NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 17: Quarterback Tyler Bray #8 of the University of Tennessee drops back for a pass against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray was highly-recruited coming out of high school. He stepped in as Tennessee’s starting quarterback in 2010, throwing 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a freshman.
At 6-6, 232 pounds, Bray has the prototypical build for an NFL quarterback. He’s got perhaps the strong arm in this class, snapping the football out quickly. Bray can make any throw on the field with ease; he can throw a deep out from the far hash about as well as Jay Cutler when he came out of Vanderbilt.
Also like Cutler, Bray has confidence in his arm. That’s a good thing at times, but Bray also forces passes into coverage quite often. If he gets locked onto a receiver, there’s no stopping him. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but that mentality won’t work in the NFL. Bray has to do a much better job of coming off of his first read and checking the ball down to his backs or tight ends.
The most concerning aspect of Bray’s game to me is that he’s inaccurate. You can have all of the arm strength in the world, but it doesn’t matter if your receivers can’t catch the football. Despite being equipped with perhaps the best wide receiver trio in the nation in 2012, Bray completed only 59.4 percent of his passes. Over his three-year career, Bray connected on just 58.6 percent of all attempts. If he can’t throw the ball accurately in the SEC, why would he be able to do it in the NFL?
NFL Comparison: Ryan Mallett
Bray is a slightly more mobile version of Mallett—a tall, strong-armed quarterback who struggles with accuracy.
Bray is projected to go as high as the second round. That would be poor value for someone who doesn’t consistently connect on his passes, but there’s still upside with Bray because he can make any throw. If he can learn to check the ball down more often, his completion rate will increase.
Fit In Dallas
Will the Cowboys take a flier on a quarterback this year? I can’t see them doing it in the first two rounds, so Bray would probably need to drop into the third to be an option. That’s certainly possible, and he could theoretically be in play if the ‘Boys have him rated higher than me.
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Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.