Tennessee Football: Why Tyler Bray Shouldn't Declare for the NFL Draft

Jason EllisContributor IIINovember 27, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 17: Quarterback Tyler Bray #8 of the University of Tennessee sits on the bench during a 41-18 loss against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Now that the 2012 season has come to a close for the Tennessee Volunteers, junior quarterback Tyler Bray has a decision to make.

The decision is to either declare for the draft and ply his trade as a pro, or to come back to college for his senior season.

Bray had an excellent junior season, amassing 3,612 passing yards and 34 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions.  With stats like his, it seems like a no-brainer that he would declare for the NFL draft.

Looking deeper into Bray's situation reveals that it may cut and dry as some think it to be. 

It's been said many times this season that he has all the physical tools to play in the league. There is no denying that Bray has cannon for an arm.  You'd be hard pressed to find more than a couple of quarterbacks that throw a better deep ball than he.

Having a strong arm and a gunslinger mentality isn't all it takes to be a successful NFL quarterback.  To be that, there are several things that Bray needs to work on before he enters the draft.

The first thing that Bray needs to work on is his mobility. It's no secret that he is a statue in the pocket.  

That's fine to be that way as a college quarterback, but he will need to develop the ability to escape in order to succeed in the NFL.

That's not saying that he needs to turn into a runner, which isn't his game, but needs to develop the ability to avoid the pass rush.

The best game to look at to illustrate this is the game against Alabama.  In this game, the Tide were able to get consistent pressure on Bray.  The end results were: 184 yards passing, 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

The next thing Bray needs to improve on before declaring is learning not to press when his team is down.

When he presses, bad things happen.  He tries to force the ball into places he shouldn't, leading to interceptions.  

The game against Georgia is the best example of this.  Two of Bray's three interceptions in this game came in the final minutes when the Vols had an opportunity to tie the game.

The final thing that he needs to work on is the most discussed thing about him: his maturity, or lack thereof.

The issues with the jet ski and beer bottles from the previous summer have been well documented and discussed.  

Other things have occurred since those incidents.  The body language against Florida and continually yelling at coaches on the sideline have done nothing to help quell concerns over his maturity.

No coach or owner in the NFL is going to put up with that for long.

A player can have all the physical skills in the world, but if they don't have it upstairs they'll never make it.  For a case study of this see: Leaf, Ryan.

From what I have seen this season, Tyler Bray isn't ready for the NFL.  One more year in college to work out the aforementioned problems is needed.

The dollars that may be coming his way will probably be too much to keep him from staying back in school.  On the other hand, if he does come back he has the chance to increase that signing bonus.  He even has the potential to become a first round selection.

Simply put, Tyler Bray should forgo the draft and return for his senior season.  He just needs more refining.