|Class:||RS Sophomore||40 time:||N/A|
One of the biggest debates over the 2014 NFL Draft class will be which redshirt sophomore Pac-12 quarterback is the better player between Oregon‘s Marcus Mariota and UCLA‘s Brett Hundley. While that question might seem silly to some right now considering that Mariota has had a Heisman-worthy season thus far while Hundley is just 32nd in the country in passing yards, there are plenty of reasons to believe that Hundley will end up being the better pro quarterback.
First of all, Hundley is built better than Mariota, and in fact every other quarterback who has a realistic chance of being taken in this year’s first round. He has a cannon of an arm, which Mariota does not, and he has proven that he can be accurate on mid and long-range throws. His short accuracy still needs some polishing, but that is something that can be addressed more easily in the NFL. It’s notable that with 17 more pass attempts Hundley has a 68.2 completion percentage compared to Mariota’s 64.0. Hundley is also a talented runner, and while he doesn’t have the elite speed that Mariota has he has a Cam Newton-like power-running style which will probably be more practical in the NFL.
Ultimately, Mariota is a better option than Hundley at this point because he is more ready to be plugged into an NFL offense and succeed right away. However, Hundley’s tools will likely make him the better quarterback in the long run, and in addition he has enough potential to be better than Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who most consider to be this class’s top quarterback.
Hundley is a guy who could truly benefit from spending another year in college where he’d have the chance to hone his skills in a lower-pressure environment. While this is probably unlikely considering the rumors that Hundley has been communicating with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation agency, it’s something that he should still consider. If Hundley indeed comes out this year he’ll probably have to settle for being the third quarterback taken, but with such a heavy need at the position around the league he’ll almost certainly be a first rounder.
- Very strong arm and can make long throws downfield with ease
- Strong, physical build; has better body composition than any other potential first-round QB
- Great mid-range accuracy
- Can pin long passes on the dot as long as his receivers don’t become compromised by coverage
- Can throw balls accurately into tight spaces
- Runs with a very powerful upright style
- Able to make quick adjustments on the fly, even with a rush in his face, as evidenced by one of his touchdown passes against Nebraska, lobbed over a host of pass rushers’ heads
- Has some experience working under center
- Self described “film room junkie” who has the will to improve immensely
- Will undoubtedly impress in combine interviews with his captivating personality
- Dedicated student who is scheduled to graduate with a dual degree in Economics and African-American studies in Fall of 2014
- Puts too much touch on screen passes at times
- Tends to wind up and reach back on longer passes, which may be difficult for him to pull off against an NFL rush
- Too quick to get rid of the ball under pressure
- Somewhat interception-prone
- Needs to do a better job of fighting off the rush
- Likes to scramble but doesn’t move very quickly until he gets into open space
Hundley has been able to keep afloat a UCLA offense that lost key contributors Johnathan Franklin and Joseph Fauria after 2012. While his 1198 passing yards and 16 touchdowns thrown are not on pace to exceed his 3745 yards and 29 touchdowns of last year, he looks more polished overall this year and has slightly increased his completion percentage and passer rating from last season. He’s already exceeded his rushing totals from last season, as he has 98 carries for 431 yards as compared to 160 carries for 355 yards last year. With six rushing touchdowns to date he’s likely to exceed his nine rushing scores from last year as well. Though Hundley’s numbers may not be as flashy as they were last year, it’s very obvious that he’s a much more polished player than he was last year.
2014 Draft Projection: First Round