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Brett Hundley: Beyond the Hype

Brett Hundley has been one of the most talked about recruits since he first signed with UCLA. Rick Neuheisel chose to redshirt Hundley his first year, which turned out to be a great gift for incoming coach, Jim Mora Jr., as he got full credit for Hundley’s ability to step in as one of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12. Hundley will now go into his third year as the starter and is currently projected by many to be a first round pick. To get a better understanding, I took a look at his game against Nebraska (video courtesy of the Draft Breakdown).

Hundley doesn’t possess blazing speed, but he is still a good athlete, as he shows here by avoiding the rush and turns what could have been a big loss into a first down.

The balance is what is most impressive here as he is able to make some moves to avoid the rush, spin free, and then run to the first down marker. Hundley is a pocket passer, but with that, he has the mobility necessary to make plays when that pocket collapses.

This was my favorite throw from Hundley in the Nebraska game as it shows just about everything that gets scouts excited.

The throw is great; that is easy to see, but what I love the most is the use of his eyes. He keeps his eyes towards the center of the field where the outside receiver is breaking  inside on a post. The safety has inside leverage, but the cornerback is reading the quarterback, so he breaks towards the inside to cover that receiver over the top. That gives the slot receiver running a wheel route enough of a window to get an easy catch from Hundley who throws a perfect ball down the field. It is everything that an evaluator is looking for in a potential quarterback. His accuracy downfield was a consistent strength that he showed during this game.

The first area of concern I have with Hundley is his short-to-mid accuracy. He was able to complete passes, but he made his receivers work for their catches as is shown in the video below.

This pass is a completion, but on that short of a throw, the receiver should not need to reach that far out to make a catch on a three-yard route. If Hundley cannot hit his guy in stride right on the numbers when he is throwing it about nine yards total, then it makes me very concerned for how consistently he can be accurate on passes. This is just one example, as he consistently made his receivers make plays on what should have been easy receptions.

Another area for improvement for Brett Hundley is his footwork. When he does not have a clean pocket to throw from, his mechanics can get sloppy which leads to inaccurate throws.

Hundley just doesn’t get his feet set on this throw and badly underthrows what should have been a complete pass. The really concerning part of this is that he is not under any pressure. He is simply transitioning from looking to his right to then looking towards his left, but his footwork is sloppy because of it.

One thing he must improve on is making quick decisions. This is a play where he shows some very good traits, but his failure to make quick decisions ruins all of the good.

He actually looked rather smooth at going through his progressions, but he saw the running back open in the flat but hesitated, and instead of the running back having the ball in his hands in the open field with one man to beat, it was a sack for the defense. A quarterback rarely has the luxury of those extra tenths of a second at the pro level, so making quicker decisions is essential for Hundley’s future success.

UCLA’s offense dominated the second half of this game, and outside of a deep ball to Shaq Evans, there wasn’t much for me to pull to demonstrate anything great from him. His stats look great, but it was mostly because Nebraska got no pressure (and on a lot of plays, seemed content to just contain him in the pocket, which is not a strategy I would recommend), and Hundley was given time to set his feet and throw the ball to his open receivers.

Brett Hundley has all of the necessary tools to be a successful NFL quarterback. He even displays throws that make you sit up on your seat and marvel at what this guy can become. Still, that can be said about many failed quarterback prospects. What will lead to success at the next level is cleaning up his mechanics when he does not have a comfortable pocket, throwing more accurately, and making quicker decisions with the football. The raw talent is there, but unless he makes major progress in at least two of those areas, I would not feel comfortable using a first round pick on him. That being said, if he does make progress in those areas, the sky is the limit for Hundley. I know UCLA fans are hoping he reaches his full potential.

Tags: 2015 Brett Hundley College Football NFL Draft Pac-12 Quarterback Scouting Report Ucla Bruins

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