This comes to a bit of a surprise to some, especially after what’s been a roller coaster-like career at Tennessee. Still, Bray has a lot to like in terms of physical qualities, mechanics and raw upside.
As a freshman, the 6-foot-6, 215-pound California native completed 55.8 percent of his passes for 1,849 yards 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Even then he was projected to be one of the top passers in the NCAA, pending development.
In 2011, his season was cut short due to a broken thumb. He wasn’t able to play in the more difficult part of his schedule, so it’s hard to grade him there.
But this year was a different story. Bray, with a freakishly good receiver corps at his disposal, threw for a whopping 3,612 yards and 36 touchdowns. That’s good, right? Not so fast.
Bray owned a 185.9 passer rating against non-conference opponents this season. That’s ridiculous – especially his 15-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. However, against ranked opponents (all from the SEC), he posted just 10 TDs to nine INTs.
That was good for a 119.1 passer rating, which would put him behind Stanford’s Josh Nunes in overall efficiency – and he was benched for a freshman.
Not only did Bray underachieve, but his team did as well: In his three years under center, the Volunteers were 16-21 (5-19 SEC). All were losing seasons.
Will he be ready to start Day 1 for an NFL team in 2013? No, definitely not – although I thought Ryan Tannehill needed a year to develop before being thrown into the fire, too.
Often compared to former Arkansas Razorback and current New England Patriots backup Ryan Mallet, Bray is projected to be selected somewhere in the second round.
But with teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, etc. in such desperate need for a young gunslinger, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bray taken in the early first round – especially in what looks to be a very weak quarterback class.