Despite back-to-back record-setting years as a red-shirt freshman and sophomore,Brett Hundley heard what scouts were saying about him – the first sign of pocket pressure and he bolts. Trying to make a concerted effort to stand tall in the pocket this year led to inconsistent results early in the 2014 season, including seeing the QB get sacked five times by Virginia’s pressure defense and ten more times during the Utah clash.
After he was harassed throughout by Utah, the junior went back to making things happen with his feet – gaining at least 89 yards on the ground in each of his next four contests. Hundley is a smooth, athletic mover who sets up quickly and is ready to throw, but because of his long limbs and stride, he must be conscious of setting his feet and stepping into his pass attempts (will throw off balance or off his back foot, at times).
Hundley has continued to improve his overall accuracy as a passer, and even though he might bolt from the pocket too often and is “horrible” at protecting the ball (29 fumbles in three seasons and while he gained 1,747 yards rushing during his career, he’s also been tagged for 796 yards in losses), he is a good playmaker when he remains cool under pressure.
Hundley has a well-built frame with broad shoulders, solid overall muscle development and room to add more bulk. He looks the part of a pocket passer, with good arm length, big hands (10 1/8-inches), good chest thickness, and tapered quadriceps, thighs and calves. He has a strong arm that allows him to deliver the long ball with touch and accuracy. He has the ability to put the ball where the receiver can catch it and shows good balance throwing on the move. He has the avoidance quickness stepping up in the pocket and the strength to pull away from pass rushers when pressured.
The Bruins passer shows good elusiveness on the run with impressive mobility when challenging second level defenders, but won’t frighten any defense back when having to carry the ball long distances. He’s a pretty good tackle breaker, but does not have that Robert Griffin III-like second gear. He just needs to be more conscious of protecting the sphere when he bolts out of the pocket.
Hundley has functional change of direction agility and shows nice quickness to slide and move around the pocket. He is the type that can consistently make plays with his feet, as he runs with a normal stride and good balance. He can reach his throwing point with a normal stride and has the body control and agility needed to drive back from center quickly. When he steps into his throws, he is ready to unleash in an instant, doing a nice job sliding in and out of the pocket.
During his last two seasons, Hundley was much more effective pushing away from the line of scrimmage in his drops than he did in the past and the result was a good decrease in the amount of interceptions he threw (from eleven as a freshman, to nine in 2013 and just five thefts in 2014).
With his active feet, this pro-style quarterback will not have any problems stepping up in the pocket at the next level. With the way he scans the field, he is simply an athletic mover who is ready to throw in an instant. He could be highly effective in a no-huddle offense due to that fact, as his style of play reminds some of Donovan McNabb.
Hundley can generate very good zip on all of his throws. This is especially noticed when throwing in the intermediate area or when going long. He can throw in the seam with consistency and you now see a more accurate long ball and a lively short pass the last two years, as the staff has complete confidence in his arm strength. He will still revert to a long arc on his deep outs, at times, but continues to improve in that area.
The quarterback has become much more conscious of setting his feet better in order to put more power behind his tosses, and as a sophomore and junior, he was throwing the long ball with good ease (completed 31 passes for at least twenty yards in 2014).
When going long. Hundley gets good velocity and timing behind his throws. He appears to have the valid arm power needed to lead the receivers going deep, as he can put good touch on those throws. When airing the ball out the last two years, Hundley showed good improvement with his trajectory (in the past, when going long on the move, he did make his receivers adjust a bit).
Hundley demonstrates classic touch on screen, along with zip on slants and hitches. He knows he has the arm power to lay it over the top deep down the seam and along the boundaries. In the short passing game, he puts the ball where the receiver can catch it. He throws a catchable ball with zip or touch and does a nice job of keeping the receiver in the route. He will still sometimes force the receiver to adjust a bit on crossing patterns and needs to take something off his passes when dumping off, but can drop the ball over the top.
Hundley has developed a nice feel and awareness to anticipate when the receivers are coming out of their cuts. He makes good adjustments at the line of scrimmage. He was groomed on the short-to-intermediate passing game earlier in his career and that helped him develop a nice feel for fitting the ball into tight spaces. His deep throws do not hang in the air long, and he is becoming much more precise when leading the receiver on crossing routes.
Hundley can do a decent job of avoiding the pass rush, but he leaves the ball too exposed when on the move and 29 fumbles in three seasons will get any NFL quarterback some “bench time” rather than playing time. He can throw on the run, as his slight mechanical refinement has seen him do a much better job of squaring his shoulders when delivering the ball during his last two seasons.
Still, Hundley does a nice job playing on his feet and it is rare to see him lose even some of his accuracy when throwing on the move. Even with those high fumble totals, he is to be considered a running threat with his feet, as he has more than enough avoidance skills to get out of the pocket.
Brett Hundley NFL Scouting Combine measurable
6-3/226 (4.63 forty)
32 1/8-inch arm length
10 1/2-inch hands
36-inch vertical jump
120-inch broad jump
6.93 3 cone drill
3.98 20 yard shuttle
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.
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