Tennessee QB Tyler Bray Would be Wise to Declare for NFL Draft

By Patrick Schmidt

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray could be the next Volunteers to declare for the NFL draft after Justin Hunter announced his intentions to leave Knoxville earlier this week.

Newly named head coach Butch Jones is already trying to keep incoming recruits from reneging on their oral commitment to the school, but he should focus on trying to keep his signal caller on campus for one more year.

However, that scenario appears to be growing less likely by the minute.

At 6-5 and 215 pounds Bray has all the measurable that NFL scouts drool over and his arm talent is as good as any other draft-eligible quarterback this season.

A three-year starter, Bray put together his best season this year throwing for 3612 yards on 59.4 completion percentage and 34 touchdowns in the best conference in college football that boast a number of the nations best defenses.

Considering Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Brandon Weeden and Christian Ponder have been first round picks in the last two years; I would have to think Bray has the potential to crack the first round of April’s draft. Furthermore, he is more talented than Mark Sanchez, Brady Quinn, and Chad Henne who are all starting in the league.

Don’t you think Bray is looking to cash in and make some money rather than go back for another 5-7 season in college?

He is not without shortcomings and has not shown the ability to translate his talent into many wins in college, and could be compared to Jay Cutler in that regard–who was a first round pick despite not winning much while at Vanderbilt.

He has had his warts at Tennessee and has been a victim of the program’s unfair expectations, and while he could have played better in some games, don’t lay all the blame on him for the team’s shortcomings during his tenure at Tennessee.

Blame former coach Derek Dooley who was  the main reason for the team’s struggles, and the fact that Bray was able to play so well with that guy handicapping him is a testament to his ability.

Tennessee will miss him when he’s gone and will really start to appreciate the talent they had in Bray.

For Bray to merit first round consideration, he will have to prove that he has the mental make-up, intangibles and necessary leadership skills to go along with his superior physical skills.

Returning to Tennessee for his senior season without his top two receivers–Cordarrelle Patterson also may declare for the draft–with a new coach does not seem likely, and I predict Bray to declare for the draft and be a low first round pick in April’s NFL draft.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and an avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com airing live on Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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