The Impending Tyler Bray Debacle

Why Tyler Bray will get lost in the shuffle. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Tennessee’s Junior Quarterback Tyler Bray has reportedly declared for the NFL Draft.  Here’s why this decision is a total disaster for him and the NFL team that selects him.  We’ll look through three lenses:

– The 2012 Season alone

– His evolution from 2011 to 2012

– His performance in the ”Separation Six”

The 2012 Season

When I run Bray’s 2012 schedule-adjusted (SA) performance through my system, he grades out as a 73.8  (a 95+ score is the potentially-elite cutoff).  For historical comparison, the two players who appear immediately ABOVE him in my database are JP Losman (75.5) and Derek Anderson (74.1).  I bet you’re really excited to see those names!

Bray has two things going for him.  First is the frame of an NFL quarterback (6′ 6”).  Second is the regularity with which he throws touchdown passes in relevant games, with five 2+ Passing TD games in seven relevant outings (71%).  But, as we dig deeper, we see that his SA completion percentage of  54.1% just doesn’t cut, nor does his SA 1.5 interceptions per game.

His Evolution from 2011 to 2012

In any prospect, you want to see continued growth throughout their college career.  This is the ‘upside’ that you hear about when hearing player analysis.  To see a player level off over their last two years of college indicates that they’ve hit their ceiling and are a limited prospect.  As a perfect example, look at Brandon Weeden.  The 28 year old Oklahoma State quarterback was knocked for ‘having limited upside’ and was labeled as ‘he is what he is at this age.’  To numerically confirm that, Weeden performed quite well in both his 2010 and 2011 seasons, but his performance was almost identical in both years, indicating that there was no room for growth at age 28.

For Tyler Bray, his performance has not only plateaued when comparing 2011 to 2012, but in some metrics he has performed worse:

  • He turned in 2+ Passing TD games with the same frequency in relevant games
  • He averaged 3 fewer passing attempts in relevant games
  • He completed 6% fewer passes in relevant games
  • His yards per completion went from 12.1  to 12.2, a minor positive
  • He threw touchdowns 11% less frequently
  • He threw interceptions 68% more frequently

If nothing else, we can agree that things are certainly not heading up, as a developing prospect should be?

The Separation Six

If we look at the six toughest defenses Bray faced over the past two years (as a proxy for facing NFL defenses) his performance falls flat on its face.  Considering that Bray missed part of 2011 with an injury, we’ll tip the scale slightly toward 2012 and examine four games from this season and two games from last.

Bray’s average stat line in these games:

18/ 35  227 yards  1.5 TD  1.5 INT

When crunched through my formula, he grades out at a 68.  To understand where that ranks him with recent prospects, consider these player’s performance in the Separation Six

Andrew Luck:  110.4

RG3:  95.7

Andy Dalton:  92.6

Nick Foles: 87.3

Brandon Weeden: 82

Tyler Bray: 68

Tyler Bray is simply not ready for the NFL.  All of these quarterbacks should/would come off the board before him (in no order)  Tyler Wilson, Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, Geno Smith, Bryn Renner, AJ McCarron, to name a few.  I might roll the dice on him in Round 4, but anything before that would be a mistake for everyone involved.  You should have stayed in school, Tyler.