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Bryce Petty is a bad option for Broncos

Despite a decorated and statistically impressive collegiate career, Petty is not the quarterback prospect fans should desire in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL Draft approaches, the Broncos will be scouting this years quarterback class dilligently in hopes to finding another signal caller who could lead the franchise down the road.  Unfortunately, this crop is one of the worst classes in the past decade, but given the uncertainty of our position in the future, it is almost a given that one will be selected by Denver in this years draft.

It is my firm belief that this season will be Peyton Manning’s last with the Denver Broncos.  Additionally, the likelihood that Brock Osweiler is the quarterback of the future for this franchise is slim to none.  His selection was one of the most frustrating of any pick under John Elway and was telegraphed as a near certainty from media circles based on Elway’s relationship with Dennis Erickson and Osweiler’s relationship with his son Jack Elway.

If you take a look at Petty’s collegiate statistics, you would come away impressed with his numbers.   In two full seasons as a starter for the Bears, he completed 62.7% of his passes, averaging 9.7 yards per attempt and he amassed 8195 yards.  Better yet, he had a 6-1 TD-to-INT ratio, with 62 touchdown tosses and only 10 interceptions in that timeframe.   Based on numbers one would assume he would deserve to get his name called early during the NFL Draft.

"They're only numbers — numbers on paper. Once you understand them, it's easy to make them behave." Petyr Baelish, Game of Thrones

Collegiate statistics are a tenuous measuring stick as to whether or not a prospect will successfully make the transition from the college ranks to the pros.  That is why scouting requires an in-depth knowledge of football philosophy and the ability to recognize issues that can and will impact their ability to achieve greatness in the NFL.   Even so, 

prospect evaluation is not an exact science and most every pick is a gamble, though there are good guidelines to follow in order to make sure the best call can be made once a team is officially on the clock.

Year in and year out, the best scouts and general managers whiff on prospects and the disparity over one player can vary immensely in league circles.   A certain team might have a player ranked as high as the second round based on their evaluation techniques, while their rival a few states away might not even consider him draftable.   The wealth of differentiating opinions and ambiguity is one of the reasons draft season is one of the most enjoyable times in all of sports.  Such qualities help raise the excitement factor for fans across the nation who are hopeful the draft will bring them greater gifts than they received under their Christmas tree.

For this article, I will make an argument as to why selecting Bryce Petty would be the equivalent to getting a box of coals in the NFL Draft. Listed below are several tidbits from my scouting report on Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty which express my concerns on his ability to become a quality NFL signal caller.

  • Comes from a spread offense and has limited experience making plays outside of the pocket.  With that in mind, I don't see him being a quality fit for Gary Kubiak, who has a history of having quarterbacks who can stretch out the length of plays and make big throws on the move outside of the pocket
  • Has virtually no play-calling experience and relies on sideline information from coaches, instead of his own intuition and personal judgment on how to best adjust against defenses.
  • Comes from a simplified spread offense under Art Briles, which is great for praying on collegiate defenses, but does not help a player improve his game knowledge or football acumen.  As such, I am not confident he will do well in chalkboard X’s and O’s sessions during private evaluations with teams -- essentially he is the anti-Jameis Winston in that regard.
  • Historically speaking, few spread quarterbacks are successful when making the leap to the NFL from the college ranks.  At Baylor, their offense is predicated on half field reads, as opposed to full field reads in pro-style offenses.  This necessitates he will take two years minimum to get in the groove of the NFL.  I worry he will never get there.
  • "While Petty has solid intangibles, leadership qualities and a quality resume from his college years, all the aforementioned are big red flags that arose after spending time watching him on tape."-Christopher Hart
  • His statistics are impressive, but most yard accumulation is a result of quick passes to primary receiver on quick/pop routes.  He rarely gets to the second option when reading the field (side to side) and struggles to differentiate reading levels of coverage (up and down), which makes me worry about his ability to ever become a starter in the NFL.  After watching half a dozen games, he made it to his third read less than the number of fingers I have on both my hands.  That is extremely troubling.
  • Horrendous footwork, which leads to lack of accuracy and zip on balls. Even with improved mechanics, his arm is a "B" grade strength at best.
  • Last but not least — he is not a clutch player, which is an X-factor trait for QBs and an important factor on projecting the successive quarterbacks. When the game is on the line and it matters, especially on third downs and when facing great odds, he rarely comes up with the big play. Petty struggled immensely against better teams in his conference with good defenses and did not register quality completion percentage (over 60%) in any of those games.

While Petty has solid intangibles, leadership qualities and a quality resume from his college years, all the aforementioned are big red flags that arose after spending time watching him on tape.  The lack of a long-term option at quarterback for Denver will lead them to selecting one in this years draft.  It will happen probably earlier than most would want or think, but it is a good football decision to make as the new coaching staff attempts to assemble a new vision and identity post-2015.

My only hope is that the rumors about the Broncos alleged interest in him are off, because it is my firm belief he will never become a competent quarterback.  He is the prototypical "system QB" who has a long learning curve ahead of him before he has the opportunity to see the field.  Petty profiles much more as a back-up in the likes of Matt Flynn, as opposed to a player who can become a top ten player at his position in the NFL.