Bryce Petty: Browns Draft Profile
By Jesse Runner
Jan 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Bryce Petty (14) throws a pass in the first quarter against the Michigan State Spartans in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Browns season is over. We will spend a good amount of time reviewing the season but we will spend even more time preparing for the off-season. Browns 2015 NFL Draft seems ready to be a very interesting one for the team. With 10 picks, including two in the first round, the Browns are ready to make noise again for the second year in a row.
Instead the 2014 started off strong and ended with a thud. Last year the Browns draft included a big trade down and the drafting of Johnny Manziel. While the first round hasn’t panned out yet, the rest of the draft seems to be great. It is likely that GM Ray Farmer and Head Coach Mike Pettine see a greater need for more veteran talent on a very young roster and we expect them to be aggressive in seeking to bring in that talent during Browns free agency.
After free agency we wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns tried to trade their picks to move up, to get another veteran or went with best player available instead of drafting for need. Farmer did this last year when he drafted Joel Bitonio, Terrance West, Christian Kirksey and others instead of drafting a wide receiver. We could see that again.
In preparation for such we will be taking a look at certain players that we think the Browns could target. Keep in mind we are not saying that these are players they are targeting, although some rumors may start to leak of the Browns having interest in them, instead these are players that we think the Browns could or should have interest in. Our profile will try to include as much information as possible to prepare you for the NFL Draft.
6’3”, 230 pounds
2014 – 12 games, 428 attempted passes, 270 completed passes, 3,855 yards, 29 touchdowns and 7 interceptions
2015 NFL Draft Range
Rounds 3-4 – Bryce Petty, a two-time All-American, led his team to back-to-back Big 12 Conference Championships in the two seasons he started. Petty recorded a record of 21-5 (.807) during his time as the starting quarterback, and he was named the 2015 Cotton Bowl Offensive MVP.
According to his draft profile at NFL.com, Petty “possesses NFL size” for the quarterback position. They go on to say that Petty is “not a burner, but he has enough functional movement outside the pocket.” In fact, Petty’s ability to move outside the pocket and avoid would-be tacklers reminds this writer of a quarterback that’s been dodging Browns defenders for years, Ben Roethlisberger. Petty also showed the ability to deal with pain, as he “played through a back injury for most of his senior season.” When going long, Petty “rarely underthrows deep passes, preferring to give only his wide receiver a chance to catch the ball.”
Another important part of Petty’s game is his touch. When passing, he “understands when to throw the fastball and when to use touch.”
This is a welcomed skill, as Browns fans routinely watched ex-Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden rocket the ball to receivers from 7-10 yards out, resulting in drops on easy, wide open plays.
CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler noted that Petty “has more than enough arm strength to make every throw, displaying excellent timing within Baylor’s pass-happy, shotgun offense.” Also, “when he gets in a rhythm, Petty is highly efficient passing downfield, showing touch, timing, and placement, especially when peppering zone coverage with quick underneath routes.”
However, like all draft prospects, Petty isn’t perfect.
"“Often predetermines his reads and locks in to his primary target, struggling to consistently diagnose the defense to work through his progressions. He is always in shotgun formation and isn’t asked to move his feet unless he has to and once he’s pressured, Petty is out of his element, struggling to reset his base or eyes.” – CBS Sports"
One concerning part of Petty’s game in 2014, according to NFL.com, was that his “yards-per-attempt declined in 2014 and screens were a much higher percentage of his passes.”
Fit with the Browns
At 6-foot-3, Petty posses elite size for a quarterback. At Baylor, Petty ran a spread offense that often only required him to make one read and then make a decision. If he lands with the Browns, he would need at least one redshirt season to get acquainted with an NFL-style offense. If Petty is able to develop his reads, and shows the ability to throw the deep-ball consistently, then he could be a great quarterback in John DeFilippo’s offense.
- Deep Passing – Although inconsistent, when Petty has a feel for the deep ball it can be a thing of beauty. He showed he has the ability to air it out and hit his receivers in stride.
- Elusiveness – Petty displayed a keen ability to make tacklers miss with impressive footwork. This allows him to extend plays, giving his receivers a chance to make plays and avoiding sacks that set his team back.
Browns Player Selection Could Impact
Johnny Manziel, Connor Shaw, Thaddeus Lewis – If the Browns decide to draft Petty on day two of the NFL Draft, he would be seen as a developmental quarterback. This means that he would be back up to Manziel and Josh McCown. However, the addition of Petty would more than likely mean either Shaw or Lewis gets the boot, as it would be hard to imagine the Browns keeping five quarterbacks on their roster. With the Browns coaching reportedly liking what they saw in Shaw’s limited action last year, it would make sense that Lewis would be the odd man out.
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Medium – As it stands, Cleveland’s quarterback situation is a little murky. McCown was brought in to provide veteran leadership and to compete for the starting job with Manziel. However, with Manziel just recently being released from rehab after staying a little over two months, more questions have been raised than answers. The reason drafting Petty is only a medium priority is that he would need a year to develop, meaning he won’t be the solution for the Browns next year. But, if Cleveland does elect to draft the Baylor product and develop him, and Manziel doesn’t pan out, the Browns just might find their quarterback of the future.
Do you think the Browns should draft Bryce Petty?