Maybe declaring for the draft a year early wasn’t such a bad decision for Tyler Bray. Sure, he didn’t get drafted, but he’s still found himself a great location to develop his NFL career in Kansas City.
In the months leading up to the draft one of the more frequently questions asked to scouts is “who is the Tony Romo/Tom Brady/Russell Wilson” of this draft. No matter how they answer, and the answers are almost always different from person to person, the answer always comes with a caveat. It makes sense really.
What makes those aforementioned names special is the improbability of their rise to stardom in the NFL. The difficult path that Bray has chosen for himself could, with any level of success, add his name to that list of improbable stars that quarterback needy teams dream of finding.
What makes Bray’s rise to stardom possible is the situation he’s put himself in, oddly enough. It’s very favorable to the possibility of his becoming a starting quarterback in the NFL.
For starters, I don’t think even the most optimistic of Chiefs fans see Alex Smith as a long term solution. Sure, Smith’s just found his groove in the NFL, but he’s nine years into his career which has him trending towards the back nine of it. Not only is Smith’s age not going to lend itself to a long and prosperous stay as a Chief, but there are serious limitations to his game. He can’t single-handedly win you a football game. Smith won’t lose you any football games, but he sure as hell isn’t going to win you any either. At best he can keep this talented Chiefs team afloat.
Then there’s the fact that Bray will be under the tutelage of one of the best quarterback developers in the league, Andy Reid. What Reid was able to do in Philadelphia was nothing short of phenomenal. He was able to help Michael Vick complete his comeback successfully (at least for a season) and convince the league that Kevin Kolb could be a starting quarterback. If those two acts alone aren’t miracles, I don’t know what is.
The most important thing though is of course the raw talent at Bray’s disposal. A lot of emphasis has to be placed on just how raw a talent Bray is, but he’s still only 21 years old. Going into the draft many felt that Bray has the best arm of any quarterback eligible; his mechanics however leave a lot to be desired. If corrected, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility, his refined abilities will raise him to the starting role.
It’s not a sure thing that Bray will eventually start, but I like his chances. He’s got a lot of growing up to do and a lot of fine tuning left with as a thrower, but the talent is there. The situation is right for Bray to do big things, time will tell if he can take advantage of it.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV