I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.
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Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA - 6'3, 227 - RS Junior - 4.63 40
The NFL draft process is a long, prolonged march for weeks, months, and sometimes, even years. Especially for QBs who are the types of prospects that have been evaluated for 2 different drafts. There was a time where UCLA's Brett Hundley was said to be a top QB prospect in the 2014 draft, yet wanted to go back to school and sharpen his game for 2015 - and, I am sure, to further his education.
Sometimes, that works wonderfully, and sometimes, it does not. Hundley seems to be in that latter category as he put another 13 games on tape over the course of the 2014 season and enters the 2015 draft as the type of QB that frightens many and places him on the radar of most in late Day 2 or Day 3 of the draft.
And this seems to occur because of two copy points on his bio that are rather problematic. 29 fumbles and 125 sacks in 40 career starts. Both are staggering numbers that seem to cancel out much of the good attributes and call into question his awareness and pocket presence. Many wise coaches have said that there comes a time in a QBs development where he welcomes blitzing because he knows he can brutalize it with big throws into open spaces and before long the defense will call off the blitzes as a form of self-preservation. To this point, even at the college level, Hundley has not backed the opponents off nearly enough. To examine closer, we broke down Utah, Virginia, and USC to see the talented passer with a few issues to work through.
Hundley is #17 for UCLA:
What I liked: When Brett Hundley gets a clean pocket and steps into a throw, it can be a beautiful thing. I am not sure that anyone in this draft can throw a better pass to the deep sidelines in that "Cover 2 Beater" gap. He routinely puts those deeper throws on the mark and when he has to crank back for velocity, he can put more on the throw, although his accuracy is sometimes erratic. He also runs very well as a smooth athlete that demonstrated ball skills with a zone read offense out of shotgun where he could tuck and run for hundreds of yards on the ground each season as a dual-threat QB with a completion percentage in the high 60s. He seems to be in charge of his huddle well and understands the Xs and Os of the job. He has some very positive attributes, including the NFL arm and athletic skills that are off the charts in his positional grouping.
What I did not like: The criticisms that have been leveled against this young man are legitimate when you watch him play. Pressure encourages more pressure in the game of football where coaches are looking to attack your weak points, and to see that Utah game plan bring pressure over and over to trouble and confuse Hundley was a thing of beauty for defensive coaching and led to a staggering 10 sacks. He holds the ball until he likes his target, but he also doesn't seem to throw guys open or anticipate lanes, so he waits and invariably gets sacked. If he had a better offensive line, perhaps this would change, but for someone who moves so well as an athlete, he has an alarming lack of pocket presence that may not be something that develops. Then, when he gets hit, the ball often comes loose and this is also a major issue. He doesn't throw many interceptions, but he threw a couple Pick-6s in these games because he threw hopeful passes with poor footwork into traffic and it bit him. He will play very well and then break your heart.
Summary: Like I said, he is a QB with a NFL arm and a NFL body in a draft without great QB depth. He will get a chance to play at the next level and there is a point where I would be enticed to take a shot that my coaching staff can bring him along. But, there are QBs who don't throw interceptions because they can never pull the trigger. I fear Hundley might be that type of guy who holds, holds, holds, and then is sacked. Many of his passes were behind the line of scrimmage and although he made some massive throws and won a ton of games, I definitely see what the complaints are all about. Can pocket instincts and presence be developed after college? I am positive someone is going to use a 3rd or a 4th to find out. His "good" is plenty good enough, if the "bad" can be fixed.
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