KCCD Editor: Elliot Dennis
If there’s one guy who doesn’t get the attention from scouts he deserves, it’s Tyler Bray. Two years ago I thought, along with many others, that Bray might be in the running for the 1st overall selection in 2013. Now, obviously, that’s not the case. However he shouldn’t be in the doghouse among NFL scouts and writers that he currently is.
Bray will be attending the combine as a throwing quarterback. For those that don’t know, a “throwing quarterback” at the combine is a quarterback eligible for the draft that is considered a late-round to undrafted free agent prospect. To a guy of Bray’s talent, it’s an insult.
Bray has great size for an NFL quarterback at 6’6″, 215 lbs. He has a cannon for an arm and has displayed superior deep ball accuracy. His biggest question, however, is his consistency. Bray will continually wow you with some throws, then he’ll just make a completely bone-headed decision. A lot of his inconsistency is placed on the fact that he is just making the wrong reads or issues that can be fixed with good coaching.
Bray has several fundamental issues that can be fixed by better coaching in the NFL. He’s not careful in the pocket; he continually holds the ball down by his hip, where it should be held up high every throw. His footwork can be sloppy, but it’s not a huge issue. He drops his elbow when making throws, usually to his right, which causes a longer delivery and a late throw. Again, these are issues that can be solved with good NFL coaching.
A lot of people say that Bray played with two great receivers and a good tight end. Yes he did, but as a group they were really inconsistent. Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson are physical freaks but have issues catching the football. Bray had to deal with drops all season from his inconsistent receiving corps.
Bray is a guy that can sling it all over the field and make any throw necessary. He had to go through the turmoil of the Tennessee program the last three seasons but handled it well. He’d make some bad reads, but he’d keep leading the offense down the field often. Tennessee lost a lot of shootouts this year, so all the blame can’t be placed on Bray.
Aside from issues that can be fixed with good coaching, the only concern I have with Bray are his intangibles. He doesn’t appear to be a great leader, which is something you want out of a franchise quarterback. He’s had some off-the-field maturity concerns, but if a team can overlook those, they might be getting a steal at quarterback.
Bray has gotten playing time the past three seasons for the Vols, with starting every game his junior season. He improved every season and had a much better junior campaign than people give him credit for. Here’s a look at his statistical resume:
And now for my top-5 quarterbacks:
1. Geno Smith – West Virginia
Smith is still my #1 rated quarterback and I have him going first in my latest mock.
He didn’t compete in the Senior Bowl, but with the questions with the participating QBs there, it really doesn’t affect Smith’s draft stock.
Smith was awesome this season. He completed 71 percent of his passes for 4,205 yards, 42 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. He started the year with monstrous performances but was cooled down against Texas Tech and Kansas State. He was just okay in the bowl game against Syracuse.
The 6-foot-3, 214-pounder has prototypical NFL size for quarterbacks. His skillset is what you look for in a franchise QB. He makes good reads and shows great vision. He has great accuracy, but his arm isn’t “elite” but is very good (Aaron Rodgers’ wasn’t either supposedly…). Smith can also make plays with his feet. The biggest thing he needs to work on is his footwork but that can be coached.
Projection: Top-5 pick
2. Tyler Wilson – Arkansas
Wilson has been my #2 QB since this whole process started. I gave my argument for him a couple months back.
Wilson didn’t have a great season in 2012. His head coach was dismissed before the season, he lost his top-3 receivers, and suffered a concussion early in the season. He ended up completing 62 percent of his passes for 3,387 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
Wilson has a very strong arm, good accuracy, and he is good at making reads. And at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he has prototypical NFL quarterback size.
Projection: Top-15 pick
3. Matt Barkley – USC
I was on the fence about whether to put Bray or Barkley as my #3 QB. I went with the more experienced and knowledgeable Barkley, for now.
Barkley would have been a top-5 pick in 2012 if he came out early, but he decided to go back to school and some of his flaws were exposed. Barkley was a 4-year starter for the Trojans and he finished his senior season by throwing for 3.273 yards, 36 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, and completing 64 percent of his passes.
He has the best mechanics and understanding of the pro game than any other QB in this class. His biggest flaw is his arm strength. He struggles to pinpoint the deep throws and has showed some questionable decision making.
Projection: 2nd round pick
4. Tyler Bray – Tennessee
Some would say that this is much too high for Bray but I disagree. He has shown enormous potential and no other guy stands out. My argument for Bray is above.
Projection: 2nd-3rd round pick
5. Mike Glennon-North Carolina State
Another spot where I was on the fence. The fifth spot was between Glennon and Ryan Nassib so I went with the guy with more potential (I’m not high on Nassib anyways).
Glennon has the best arm out of the top-5 QBs. He has drawn a lot of Joe Flacco comparisons during the draft process. This season he has completed 58 percent of his passes for 4,031 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. Much like Bray, Glennon has big time consistency issues. The problem with Glennon is some of his issues are related to accuracy and things that would be hard to get rid of due to coaching. If he can work on his accuracy and decision making, he can be a very successful NFL quarterback with his very talented arm.
Projection: 2nd-3rd round pick