2015 NFL Draft Preview: QB Bryce Petty
The Sports Quotient’s annual Draft Preview series continues. Over the course of the 10 weeks leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, we will take a look at the top NFL prospects at each position. This ninth week, the focus is on quarterbacks. Today’s QB prospect is Bryce Petty out of Baylor University.
As are most quarterbacks that play college football in the great state of Texas, Petty is a Texan himself, who found his way to Baylor from the small town of Midlothian. Petty sat behind Robert Griffin III for two seasons, before taking the starting job as a junior where Petty led the Bears to a Big XII title. He was named Big XII athlete of the year his first season as a starter, including All-Big XII and All-American honors. His final season in Waco was equally star-studded, once again garnering All-American mentions. Not only was Petty a magician on the field, but even stronger in the classroom, where the 2015 Cotton Bowl Offensive MVP was a three-time All-Big XII Academic Honoree. Petty finished his collegiate career with 8,195 yards, 62 TD's and only 10 INT's.
Petty has an above-average arm, and when he steps into his throws, he can make every type of pass. He has fluid mechanics and he gets the ball out quickly. He balances nice touch with velocity down field, and for the most part, he's a solid deep thrower. Petty also has some zip on the football on the move, and is fairly accurate when flushed out of the pocket.
For starters, Petty rarely, if ever, made any NFL-type throws into tight coverage, as the Baylor offense was strictly a one-look scheme. His collegiate offense allowed for a lot of wide open throwing lanes without any high-stressed passes. He almost never made it past his first progression, forcing a lot of throws that shouldn't have been made. A troubling trait, he was always in the shotgun, never taking snaps under center, another must at the next level. He is gun-shy in a broken pocket, looking to scramble to his right or left instead of stepping forward and keeping his head downfield.
Given the past history of read-option, spread quarterbacks in the NFL, Petty doesn't have a lot going for him. Though, he is a smart kid that has a lot of next-level tools that can be refined. He's assuredly a No. 3 on the depth chart, maybe best-case scenario a No. 2 depending on the situation he's drafted into. His probability of being drafted as early as round two isn't very high, but a Day 2 selection in the fourth round is a possibility. Though, don't be surprised if he's a Day 3 pick, even with his college credentials.
Given his limited present skill-set, some team is going to take Petty knowing he has a lot of work to do. Luckily for Petty, teams are always willing to take a chance on a quarterback, and he does have a few translatable tools. Some franchises that immediately make sense are the Titans, Cowboys, Rams and Browns.
However, the Titans are in a strange situation with Zach Mettenberger, while the Browns seem to be stirring the pot for a big move. The Cowboys make sense given state roots and Brandon Weeden's terribleness as a backup, but Jerry Jones likely has other ideas to address instead of a third-string quarterback, and the Rams already have a Petty-like backup in Case Keenum.
A solid fit would be the Detroit Lions in the fifth round. Matt Stafford is very durable, so it's unlikely someone like Dan Orlovsky or Kellen Moore will see the field. Petty would slide in well in the Motor City, as the Lions are a team that like to pass and spread the field, and with freakish athletes such as Calvin Johnson on the outside, the Baylor product wouldn't have to do too much on the practice field. Head coach Jim Caldwell has a history of progressing quarterbacks, which makes a Petty project a strong marriage for both parties.