Pre-Season Scouting Report - Bryce Petty, QB Baylor

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Jan 1, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Bryce Petty (14) throws during the second half against the UCF Knights in the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Petty burst onto the scene last year with an incredibly efficient season leading the Baylor Bears.  After Robert Griffin III went to the NFL, it was not going to be easy to replace him.  Nick Florence had a productive season in 2012 but Petty was better and more effective in just about every area, helping Baylor get to the Tostito’s Fiesta Bowl in a high scoring affair with UCF.

There was some talk Petty might opt to declare for the NFL Draft with some projecting him as high as a first round pick, but he ultimately decided to stay in college for another year.  With another year at Baylor, Petty can work to get more consistent in terms of his accuracy, prove he can keep up that type of production and efficiency as well as sliding a little better in the pocket.

Petty and Baylor will have another opportunity to have a huge year, potentially win the Big XII and play for a National Championship this year.  Part of why Petty is so effective is because he does not panic under pressure and does a great job of not putting the ball in harm’s way.  He is aggressive, but not reckless so they are a consistent threat to put up points but they make it difficult for opponents to create opportunities to create turnovers.

One of the questions that faces Petty is how much teams are going to be concerned about his age.  Petty has a lot of things going for him as a prospect but he will be 24 at the time of the NFL Draft and teams that really embrace analytics will know that 24 is the age where prospects’ success rates drop off dramatically.  Petty could certainly go high and perform well, but that factor could have him rated substantially differently depending on the team evaluating him.

Vitals & Build

  • Born May 31, 1991 (Will be 23 at time of the 2015 NFL Draft, 24 for his rookie year)
  • 6’3″ 230lbs (Listed)

Petty looks good from a physical standpoint.  He has a strong build, especially in his upper body with a solid trunk and shoulders.  Petty has the type of size where teams are not going to be afraid about him getting beaten up too much.  He has been able to overpower some opponents as a runner as a result.

Petty’s short area quickness is relatively ordinary, but when he is able to get his straight line speed going, he looks far less lumbering as a runner.  His speed is not going to impress anyone too much, but it is more than enough to avoid being labeled a statue.

In terms of his physical potential, Petty has room to get stronger but it is not really an issue at this point.  If he can get quicker with his feet, so that he is able to get a better first step, that would be extremely beneficial.

Arm Strength

From a pure strength standpoint, Petty has an impressive amount of power in how fast and how far he can throw with just his arm motion.  The fact that he is able to put so much on it despite  or his legs.  Petty seems to just throw the ball almost entirely from his upper body.

In terms of functional power, Petty has above average arm strength and could play in a vertical offense.  He is able to put a good amount of zip on the ball at times.  The question with Petty and one that is not likely to be addressed is how much could he put on the football if he really got his legs involved with his throws.

Accuracy & Touch

In terms of raw accuracy, it depends largely on comfort level in a given situation and how much room for error Petty seems to have.  Especially in terms of throwing the ball down the field, he throws the ball down the field and past them.  Petty does not throw passes short; ever.  He is either putting the ball on his target or overthrowing them, always putting the ball out of harm’s way from the defender.  Petty can have moments of absolute brilliance in terms of where he can put the ball; where he could not have handed the ball to his man more effectively, but he will have a lot of missed throws as well that simply go long.

  • Petty puts the ball on a spot down the sideline 40 yards down the field.

  • The receiver wins immediately and Petty takes full advantage throwing a picture perfect pass here to reward him.

On more horizontal type passes, the results are more inconsistent.  Part of this is due to the lack of good timing as the receivers at Baylor have unpredictable routes.  Short of attacking down the field on a fade, some of their receivers never run a route the same way twice, which makes it difficult to hit the target at times.

Petty can certainly throw the ball so that his receiver does not have to settle to make a play and keep his run going, but there are definitely situations where the ball is behind or too far out for his receiver to make the catch.  The question is whether or not Petty would be substantially better if he were throwing passes to polished, predictable receivers.  More than likely, he would.

  • Petty throws an accurate 30 yard post route so his receiver can catch it without having to stop, allowing to take it in for a touchdown

Mechanics & Footwork

Petty has a somewhat unorthodox style of delivering the football.  From the waist up, Petty is pretty good.  He tends to go with an overhand delivery that can slip to three quarters when throwing around a defender.  Especially throwing to his left, he can get a decent amount of his core strength involved in his throws.  Going to the right, Petty tends to throw without really turning his body to face the target and it can end up coming out of his hand with his shoulders already open, getting much less torque from his core.  The way he throws the ball can make him look stiff in his hips and legs, but it is not inhibiting him.

Petty has some subtle adjustments he can make to his throwing motion when he is going with a quicker delivery.  Normally, he has the ball positioned slightly behind his neck and can quickly pull back and fire his arm through his motion.  In a quicker set up, he can go from his neck and almost just push forward from there to get rid of it a little quicker, like slants for example.

