I’ve recently been tasked with scouting and grading the three quarterbacks that seem to be in the “second tier” at the position for the 2015 NFL draft. These 3 QBs are Bryce Petty from Baylor, Brett Hundley from UCLA, and Garrett Grayson from Colorado State. Let’s take a look at who is the best of the trio…
I’ve decided the best approach to handling this task is to keep the conversation trait-based. The ways I’m going to be judging these prospects are listed below. If I think a prospect struggles in one of these areas I will show you an example of his struggles, if I think it is something he does very well, I will show you an example of his success.
Handling Pressure: pocket presence and delivering the ball under pressure
Arm Strength: Raw power, and velocity
Accuracy: Are they on target and also are they able to deliver the ball in the proper place?
Progression: Can they work through reads at a fast enough pace to be successful in the NFL?
Bryce Petty is generating a lot of buzz of late as you hear things like “most natural thrower in the draft” from some of the more well-known media draft scouts. Let’s start with him.
Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Size: 6’3, 230 LBs
Stats: 3,855 Yards 29 TDs, 7 INTs, 63.1% CMP
I would say Petty is pretty below average when it comes to working within the pocket and handling pressure. His collegiate scheme did a good job of slowing down the pass rush with a variety of play action and screen looks.
However, when he is pressured, things can go pretty poorly for Petty as he doesn’t show the natural instincts for working in the pocket that you would like to see out of, what some say, is a highly regarded prospect. Let’s take a look.
On this 3rd down play Petty has over 2 full seconds to feel the pressure and step up into a pretty big vacant area in the pocket. IF he makes this move, the edge rusher that gets the sack is easily pushed right by and he has plenty of time to work through progressions and get the ball out to give his playmakers a chance to convert.
Petty boasts a solid NFL arm, but not one that will rank up there with the best in the league. He does a good job of getting his body into most of his throws and tends to get some very good zip in the short to intermediate passing game.
When Petty is working within rhythm he’s able to put the right amount of velocity on the ball to give defenders fits as they try to make a break.
On this first down play, the Baylor Bears run play action with twin verticals to the top of the screen. Petty works well to gather after the play fake and drill the ball up the seam accurately with great velocity to beat the safety.
Petty flashes top notch accuracy but more frequently you see some glaring misses in his tape. Art and Kendall Briles did a great job of getting Petty a lot of great opportunities for chunk plays that it kind of hid his poor downfield accuracy.
Petty can be found frequently working from clean pockets and missing open downfield targets.
For this case, I’ll show 2 examples of Petty missing very badly downfield with some rather wide open targets.
This type of opportunity won’t be there half as frequently in the NFL as it was for Petty at Baylor. This is worrisome, as these plays were back to back in the SMU game.
This is by far the hardest area to evaluate Bryce Petty. I almost feel like incomplete is the best rating to give this trait. The reads Baylor sets up for him are very far from typical route concepts and coverage beaters.
He is pretty good at getting through these unconventional reads, but not sure that is indicative of his ability to progress through pro style reads at a fast enough pace vs NFL coverages as the Baylor offensive scheme bends defenses in a way that you can’t expect to see in the NFL.
Overall Grade: 5th round
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Size: 6’3, 226LBs
Stats: 3,155 Yards, 22 TDs, 5 INTs, 69.1% CMP
Brett Hundley helped bring UCLA football into the top ten during his Junior season. Hundley is an athletic QB who’s capable of using his legs to create offense while also being known for having “all of the tools”.
Hundley occasionally flashes good footwork in the pocket, but he more frequently is caught in between and not ready to make a real move to extend a play, whether that move should be made in or out of the pocket.
This is an example of the issues I’ve seen with Hundley. He looks hesitant and indecisiveness in his pocket movement.
For someone who is considered to have “all of the tools”, Hundley is lacking the velocity you would expect to see. Hundley is able to get the ball way down field when he has to, but frequently he struggles to drive the ball on a line with velocity to the sidelines.
