Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Tyler Bray surprised many when he announced he would forego his senior season and enter the 2013 NFL Draft. A Vols offense steeped with talent struggled for much of the season, and many felt that Bray could use another year in college to potentially put himself back into first round contention. Still, Bray has the physical tools to be an NFL starter.
During his junior year at Tennessee, Bray completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,612 yards, 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He was nominated for numerous postseason awards before the season began, but finished with no hardware after the Volunteers went 5-7 on the season.
- At 6'6, 215 pounds, SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn notes that Bray has the frame of a protoypical NFL quarterback. No one will be questioning whether or not Bray can spot his receivers downfield, and he is difficult to bring down in the pocket.
- Arm strength. Fairburn notes that Bray's arm is perhaps his biggest asset. There isn't a throw that he can't make on the field, but Bray's deep ball in particular is a thing of beauty. His arm is strong enough that he can get the ball off without stepping into throws if he is feeling pressure.
- Bray is plenty confident too. Perhaps too much at times, but at least NFL teams won't have to worry about the rookie being too intimidated by the big stage.
- Bray is still a work in progress. Fairburn notes that despite all of his talents, Bray still struggles with footwork. He throws off his back foot too often, and doesn't have ideal mobility to move around the pocket or escape a pass rush.
- As a result of spotty footwork, Bray's accuracy is inconsistent, although Fairburn notes that he has improved since his junior season. When Bray gets his feet set, he usually puts the ball in the right spot.
- Bray also needs to work on his release. He tends to hold the ball low, and a long windup poses a big issue for a quarterback who isn't fleet of foot.
- Bray's attitude may come under the most scrutiny leading up to April, however. He had a run-in with the law during the Summer before the 2012 season, and you can bet NFL execs will be asking him about it in interviews.
Tape of Tyler Bray against Missouri courtesy of draftbreakdown.com.
- Matt Waldman of FootballOutsiders.com:
More so than any quarterback in this 2013 class, Bray fits the gunslinger mold. The Clint Eastwood movie The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is the appropriate summation of what I see from the Volunteers prospect. Physically, he's a franchise-caliber talent with the confidence to make big-time NFL throws. He still needs to develop the decision-making maturity and technical discipline that the headliners of the 2012 class displayed in relative abundance. The question is whether he'll cross the divide between talent and production that all rookies must face.
- Scouting report via CBSSports.com:
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.
COMPARES TO: Jay Cutler, Bears -- Like Cutler, Bray has tremendous arm strength - and confidence in it - but seems to enjoy the challenge of tougher throws and will often attempt them rather than take safer options.
- Prior to the 2012 season, Bray was named to 2012 Preseason Watch Lists for Davey O'Brien National Quarterback of the Year, Manning Award and Maxwell Award.
- Visit cfbstats.com for Bray's complete career stats with Tennessee.
2013 NFL Combine performance:
Far from an athletic, running quarterback, Bray's underwhelming numbers in the 40-yard dash (5.05) and other drills, like the shuttle and 3-cone drill, weren't exactly surprising. However, he measured in with prototypical NFL size at 6'6, 232 pounds and impressed in throwing drills, by almost all reports.
Nothing about his combine performance will be viewed as a big negative and he only helped himself with the showing.
Tyler is on Twitter. Check out @tbrayvol8.
Had fun last night at the Laker vs Heat game with my dude @josh_boyce. Now it's back to work.— Tyler Bray (@tbrayvol8) January 18, 2013
Bray was being touted as a potential future first rounder heading into the 2012 season for good reason. There is no doubt that he has the measurables to be a starter in the NFL, but this past season proved that he is still a raw product. As a result, he will likely drop to the second day of the draft at the earliest. Bray is ranked as the the fifth-best quart