Clemson Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant is one of the best players in the country, but he isn’t garnering 2019 NFL Draft hype. Should he be?
The Clemson Tigers are preparing for yet another run at the National Championship. The Tigers have reached the College Football Playoff in each of the past three seasons, including their title-winning season in 2016 and a 12-2 campaign in 2017.
One of the consistent themes during Dabo Swinney‘s remarkable run at Clemson has been a high level of play at the quarterback position.
Deshaun Watson is the shining example of this truth, as he’s made the transition from being a college star to an NFL standout. He was a two-time winner of the Davey O’Brien Award, and was the NFL’s leader in passing touchdowns at the time of his untimely injury in 2017.
With Watson out of the mix, it was Kelly Bryant who stepped up and led the Tigers back to the College Football Playoff in 2017.
Bryant spent his first two seasons as a backup to Watson, but took over as the starter in 2017. He pieced together a solid season with 3,467 yards from scrimmage, as well as 24 total touchdowns and a tremendous showing in the National Championship Game.
There are still areas in which Bryant will need to improve, but it was a strong debut as the lead man on campus for a championship contender.
sBryant finished his junior season with 2,802 passing yards, 13 passing touchdowns, and eight interceptions on a completion percentage of 65.8 percent. He added 665 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns in what was a display of his dual-threat potential.
Bryant also led all returning ACC quarterbacks in adjusted completion percentage, which is a sign of his ability to make the right decisions under center.
In saying that, the concern with Bryant’s NFL potential is that he hasn’t displayed the ability to make all of the necessary throws. His intermediate accuracy is debatable, and his reputation is as a player who can’t necessarily pass his team to victory.
One of the most appealing truths about Bryant’s status as an NFL prospect, however, is that he’s one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country on short passes.
That doesn’t necessarily guarantee that he’ll be an NFL-caliber quarterback, but it’s certainly a starting point for his development.
An athletic quarterback who can complete short throws will at least be able to earn a roster spot at the next level. It certainly helps Bryant’s cause that he does an excellent job of throwing outside the numbers, which is an NFL-caliber trait.
Furthermore, the Clemson star complements his short-range accuracy with one of the best deep balls in the country.
Intermediate throws will be the topic of discussion when focusing on his flaws, but any quarterback who can work the short and deep routes has upside to explore.
Standing at 6’4″ and 220 pounds, Bryant has the combination of size, athleticism, deep ball accuracy, and short-range proficiency to thrive in the NFL. The question, of course, is whether or not he’ll be able to display a similar level of accuracy on intermediate throws.
If Bryant manages to improve in that regard, he’ll solidify his place as a legitimate 2019 NFL Draft prospect.
The question is: Will Kelly Bryant make those vital improvements during the upcoming season?