Quarterback is the most important position in the NFL, which no further evidence needed than looking at the teams that are perennial playoff contenders and the teams that routinely have a top-10 pick in the draft every April. As such, quarterbacks are always the most scrutinized NFL Draft prospects every year as teams try to find a franchise savior or a player they can develop for the future.
One of the more physically gifted quarterbacks in this year’s class is Tennessee’s Tyler Bray. He has the size (6’6″, 232 lbs.) and arm strength worthy of a first-round pick, and he recorded the top peak ball speed (59 MPH) at the NFL Combine for what that’s worth. 40-yard dash times should not be held in high regard for quarterbacks, but Bray’s times of 5.0 and 5.07 seconds at the Combine points to a lack of agility that could lead to trouble at the next level.
Bray has definitely had to answer questions about his maturity during the pre-draft process. He was charged with two misdemeanors in July 2012 in relation to a reckless boating incident, and later that month a complaint was filed against him for throwing beer bottles off his apartment balcony at cars.
Bray had a productive 2012 season for the Volunteers (3,612 yards, 34 touchdowns), and on the heels of that chose to forego his senior season and enter the draft. Bray’s decision to go pro was likely driven by the dismissal of head coach Derek Dooley and his top two targets (Cordarelle Patterson and Justin Hunter) leaving school early, but he would have benefited from another year in college with just one full season as a starter under his belt. If Bray had stayed in school, he would have been among the top quarterback prospects entering next season.
Outside of his arm talent, Bray’s overall mechanics are sub-par and need refining. Plenty of quarterbacks have entered the league with elite physical tools, but upon immediate exposure to NFL defenses their weaknesses were magnified and a lack of intangibles was left for all to see. Bray seems to be cut from a similar cloth, though he is unlikely to be burdened with the expectations surrounding being a first-round pick.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.