From the waist down, Petty really does not use his legs much in any of his throws.  For the most part, Petty basically just picks his foot up and puts it down for the sake of timing rather than for any added strength.  He might step a little in front to get his motion going forward, but he is perfectly able to step down in the same spot and operate.  For the offense he runs, this is great in that it allows him to work in small spaces and get rid of the ball quickly.

There is potential power he could add to his throws in terms of pushing it down the field or with zip, but he is not hurting in these areas, so it is not a critical area of need, especially what he is asked to do at Baylor.  There are some NFL coaches who might want to tweak it slightly, but it is more likely that he will just continue to operate that way and be picked by a team that is comfortable with it.

  • This is a good look at how his throwing motion operates, but can also make him look stiff.

Pocket Awareness

Petty is fearless in the pocket.  He keeps his eyes down the field and not on the opposing pass rush.  He can operate from tight spaces and keeps his cool even with opponents having him operate from tight spaces.  Pressure can certainly have an impact on the results of the throw, but in terms of where his focus lies and his ability to work under duress, he does a nice job.

  • This is a great example of how Petty never takes his eyes off of what is going on down the field despite pressure coming from up the middle.

For the most part, Petty’s fearlessness in the pocket is a fantastic quality.  There are situations, however, where that lack of fear can go to a point where Petty is almost oblivious to the pass rush, his clock runs too long and he takes a bad sack.  Ultimately, a sack is better than a turnover, but Petty has had some bad examples of where it really cost his team.

  • Petty displays poor situational awareness here. He has to have a quicker clock to get rid of the ball when he is working from his own endzone.

Petty certainly prefers to stay on his spot rather than needing to slide to make throws.  He can do it, but he tends to work to avoid it.  Petty is able to leave the pocket, find space to make a throw.  He can run, but he does a good job of keeping his options open and continuing to look for a place to throw the football.

Petty has the strength to fight through some contact, make a decently athletic move and extend the play.  In situations like these where Petty can end up taking his eyes away from his receivers, he does a great job of refocusing and getting back to the play, never panicking.

In addition to making sure the clock in his head is better tuned at times, Petty can just work to be better at sliding in the pocket and being able to eliminate pressure before it comes more often.  Overall, Petty’s focus down the field and how he handles himself in the pocket and under pressure is positive.

Decision Making & Anticipation

In terms of knowing what is open and where he should throw the football, Petty does a fantastic job.  He rarely puts the ball at risk too much, which is certainly a function of the offense, but Petty certainly makes deliberate actions to avoid them.  Part of this comes in the form of throwing passes so that his receiver is the only one able to make a play on it and part of it is the fact he gets rid of the ball early enough where opponents have trouble adjusting to make a play.

For the most part, if Petty’s target is not open, he can work to his next progressions and find open receivers or simply pull it down and run with it.  He is not a quarterback who insists on playing a bad situation.  This does not make him afraid to throw a pass, but he tries to consistently throw it at the best possible time and in a spot that avoids the potential for turnovers.

When it comes to anticipation, Petty does his best but he does not always get a ton of help.  In certain routes and situations, Petty has a great clock to know when to get rid of the ball or what to look for; often times, these come in the form of fades and vertical routes.

  • Petty knows where he’s going with the football and makes it look much easier than it is, putting it to where only receiver can get it and without giving the defensive back any time to get in position.

For the routes that cross the field or require a receiver to put their foot in the ground for Petty to be able to read and throw the football, the Baylor receivers do a dreadful job.  The result is that rather than being able to consistently see a route hit its stem point and know exactly when and where to put a football, he has to eyeball every throw.  The results here are far less consistent.


Petty is an above average athlete for the quarterback position.  A combination of a strong build and good mobility allows him to make some plays with his legs.  While Baylor has not been afraid to have him run quarterback reads and some designed keeps, Petty is the most dangerous as a passer with an option to run.

Petty can pull down the ball and pick up yardage but he forces defenders to make a decision as he keeps his eyes down the field and looks for potential options, especially as he works outside.  The results have allowed him to move the chains as well as find some opportunities to pass the ball, making it more difficult on the defense to stop their offense.

His first step is not great but he gets a good head of steam going pretty quickly with the ability to pick up some yardage and extend a drive in a game.  Petty is not afraid to lower his shoulder and try to win with power, which is something he has the size and strength to get away with in college for the most part, but discretion would be the better part of valor in the NFL.

  • Read play Petty keeps and has some room in front of him. It would be better if he avoids a hit entirely, but he does not take a big hit as he goes out of bounds with a nice gain.

  • Petty does a nice job of finding space to the right side, keeps his eyes down the field and makes a good pass for the completion

The clips were provided by

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