Yesterday, I wrote an article criticizing Kansas City General Manager John Dorsey for wasting picks in the 2013 NFL Draft last weekend on players that may not have been drafted at all and may have been available as undrafted players later. In all fairness, I spent much of my Sunday afternoon last weekend screaming at my television screen for the Chiefs to grab Tyler Bray. I yelled and cursed and pouted all day to no avail.
Imagine my satisfaction and surprise when Bray was not drafted at all by anyone and the team that jumped into the breach was the Kansas City Chiefs. If I am going to complain that the Chiefs took a bunch of guys nobody else was going to draft, I have to give the kudos for not selecting a player that was not selected by anyone, and getting him as soon as the draft was over. This is why I am a blogger and not a NFL general manager.
So, why am I so excited about a quarterback that not one team in the NFL felt worthy of being drafted? Tyler Bray has some significant talent. walterfootball.com believed he could be drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round.
In college Bray struggled with his decision-making at times. He was repeatedly hurt by dropped passes and Tennessee’s program had a lot of turmoil over the last few seasons. Bray wasn’t in the best place to succeed and make the most of his physical talents.
However, NFL coaches are going to like the teaching he received from Jim Chaney at Tennessee. Chaney is well regarded in the NFL and has given Bray preparation in a pro style offense.
If Bray is developed well, he could turn into a quality starting quarterback in the NFL. Because Bray is a project with some significant accuracy issues to overcome, he’ll probably fall to the second day of the draft. Bray would be best in a pro-style offense with a lot of downfield passing based off of play-action with a quality running game. A West Coast offense wouldn’t be as good of a fit for Bray.
CBSSports.com had the 6’6″, 232-pounder going late in the third round. It is a long drop from there to undrafted free agency status. Rob Rang at CBSSports.com recognized Bray’s weaknesses but also mentioned that Bray is terrific on slant routes that are so popular in the NFL and that he may throw the best deep ball of any of the quarterbacks that were available in this draft.
STRENGTHS: Bray possesses a great deal of natural arm talent and possesses even more confidence in his ability to fit the ball between tight windows. In this way, he is reminiscent of former SEC standout Jay Cutler (Vanderbilt).
He’s consistently more accurate when driving the ball rather than touch passes and has become especially lethal due to his timing and accuracy on the slant and post with his big receivers. Furthermore, he might be the best of the top quarterback prospects at delivering a consistently ball on the deep out.
WEAKNESSES: He boasts a very quick release but doesn’t fully take advantage of his height due to a three-quarter delivery. He’s also a bit lazy with his fundamentals, failing to step into the direction of his passes. This consistently forces his receivers to adjust to his throws, cutting down on the potential for yardage after the catch and leading his teammates into some hellacious hits.
For all of natural gifts, Bray remains a work in progress when projecting him to the NFL. For one, he takes the vast majority of his snaps out of the shotgun. More important, while willing to step up into a disintegrating pocket, he is a long-legged, relatively slow-footed athlete who has only marginal mobility overall.
Chris Burke from SI.com, after the NFL Combine, noted that during drills, Bray was accurate, which is a big knock against him, and Burke felt Bray really helped his draft status.
Say hello to your high-riser at the QB position out of the combine. Bray weighed in at 232, up a whopping 24 pounds from his final game at Tennessee. Like Glennon and Nassib, he’s far from a burner or an option guy, so his high 40 time shouldn’t hinder him too much.
And that’s especially true because Bray zinged the ball (and did so accurately) during drills. There’s definitely room for quarterbacks to rise and fall between now and the draft, and Bray’s weekend work has him trending in the right direction.
Also from an SI.com scouting report:
Perhaps the best arm talent in the Draft, Bray makes 20+ yard throws on a rope with remarkable ease. When he is on and striding into throws he can fit passes into very tight spots with outstanding zip and accuracy. Although he is not a good athlete, Bray can slide within pocket to avoid rush, can re-set feet and gets rid of the ball well. He does a good job of identifying the blitz pre-snap and gets the ball to the receiver in area that was vacated by blitzer. Few quarterbacks can make the 15 to 20 yard skinny post throw with the zip and accuracy to allow the receiver to catch pass and start up the field in a flash. When he is not pressured he will sit in the pocket and goes through his progressions well to find an open receiver. Additionally, when he senses/feels pressure he has consistently shown a willingness to throw the ball away.
I cannot remember evaluating a quarterback in recent years who frustrated me so much. There is no doubt in my mind that Bray has frontline starter’s talent, but his footwork, deliberate throwing motion and inconsistent vision of the defense led to his production being so ridiculously inconsistent. While he is not a top athlete and looks extremely skinny for a 6’6 quarterback, he is nimble enough to slide and avoid rushers within the pocket and is able to re-set and throw with surprising ease. Overall, Bray’s performance at Tennessee does not warrant being drafted before the third round, which is why I have given him a third round grade. However, I also have no doubt that if you put Bray’s 50 best throws on a highlight reel they would be as good as any other quarterback in this year’s draft class. Then when you add what I believe will be an outstanding passing display at his Pro Day (Few quarterbacks get to throw to two elite receivers and a good tight end prospect that he is completely comfortable with), I have a feeling that some team is going to gamble on Bray late in the first round or right at the top of the second round.
All and all, it is obvious Tyler Bray has the skills to be a good starting quarterback in the NFL. He has trouble with his accuracy, consistency, and mobility. He also has one of the strongest arms around. He is probably better than Ricky Stanzi right now. The Chiefs finally have the time and depth to properly develop a starting quarterback. Tyler Bray is that quarterback. Except for his mobility, all of Bray’s weaknesses can be corrected with good coaching and hard work. There is a very good chance Tyler Bray is the quarterback of the future for the Kansas City Chiefs, and he didn’t even cost the Chiefs a draft pick. It is a terrific signing and Dorsey should be commended.