as similar to 2011 when you drafted Ryan Mallett in the third round and had Brian Hoyer here and you gave him a year to learn before he maybe bumps up the next year if that’s how it unfolds?

BB: It could. I don't know. It could. I don't have any control over how anything is going to unfold. We put the players out there and they compete and we evaluate them. I can't control that.

Q: I was asking more about having three quarterbacks.

BB: We'll do whatever is best for the team. We've had four, we've had three, we've had two. So whatever's best for the team, that's what we'll do. Nothing is set in stone. We've had different numbers of guys at different positions. I don't think there's any concrete formula. We'll do what's best for the team.

Q: Do you envision Ryan Mallett being here as part of the competition?

BB: He is.

Q: Today, but in the summer? You turn on the TV and the league that is broadcasting the draft is talking about --

BB: Well, go talk to them. If they've got all the answers, go talk to them. A lot of people have got all the answers, so go get the story from them.