The University of Tennessee has a bit of a reputation as an NFL factory, but that doesn’t mean every player to run through the tunnel to the tune of “Rocky Top” is a legitimate NFL prospect. That’s the case with quarterback Tyler Bray.
Bray was a top high school recruit in the 2010 class, ranked as the seventh best pro-style quarterback by Rivals. That hype and promise led to Bray seeing early playing time in his true freshman season. Bray played well, earning himself the starting job heading into his sophomore season and putting his game on the radar of NFL scouts.
The last two years haven’t been as kind to Bray. Instead of fulfilling his promise as a top prep player, Bray struggled through rough seasons (and offseasons) in Knoxville. His demeanor on the field led to rumors of a bad attitude, a perception that wasn’t helped when Bray was accused of throwing beer bottles at passing vehicles from a balcony.
The 6’5″, 215 lb quarterback has promise, but NFL teams may not see him as highly as some fans do.
In talking with a league source this morning, I was told that Bray has only been invited to the annual NFL Scouting Combine as a “throwing quarterback”. These are the players invited to participate only in helping with drills and workouts for other players. These are the spots generally reserved for low-level players who teams don’t value.
Historically, the determination for who makes the Combine is based on votes from a committee and NFL teams. If that trend holds true, Bray’s stock in the minds of NFL teams is lower than players like Sean Renfree, Zac Dysert, Brad Sorenson and Collin Klein. Quite a drop from the seventh best pro-style quarterback in high school.
Bray has a chance to redeem himself with great workouts at the Combine. If he can steal the show from the players he’s throwing to—and show a willingness to work hard and listen—there’s a chance an NFL team could fall in love. It only takes one team, and Bray will head to Indianapolis trying to find one to fall in love with him.