Cowboys QB Hunt: Inside Look At Bryce Petty

WACO - Sources tell CowboysHQ.com that the Jones family is inching toward the idea of using a draft pick on a QB during a Romo window that realistically might be open for two more years. We examine the Jones' thinking, visit with Cowboys assistant Wade Wilson, offer Scout's exclusive analysis and hear from Petty himself in this Premium story:



PETTY and Dallas in general

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks in public about Tony Romo's "five-year window.'' But in the Valley Ranch personnel department -- and probably in Tony's own living room -- that's seen as less than realistic.

A two-year window. That makes more sense, from a cap and health standpoint. And it's why sources close to the Jones family tell CowboysHQ.com that they see how it's increasingly important to begin considering an heir to Romo.

Smile

A personnel department turns over every stone at every position, but in the eyes of some, QB is different. Folks talk of only being able to find starting QB's in the first round, but that's not the reality of it. By Week 9 of 2014, fully half of the NFL's starting quarterbacks were non-first-rounders. Now, not all of them will become Tom Brady; actually, none of them probably will.

But if you take a shot in the third round at, say, a 1-tech defensive lineman, and he turns out to be good enough to make an NFL career out of it, you've hit. Do the same at QB? You've hit gold.

The Packers are the team most committed to this concept. Dallas has been far less so, though it's worth noting that over the course of Cowboys history, three of the best QB's this franchise has employed weren't first-rounder (Staubach, White, Romo). But we believe a commitment is coming.

Can it come in the form of Baylor QB Bryce Petty?

PETTY and Wade Wilson

My Q-and-A with Wade Wilson, the Cowboys QB coach who traveled to Waco for Petty's recent Pro Day:

GENERAL THOUGHTS

I thought he was real solid. You know, he demonstrated he could make all the throws, which is necessary to play in the league. He had good touch. Every time you see him, he's a little more fluid dropping back under center. So, to the Senior Bowl to the combine to now, he looks a little bit improved.

DID YOU WANT TO SEE HIM UNDER CENTER?

Yeah, seeing him make his drops and seeing him at the top of the drop transition into throws -- catching and throwing, that they can do in their offense. So, anytime you see that footwork, those drops, those transitions, is really all you can [inaudible].

ARM LOOKED GOOD, TOO?

Yeah, it's solid. He threw the comebacks well. I thought he threw pretty well on the move. You know, he threw really well to his left and right. So, I was impressed with arm talent.

DO YOU BUY INTO SYSTEM QBS?

Yeah, I mean, all the colleges are basically running the same system. So, it's a product. I think there's always going to be a learning curve for these type of quarterbacks because they're not used to being in the huddle. They're not used to calling the play. They're not used to doing some of these things, changing the protection. There's a learning curve, but you can see physical traits you like. And he's a great kid to talk with, so he's got that going for him. So, I think he's got a real chance.

HOW MUCH OF A LEARNING CURVE IS THERE?

It is. There's basically one or two protections and the center's taking care of that. We've got 30 or 40 protections that he might be responsible for and changing the declaration of who's blocking who and guys breaking routes off. So, it is quite the learning curve. But just the volume of the words; they don't use words. They use signals. That's the hard part for these guys coming in is they can't call a play.

PETTY and Wade Wilson

Scout's Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft. Thomas breaks down Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty.

An assortment of minor injuries, coupled by inconsistent play, all but ruined Bryce Petty’s chances of moving up into the first two rounds of the draft. One of the finer athletes available to teams at his position, there are some scouts feeling he is nothing more than another Jake Locker, which certainly will not help when his “body of work” is presented to the general managers.

The reigning Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year did not “get out of the gate” healthy, missing the second half of the season opener vs. SMU and the next game due to a lower back injury (reported as having cracked bones in his spine), but he came back to complete 63.08% of his passes and was responsible for 35 touchdowns in 2014, the fourth-best season figure by a Bears performer.

Smile

Petty possesses a very quick release and good release point. With fourteen touchdowns as a ball carrier in 2013, third-best in the nation among quarterback, along with six more scoring romps this season (despite playing most of the schedule with fractures in his back), he shows outstanding footwork that allows him to square up to any part of the field and deliver with accuracy, along with the escape-ability to keep defenses honest with his running ability.

The Bears passer is effective at hitting his targets coming out of their breaks and shows enough touch on his deep throws to get the ball over the receiver’s outside shoulder. He can make all the throws with good precision, and when he’s given time to throw, he has a quick and compact release. There can be a slight wind-up when he wants to put more steam on it, but he doesn’t drop the ball low. He has a nice follow-through motion and keeps a tight spiral.

Petty has the foot quickness to drop back quickly from center to his pass-set point, but is also capable of executing passes quickly from the shotgun formation. He shows very good body torque and good balance in his drive back, whether taking a 3- or 5-step approach. He needs to do a better job of setting his feet and stepping into his throws, as lots of his accuracy issues come from improper footwork, especially when on the move.

The senior can fire the tight ropes up field, putting good zip and velocity behind his long ball tosses. He has a snappy over-the-top delivery and keeps the ball high in his pass drop. He holds the ball at the top of his numbers and has fairly quick feet in his set-up. He is just too inconsistent in stepping into his throws. He needs to step up into the pocket better, as he will sit in the back of his drop, leaving himself vulnerable to edge rushers.

There is no question that Petty has great arm strength, along with the ability to deliver the ball quickly, when he does not try to force the issue. He gets in trouble too much though, especially when he reverts to carrying the ball low, as he won’t step into his tosses then, replacing his front foot and rotating his hips to make the toss.

Petty is very effective at hitting his targets coming out of their breaks and shows enough touch on his deep throws to get the ball over the receiver’s outside shoulder. He can make all the throws with good precision, but must learn how to drive into his throws and not rotate his hips so much. When he throws off his front foot, he will not hang the ball throwing deep.

When given time to throw, Petty has a quick and compact release. There can be a slight wind-up when he wants to put more steam on it, but he doesn’t drop the ball low. He has a nice follow-through motion and keeps a tight spiral. He will drop the ball just slightly below the numbers on some of his deeper throws, but it doesn’t cause a long wind-up and generally stays quite compact.

Petty is best served on the move, as he is a viable two-way threat when he scans the field before taking risky chances. When scrambling, defenses have to account for both his running ability and the pass, as he can take off up field for large gains or fire the ball accurately to receivers on the move. His footwork can get sloppy when he’s forced to stand in the pocket and deliver under pressure, especially when it’s coming in front of him, as he will throw off the wrong foot, though.

There is no question that Petty commands the huddle and has total leadership in the room. He is highly respected by all and prides his role as “one of the guys,” but also will not hesitate to confront a teammate for lackadaisical play. He is a highly competitive player who has been the “pulse” of the team ever since being inserted into the starting lineup as a junior.

At the Senior Bowl practices, Petty was a more efficient passer on the move going to his right than left hash, as his mechanics suffer when he goes the “southpaw-left” route, resulting in his passes sailing far over the head of his intended target. With his quickness dropping back from center and to his drop point, he can buy time when needed, but he has become predictable, as he will favor going to his right side. He has a tendency to sit at the back of his drop and doesn’t always step into his throws. It also leaves him vulnerable to edge rushers.

Bryce Petty NFL Scouting Combine measurables

6-3/230 (4.87 forty)
31 7/8-inch arm length
10-inch hands
34-inch vertical jump
121-inch broad jump
6.91 3 cone drill
4.13 20 yard shuttle

PETTY on himself

This is not Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, who will go high in the April draft. And maybe the NFL's desire for QB's will cause Petty to go higher than, say, Round 3. But smart teams take stabs at guys with this level of aptitude, and Petty hopes, this level of passion.



“For me, the best way I can say it is you’re going to get a guy who is passionate about football, loves football, loves to learn, loves to absorb,” Petty said. “I think that’s what is hard to find on paper. You really have to just get in there and be with (teams) and talk X’s and O’s with them.”

The Cowboys and Petty will meet soon for a private workout. If Dallas were to draft Petty, he would be just the 29th quarterback selected in franchise history ... But the time, for this team, is coming.

Item by Item

*The Adrian Peterson scoop, a CowboysHQ.com exclusive, is here.

*Heads up on the compensatory picks Dallas will be getting for losing DeMarco and the rest. Done right, this will be a Cowboys windfall in 2016, as KD brilliantly explains here.

Getting ready for the draft? Please read "The Cowboys' Six Tells and Tendencies in the Draft.''

Smile

*Here's the inside scoop on why Dallas and Rolando McClain are prepping for a divorce.

*The Fan provides a first-person account of the pre-Dallas work of Hardy and McFadden.

*The Greg Hardy story could use a dispassionate look at the case, the court proceedings and the law. This is that look.

CowboysHQ Top Stories