Here Hundley is throwing to the far sideline, and the ball is floating its way there. You can get away with not having to make this throw in the league, but if you’re going to try it you better be able to get a lot on it.
One of the areas where I see a lot of struggles for Hundley is in his ability to deliver the ball accurately. There are times when he is playing from a clean pocket, and unable to deliver the ball accurately to an open receiver.
Here you see Hundley remain patient in the pocket, and fill the open space ( to buy himself time for his WR to come open on the dig route. This is an example (as mentioned above) of Hundley flashing adequate ability within the pocket.
The throw, however, was very bad. Hundley misses a receiver in a wide open window by what looks like several feet. This type of bad throw in the NFL is going to lead to turnovers in a hurry.
On this play, you see Hundley work through his progressions from left to right. They’re running a play action pass with 3 verticals from the trips set to the boundary side. On this play, Hundley has a chance to step up into the pocket, but he floats the ball downfield and leaves it short.
The WR had created enough of a bucket for the throw that there is no excuse for missing this opportunity.
UCLA’s offense in 2014 was a spread system, designed to make the reads easy and get the ball out of Hundley’s hands quickly, or allow him an opportunity to use his great mobility to make a play. Despite of this, Hundley does show a willingness to hang in the pocket and get through his reads even when the first or 2nd read aren’t there.
On this play you see UCLA come out in a 3 wide set, with twins to the field side and a wide receiver outside of the TE to the near side. Hundley takes his drop reading the slot receiver to the right trying to read the coverage and manipulate the defense.
He is forced to slide up in the pocket and he quickly flashes his eyes off of his 2 reads on the right side, all the way back down field to the left sideline where he delivers a strike for a huge play. These are the types of flashes that are going to get Hundley drafted higher than he is ready to be.
Overall Grade: 4th round
Garrett Grayson, QB, Colorado State
Size: 6’2, 213 LBs
Stats: 4,006 Yards, 32 TDs, 7 INTs, 64.3 % CMP
Garrett Grayson is not as commonly known as Bryce Petty and Brett Hundley, but that may be more indicative of his team’s prominence rather than his own ability. Grayson’s a pretty heady quarterback who flashes the ability to be very good in the intermediate passing game.
I’ve highlighted him prior in my under the radar series, but hopefully if you missed that I can shed enough light on him for you here.
In my opinion, I see a lot of examples of Grayson handling pressure very well by moving within the pocket and keeping his body in a position to deliver the ball with velocity and accuracy.
This is one of my favorite examples from my study on Grayson. Here he is facing pressure in his own end, but he steps through a small hole in the pocket and delivers a strike with some exceptional velocity.
Grayson shows the ability to put good velocity on the ball in the intermediate passing game as you were able to see in the clip above. In this case, he is able to do so from within the pocket, but with the walls of the pocket being closed in on him.
A pass with less velocity may end up being intercepted as the defense was closing down the window the receiver created in his route.
Grayson lacks elite deep ball accuracy, but as mentioned before he thrives in the intermediate passing game. In this instance, Grayson chooses to hit his slot receiver to his left on a seam route.
Grayson’s allotted the ability to step into the throw and takes advantage by delivering a strike up the seam and dead in the heart of the WR’s frame as that is the one place the safety can’t make a real play on it.
Grayson is willing to hang in the pocket and get through progressions. He’s able to locate his second and third read pretty smoothly, and frequently is able to deliver accurate balls when doing so.
On this play, you see Colorado State lined up in a bunch to Grayson’s right. The nearest receiver runs across the field on an over route, and the lead man in the bunch set delays before running about a 10 yard out route.
Grayson very quickly recognizes that the defender on the backside has stayed home and is sinking into the passing lane to the over route, and comes back across the field to his receiver running the out route. The ball could’ve been a bit better though as he left it on the receiver’s inside shoulder.
In my opinion, Garrett Grayson is the 3rd best Quarterback in the draft class and one that a team should be looking to add in the 2nd round. I think he is way ahead of Petty and Hundley in what I consider the most important areas of playing QB, handling pressure and delivering the ball accurately.
Overall Grade: 2nd round