Patriots not afraid of Ryan Mallett at No. 74

Ryan Mallett had 3,869 yards on 266-of-411 passing with 32 touchdowns for Arkansas last season. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Pardon me for going out of order, but I have a feeling readers would like to digest this New England Patriots selection before their previous one. They drafted Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett with the 74th selection.

Why the Patriots took him: After his long slide, the Patriots ended Mallett's misery. He has tremendous physical skills but enough off-field question marks that every other team passed on him. The Patriots finally felt compelled to add an intriguing prospect so late in the draft. Risk is mitigated by the presence of Tom Brady, an ultimate leader and a chip-on-the-shoulder competitor who should provide the perfect example for Mallett to emulate.

How it affects the roster: Not much. The Patriots kept only two other quarterbacks last season. Backup Brian Hoyer should stick around. The other quarterback on the roster, Jonathan Crompton, probably doesn't have any hope.

Scouts Inc. says: Smooth over-the-top release. Follows through very well. Ball jumps off hand, and he possesses arguably the strongest arm of any quarterback we have evaluated in the 2011 class. Displays ability to make throw downfield off of back foot. ... Overall accuracy is good but still has room for improvement. Displays good mechanics and throws with great balance. Short accuracy is above average, but he can force receivers to open up on crossing routes on occasion. Needs to learn to take some heat off fastball at times.