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Brett Hundley 2015 Scouting Report from CFM

Date:
October 20, 2017

From January 2015 (Re-print)...

At College Football Metrics.com, we scout the top QB prospects and grade them in January, then update the grades when the NFL Combine data is confirmed in February and it changes things up some. By the time the draft season was over Hundley was our top guy for 2015.

As I re-read this report, I got to the end when I speculate on what will happen in the draft...the exact opposite of what I thought would happen happened. it was so cute 2-3+ years ago when I thought scouting would matter and things would change for the draft as more study was done. Hundley fell in the draft...and guys like Sean Mannion and Garrett Grayson went ahead of him. Green Bay wasn't looking for a QB but couldn't pass up the value.

I don't know, today, if Hundley is going to be a 'C' or a 'B' QB for the NFL. I suspect he'll bounce back and forth. I think he has B-to-B+ upside but I'm not sure he'll ever get a real chance. Years as a backup not being groomed to play, essentially; limited time with the first team...we'll see if he can do something with it. I know he's a better QB than given credit and I think you'll get re-hyped for what he might do the next few weeks after reading this report. I think 'A' is not on the table but 'B+' is and 'C-' is the floor. 

The media mood is against him/no hype so he has one foot in the grave from getting a chance after all this even if he's solid. We'll see. He's a great kid/character and had an amazing college career as you'll see in a moment. I hope he makes free agent millions with this new opportunity come 2018.

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Hundley, Brett – QB UCLA – NFL Draft 2015: Statistical Analysis and Scouting Report

This is probably the most complicated scouting of a player that I have ever encountered. I have circled back over tapes and data several times for more clarity. You’ll understand the dilemma in a few moments. Let me first make a few statements to set the scene of where we are at right now with Brett Hundley:

-- We feel Hundley is without a doubt the best QB prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft. Keep in mind we think Marcus Mariota is an ‘OK’ or ‘good’ NFL prospect, and also feel Jameis Winston is bordering on a minor mess…and that this QB class ‘as a whole’ is pretty weak.

-- So that the prior statement on Hundley is not a total backhanded compliment--we believe (as of today) Brett Hundley is right on the edge of passing our mathematical threshold (grade of 8.500+) for almost assuring a QB prospect will ’make it’ (be some level of a success) in the NFL (within our scouting models), and with that, our history has a nice correlation that a QB scoring above 8.500+ in our computer scouting models shows signs of potentially being not just ‘good', but could be a future ‘great’ or ‘elite’ QB—a franchise-type QB. We do not say that lightly at all.

Hundley is just over the border of being an ‘assured’ success in the NFL according to our ‘system’…and our system has been relatively accurate since we made it public in 2011. Last year, Tom Savage scored just above 8.50, and Teddy Bridgewater and Jimmy Garoppolo were close. 2013 was a bust year—no QB really scoring near the 8.500+ mark. Brett Hundley, today, is tracking above 8.50+, and has a chance to be our highest-rated QB in the past three years.

This current grade on Hundley can and will change based upon NFL Combine measurements and Wonderlic data. We have as best an estimate as we can provide, in the favor of the prospect, right now—so Hundley’s rating has more downside than upside today.

 

Here’s how I would try to convey to you what I am thinking/seeing in Hundley’s output data and tape study:

He’s almost Cam Newton.

He’s almost Russell Wilson.

You might read that, and think “Whoa, not bad. Lofty praise.” I mean to say that he’s almost them, but he’s not…and the ‘almost’ label might not be good enough in the NFL…but maybe it is. It’s confusing…I’m confused myself. Let me try to explain these NFL comps…

 

He’s ‘almost Russell Wilson…’

Hundley plays the QB position with the poise and the methodical movements of Russell Wilson. He has that Russell Wilson running style…where he’s not running unless he has to, but don’t tempt him because he will…and the next thing you know, he’s rushed for 100+ yards on nine attempts in a game.

Like Wilson, Hundley is so quick/fleet of foot and mind that he often just spins out of any pocket pressure, and emerges for some kind of inexplicable positive play…when he seemed dead to rights for a sack a few microseconds ago. They both move under control, with purpose…not in a haphazard, highlight reel, prison break frenzy sort of way.

Wilson and Hundley almost glide when they run the ball out of the pocket (or just move around in it), and they get down quickly versus taking big hits. They keep their eyes down field when they run, leaving a run or pass option open—usually freezing a defender in making their decision on which way to play it. Hundley, like Wilson, is totally fine as a pocket passer. He only runs the ball after the initial reads aren’t there, or a big lane opens in front of them. They both have unteachable gifts for feeling the heat (or opportunity) and moving accordingly.

Wilson is a very good passer…better than given credit. So too is Hundley, but Wilson is better of the two coming out of college (in my opinion). Both have decent arm-strength (Wilson’s is better), and Wilson seems to read the field better…but Hundley is no slouch. To my surprise. I really expected to see Hundley as a runner who passed occasionally. However, the more I look, the more I see that Hundley has developed over his three-years into a 'passer first', who can run if he wishes…and runs ‘smart’…like Wilson.

I might argue Hundley is a more gifted passer down-field than Wilson. I recall Hundley being more of a short/controlled passing game QB, who liked to run—when he first started for UCLA. Over time, watching the tape, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much Hundley was reading the defense and worked down the field on mid-range, timing patterns into zones or tight coverage. He has developed immensely as a pocket-passer over his three college seasons.

I like Wilson slightly better as a decision-maker in the passing game, and I also like Wilson better than Hundley as a runner because Wilson is smaller and sturdy…whereas Hundley is a little lanky/thinner-framed. Thus, my statement, “He’s almost Russell Wilson.” He is like a taller, slightly less-gifted Russell Wilson.

 

He’s almost Cam Newton…

Hundley looks more like Cam Newton as a passer, than he does Russell Wilson. However, Cam has a much stronger arm over Hundley. BUT Cam is also much shakier and less accurate in the passing game than Hundley. Cam is susceptible to looking good for 4-5-6-7+ throws, and then the next pass is mind-numbingly awful…leaving you wondering, “What’s he thinking?”

Brett Hundley is a better decision-maker and ‘reader of the field’ than Cam…and it’s hard for me to put my finger on a way to explain it. Hundley may have similar, but raw, passer instincts like Russell Wilson…just not the same arm-strength or field-reading ability (yet).

Teddy Bridgewater is probably the best recent/young QB whom I have scouted in simple ball placement on all his passes. Like a great Point Guard in basketball, Bridgewater had a knack for throwing the ball to his college receivers in-stride, and where only they could reach the pass (especially noticeable in tight space). It’s an almost uncanny ability to lead a receiver, and/or throw to spots…like Jason Kidd or Magic Johnson making ‘eyes in the back of their head’ type passes in basketball (whichever era you prefer). Hundley flashes those ‘instinct’ skills, better than Cam Newton, but not as skilled as Bridgewater, and more on a par with Wilson.

Hundley doesn’t have the arm-strength or the overall sturdy frame of Cam…and while taller than Russell Wilson (like all QBs), he’s shorter than Cam by a couple of inches. However, they both stand tall in a pocket with defensive pressure usually muted for fear of their ability to take off running into the open field. The extra time Newton and Hundley are afforded in the pocket because of their mobility is a huge benefit to them in their passing game.

I’m not sure where “almost Cam” + “almost Wilson” leaves us with Hundley. It could leave him as almost ‘good-great’, but just shy…more of a ‘C+’ player than a solid ‘B’ with upside.

Just when I’m about to fall in love with Hundley, he does something on tape that makes me worry about taking a bold stance on him. I’m ‘almost’ in love with Brett Hundley.

I really expected to dislike Hundley for the NFL. I had already mentally pigeon-holed him as a typical run-first, Pistol QB. He is not. To my surprise, he is not just a ‘quick passer’ either…like a Marcus Mariota or Johnny Manziel. Hundley works medium to deep much more than the gimmicky, safe passers who basically are throwing extended hand-offs several times a game. Not only does Hundley throw down-field more—he works it successfully. I was stunned to observe Hundley in action as his college years progressed—he really is comfortable operating from the pocket. People are going bananas because Jameis Winston is a ‘traditional’ passer…HEY, Brett Hundley is too--he just does it in the guise of the Pistol sometimes…and Hundley has much better passer instincts than Winston…and is much more efficient…with no criminal record. Hundley is a much better pocket passer than that Winston or Mariota, but it doesn’t seem that way because he never had the media push of the other guys in college.

