Among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players, Petty ranks second with a pass efficiency rating of 166.03. Petty’s 2013 passing efficiency rating of 174.29 ranks 19th in NCAA annals and is second in school history, along with ranking fourth among Big 12 Conference performers. The school and league record is held by Robert Griffin III, who is ranked second in FBS history with a 189.5 mark in 2011.
Petty’s average career gain of 9.70 yards per pass attempt established the league record, breaking the mark of 9.40 yards by Sam Bradford of Oklahoma (2007-09). His interception percentage of 1.18 is the lowest in conference history, beating RGIII’s 1.40.
An assortment of minor injuries, coupled by inconsistent play, all but ruined 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 Twelve 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.
Petty possesses a very quick release and good release point. With 14 touchdowns as a ball carrier in 2013, third-best in the nation among quarterbacks, 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 Petty 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 is 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.