Tyler Bray has declared for the draft in a year short on franchise-caliber talent.
Former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray made a smart decision. The 2013 draft is lacking in franchise talent, and he saw an opening. There are more than a few teams who would be very grateful for Bray's talent next year.
Russell Wilson has proven that a third-round pick can ascend to the starting role and win games in the NFL, and B/R's Matt Miller predicted Bray will be taken as early as the second:
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 20, 2012
New York Jets
The obvious needs to be said first.
Greg McElroy is the starter for the remainder of the season, but with the rumors that Tebow will seek a trade in the offseason and that Sanchez will likely to be forced out, McElroy needs competition in camp.
Bray would constitute exactly that. A scary prospect at 6'6” and 215 pounds, there is no doubt that he has the tools to succeed in the NFL. His mechanics need a lot of work, but he compensates for this with great athleticism.
The Jets are short on playmakers right now and need help at running back, wide receiver and linebacker in addition to quarterback.
Solving all these problems with one draft is unlikely, but it's also unlikely that they will use a top pick on a quarterback. The draft is strong in pass-rushing linebackers, so it's better that the Jets plug that hole first.
This paves the way for taking a quarterback in the second or third round. The Washington Redskins caught a lot of heat for selecting Kirk Cousins after giving up so much for Robert Griffin III, but it's proven to be a prescient decision.
It's possible that the Jets don't want another quarterback with accuracy issues. However, if he falls to them, Bray could be too tempting to pass up.
There was hope for Blaine Gabbert this year—that's what hurts Jaguars fans the most. He looked better in camp and preseason, and his play in the opening games of the regular season suggested that he'd turned a corner with a full offseason.
However, that quickly changed, and his performance declined before his season came to an end when he was placed on IR. Chad Henne took his place, with mixed results.
If Tebow requests a trade out of New York, then rumors of him returning to Florida will be inevitable.
Bray, on the other hand, represents a different proposition to an already-polarizing figure. Tebow will put people in their seats, but so does hope.
Tyler Bray throwing to Justin Blackmon is an intriguing combination, with the Tennessee QB able to stretch the field with his impressive arm strength. The Jaguars could trade back and still pick up Bray, gaining multiple picks to bolster their ailing fortunes.
The thing that could dissuade them the most is that they run the risk of drafting another Gabbert: a quarterback with all the ability, all the intelligence and a high ceiling, but one who is unable to bring them together consistently.
What is the most likely destination for Tyler Bray?
There is an argument to be made that teams shouldn't draft a quarterback in the first round this year. That's reasonable, but teams without quarterback options get panicky and start to reach for players who need a year or two to develop.
Buffalo dropped $100 million for the services of Mario Williams and may now regret that. This means that it won't be risking its early-round pick on a quarterback from this draft class.
Bray is a great option in the lower rounds and has the potential to make the Bills relevant again. The fact that they got pummeled by Mark Sanchez in Week 1 must still hurt, and they also conceded 50 points to Russell Wilson.
The situation with their own quarterback is tenuous, and Bills GM Buddy Nix stated last week that he is still looking for his franchise signal-caller. Ryan Fitzpatrick got a contract extension last year, so it's possible that the Bills will bring in Bray for competition.
Bray has the mental toughness to fight for his position, which also translates to a calm pocket presence. He senses pressure well and makes quick decisions, and with some coaching would definitely make the situation interesting for Nix next year.