Hundley has a 20-6 record in his last two seasons. He’s 15-4 in his last 19 games…with two of the four losses by three points or less. He’s a three-year starter with a 75 TD/25 INT ratio for his career along with 67.4% completion percentage…add to that 30 rushing TDs. He’s a much better QB than I realized—106 TDs accounted for in 40 career games (2.65 per game). Jameis Winston has 72 TDs accounted for in 27 career games (2.66 per game). Marcus Mariota 136 TDs in 41 games (3.31 per game). Andrew Luck 89 TDs in 38 games (2.34 per game)….and to pour cold water all over caring about all these TD numbers: Johnny Manziel 93 TDs in 26 games (3.57 per game).

Let’s switch off the field. You want to talk character or pedigree?

-- Hundley’s dad was a RB for the University of Arizona. His uncle a QB at Wichita State.

-- Hundley was the Gatorade Player of the Year in High School in 2009, and a five-star recruit.

-- He was a Co-Captain for UCLA as a sophomore (2013) and junior (2014)

-- Working on a double major at UCLA…and has won a couple of academic-athlete awards at UCLA

-- Notorious ‘first guy in, last guy out’ label. Is a film study ‘junkie’, who worked with veteran NFL QBs breaking down film in the offseason.

I could go on and on about his character, but this article and video probably lets you know what Hundley is all about (worst case read the quick article below the video): (link) Brett Hundley--Leadership Video

I’m so close to loving Brett Hundley for the NFL. I might actually be there, but there are a couple of items holding me back…

 

 

Brett Hundley, Through the Lens of Our QB Scouting Algorithm:

I’m just going to throw out various numbers and data to ponder here…

-- In his last 18 games (excluding the Texas game where he hurt his hand very early on, and sat out rest of game), Hundley has thrown 33 TD passes and had just 6 INTs. He has also rushed for 17 TDs in that 18-game span. 50 TDs accounted for in his last 18 games fully played in (2.77 per game).

-- Three-straight bowl appearances in his three-year career…a 2-1 record, with 6 TDs/0 INT in those games (and 4 rushing TDs), but an odd 52% average Completion Percentage with all three games under 56% (odd for a career 67.4% passer).

-- Hundley has an 0-7 record vs. Stanford and Oregon in his three-year college career with 6 TD/7 INT in those games. This is one of the data points that scares me. He has a 10-2 record with 25 TD/6 INT in the past two years against bowl-eligible teams that are not Oregon or Stanford, and is 3-0 versus USC. However, those Stanford-Oregon numbers are troubling…a red-flag of sorts.

-- He has a 10-0 record as a starter on the road or neutral sites in his last ten games away from home…with 14 TD/1 INT, and 13 rushing TDs—27 total TDs with one pick in his last 10 games away from home. He’s 16-5 in his career in road or neutral field games.

-- Hundley is the UCLA all-time leader in TD passes and total offense…and is leaving with a year of eligibility remaining.

Overall, statistically, Hundley checks a lot of boxes we want, but the Stanford-Oregon career record…not good. Again, ‘almost’ a great statistical résumé.

Physically, we see Hundley coming in over 6’3”+ tall, and running a 4.5+ 40-time. I think he will be faster than a 4.6, and he might be a 4.4+, which would raise his draft stock some more. We do not foresee any physical measurables issues at this stage.

 

 

 

The Historical QB Prospects Brett Hundley Most Compares Within Our System:

None of our computer model’s comparisons for Hundley work for me. I really want to take all of them, and throw them into a blender and make one Frankenstein version of them all. It’s a bunch more ‘almost’ with a few ‘buts’…

almost as instinctual a thrower as Teddy Bridgewater.

almost as poised running the Pistol offense as Russell Wilson.

almost a passer like Cam Newton.

but more all-around gifted than Marcus Mariota.

but savvier than Vince Young.

 

**TABLE ON DISPLAY AT CFM**

 

*”Adj” = A view of adjusted college output in our system…adjusted for strength of opponent.

**A score of 8.5+ is where we see a stronger correlation of QBs going on to become NFL good-great. A scouting score of 9.5+ is rarefied air—higher potential for becoming great-elite.

 

 

2015 NFL Draft Outlook:

Currently, CBS Sports ranks Hundley 3rd in the QB class, and projects him to go in the 2nd-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. ESPN has him ranked 4th in the QB class with a 3rd-round projection, and a ‘failing’ scouting grade of 69…and behind Michigan State QB Connor Cook (who is not in the draft). Someone at ESPN’s head should roll for putting Cook ahead of Hundley…even if Cook was in the 2015 NFL Draft. The football world almost universally (because of diversity of thought in football) sees Hundley as the consolation prize in the Mariota-Winston sweepstakes. I see it another way. I see a path where Hundley could be the top QB taken in this draft.

(Feel free to laugh at his in 2017 as you read it:) Winston is going to fall in the draft, I believe, on character concerns PLUS how flawed a QB he really is. Try as ‘smart’ teams might to con ‘dumb’ teams into taking the media's beloved/hyped top QBs, I’m not sure they’ll get away with this one—some story will come out on Winston and start to blow up his lofty draft status. You watch. I could see Winston falling outside the top-10. Hundley, when you really look at the tape, is a much better all-around QB than Winston. Hundley works down the field just as well as Winston, but is more mechanically sound and far less turnover prone along with much better feet…and is not an off-field nightmare—he’s quite the opposite of a nightmare. Hundley’s a guy who can be trusted to be the real ‘face’ of a franchise.

(Changed my tune on this with more Mariota study in 2015, but to start 2015 this was my thinking:) Mariota is already falling in rankings as people realize from the Ohio State game, what was true before the Ohio State game—Mariota is a very ‘controlled’ college QB…a ‘system’ guy. He is suspect for the NFL—at minimum people are starting to realize that he is not an instant, turnkey franchise QB. He has many question marks--as does Hundley, but head-to-head Hundley is all-around better as a QB than Mariota. Hundley has faster feet, and works downfield much more often with better results than Mariota did in his ‘system’ push. Both are quality humans, and both deserve a 1st-round status—I just think Hundley is more a total package than Mariota. I think others are going to come around on this too—it may take until a few weeks after the NFL Combine.

In the end, I would almost guarantee Hundley is going 1st-round. The debate, I believe, will be whether he surpasses Winston and/or Mariota along the way (even if that means Winston-Mariota fall more than Hundley rises).

If I were an NFL GM, and I were desperate for a QB…Hundley is my guy. Especially, if I want to run the Pistol…this is my guy from 2015 class. I’m not sure I feel perfect about it, and I wouldn’t bet my life on it, but in this draft class…he’s the one I bet on. I’d hope to not overdraft him, in case it bit me in the butt…but in the end, I’d do it anyway, because there are few other options. Hundley is the E.J. Manuel the Bills were hoping for when they reached for E.J. in the mid-1st-round in 2013.

NFL Outlook: Oh, boy. Well, a lot of this depends upon the team/situation he falls in with. Put him into a Pistol offense, and he might can start day-one. Try to make him a pure pocket passer in a stoic offense—you might be disappointed early. He’s a more perfect fit in Seattle’s offense, but he’d fumble around initially with the Patriots offense. Hundley will be so much better with the freedom to run the ball 5+ times a game—not every offensive coordinator in the NFL wants that.

I assume he’ll go to a Pistol offense on draft day, and he will become a poor man’s Russell Wilson or Cam Newton. Good enough to start…good enough to win a Super Bowl someday in the right circumstance, but does not go down in the history books as an elite QB…just a very solid-good one.

…BUT with a slight upside to become a tall Russell Wilson-alike…and the potential that he MIGHT be more of a top-flight, franchise, elite type QB. Because those big thoughts are possible, according to our data, I’d want to take a chance on him—rare are QBs who we are willing to label ‘possibly elite’—no matter how slight the odds.

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>