On January 27th, I wrote my scouting report on Bryce Petty of Baylor, within that report I came to the following conclusion:
I'm still very undecided on Petty and his pro potential. I see a lot of things on tape that I really don't like but then I see some things I love and I love his work ethic and you know the saying "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard". He has a steep learning curve for the NFL but a part of me really thinks he'll do it because he believes he can and he'll work his socks off for it. However I certainly don't think he's the best quarterback in the draft and I think he'll struggle early before finding his role. There are too many negatives for me to really buy into his NFL potential but write him off at your peril, if he lands with a good coach on a team willing to develop him, he could be very good.
From the moment we selected him in the 4th round, I've been studying tape on the former Baylor QB, in the hope that I'll be more convinced by his potential. I'm still very unsure about Petty, but after watching a number of interviews with him, if he doesn't succeed, it's not going to be through a lack of effort. He brings a fantastic attitude to the table and he's going to work his socks off to succeed.
Here are some issues that I picked up when watching.
Deep Ball Accuracy
I was watching the SMU tape to start off with and it struck me how inconsistent Petty was with his deep ball accuracy. He had 4 chances at long touchdown receptions to his receivers, he hit on one of them and missed on three. A 25% success rate didn't hurt Baylor against a poor SMU team, but it is something he'll need to clean up. In the NFL, you don't get 4 open chances a game, you get one, and when you get it, you better hit it.
Running Ability & Toughness
Petty isn't the fastest player you're ever going to see, but he has good athleticism for the position and he runs with authority and toughness. Put simply, he is a competitor who will take a hit if he has to, on occasions he takes hits you wouldn't want him to take but that's the price you pay when you run from the read option. Petty's decision making was excellent when running the read option, and he had a lot of success with it.
Baylor Offense - Simplified
It's hard to talk about Petty without mentioning the offense that he came from. The Art Briles offense is a simple one for a QB, mainly because the plays are called from the sideline, the QB has one read and it's all about fast players and a fast tempo. They spread their receivers out wide to create a very wide coverage responsibility area for the defense, as a result their players find themselves in man to man coverage. When the receivers are not getting behind defenders with ease, they are taking easy completions in the flat and turning it up-field.
As a result Bryce Petty is not asked to do too much. He has simple reads and simple throws, a lot of his completions come in the flats and 5-10 yards down field.
However, don't make the mistake of thinking that Bryce Petty doesn't have talent. He showcases a good arm and he can fit balls into tight windows. While he's not comfortable going through his progressions, he has done that in college and he's done it with success. However I'm not going to sit here and try and convince you that he throws most of his touchdowns to his 3rd read and into a tight window. The truth is, he throws the majority of his touchdowns to his first read who's wide open behind a defense who don't know how to handle the Art Briles air attack system. However, if you can score touchdowns by throwing to your first read who's wide open, why wouldn't you? He didn't have to go through his progressions all that much.
Bryce Petty doesn't have the strongest arm in the NFL draft, but he has a strong enough arm to make all the throws. Even when throwing off his back foot, he gets enough velocity behind the ball to complete all the throws you would want from an NFL quarterback. I appreciate that so far it hasn't been a ringing endorsement for Petty, but he really does have a lot of talent and I wanted to showcase a few throws that I found really impressive.
What will the Jets need to work on with Petty?
The Jets will need to work with Petty on reading an NFL defense, that is the single most important aspect. If he ever wants to start in the NFL, he's going to need to know how to go through his reads, progress to his hot read if under pressure and recognize blitzes.
His footwork is OK when he gets through his motion. However he took his snaps exclusively from the shotgun, the Jets will need to work on his drop back, keeping his balance and being in the right position to deliver the throw.
Running a huddle. Like Mariota, Petty didn't really run a huddle at Baylor, mainly because he didn't have to. Baylor run an offensive play on average every 20 seconds, as a result, Petty is a rhythm guy. An NFL team won't run that fast, so he needs to know how to get the play from the sideline, communicate it clearly to his team and manage the clock effectively.
There is a lot of work to do with Petty, and if you are expecting him to be starting from year one, you're not being realistic. However with my extensive film study of him, I've seen enough to suggest he can learn to run a pro offense and he has the arm talent to do so.
I don't like these developmental big arm quarterbacks who rarely if ever work out.
Petty is not one of those guys. He shows touch and I've seen him come off his first read, go to his second and deliver the ball on time. He feels pressure in the pocket and climbs and slides. He shows an understanding of the game and he's been one of the most productive college quarterbacks in recent memory. There is a lot of work to be done, but to repeat my initial conclusion from January
If you get a spare 13 minutes, make sure you watch this video.
Write him off at your peril, if he lands with a good coach on a team willing to develop him, he could be very good.