Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Does Tennessee's Tyler Bray Fit into Tampa Bay's Draft Plans at QB?

KNOXVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 10: Tyler Bray #8 of the Tennessee Volunteers looks to pass the ball against the Missouri Tigers during the game at Neyland Stadium on November 10, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterFebruary 25, 2013

University of Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray performed admirably at the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday, putting him on the “high-riser” side of the score sheet.

Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated raved about Bray’s accuracy and arm strength and noticed a whopping 24 new pounds of muscle mass on the former Volunteers’ frame.

Even though Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano overstated the fact that Josh Freeman is the quarterback of choice in Tampa, general manager Mark Dominik wants competition at every position, including under center, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Would Bray fit as Freeman’s backup?

Bray has incredible arm strength and the Buccaneers don’t run a read-option offense, so his lack of top-end speed wouldn’t be an issue. He’s also got enough talent and upside to effectively push Freeman, which is ultimately what the Buccaneers’ brass wants to help push Freeman to the next level.

There are, however, off-the-field issues regarding Bray that could be of concern. Bray and his roommate were accused of tossing beer bottles and golf balls off their apartment balcony into oncoming traffic in July of 2012, according to WVLT TV in Knoxville.

Bray also had to make a court appearance in August for “almost like playing chicken” on Jet Skis, said a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agent to GoVolsExtra.com.

Most would chalk this up to moronic college behavior, but you’d better believe NFL teams that have any interest are going to do their due diligence when researching Bray's background.

Matt Miller, our hard-working draft guru here at Bleacher Report, stated Sunday evening that Bray not only impressed on the field at the Combine, but he also impressed during his meetings with individual teams.

Bray threw for 7,444 yards in his three seasons with the Volunteers and tossed 69 touchdown passes against 28 interceptions. His 58.6 percent completion rate is a bit worrisome, as is SEC Expert Barrett Sallee’s (Bleacher Report Lead Writer) opinion that Bray needed another year in college.

Yet Freeman was scrutinized last year with the Bucs for only completing 54.8 percent of his passes, and he is only a career 58.8 percent passer. So, is it really a good idea to have two inaccurate gunslingers at the top of Tampa Bay’s depth chart?

Bray’s draft stock may have gone from a late fourth-round/early fifth-round projection to a solid third-round estimate over the weekend in Indianapolis. The Bucs have the 11th pick in the third round (No. 73 overall) and they may have to consider Bray there if he is available.

Should the Bucs be interested?

 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.

Knox Bardeen is the NFC South lead writer for Bleacher Report and the author of “100 Things Falcons Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die.” Be sure to follow Knox on Twitter.

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