Chiefs QB of the future could be coming in 2015!

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A favorite topic of the Chiefs online community has long been the quarterback position. And, let’s face it: it isn’t like the Chiefs haven’t given us plenty to talk about. Nothing is more dividing than a QB who doesn’t put up great numbers but still leads the team to a winning record, which is exactly what the Chiefs have had in recent years. You even have to include Matt Cassel in that category, thanks to his 2010 season.

Andy Reid recently added to the conversation when he dropped a small bomb to the media by mentioning what he thought about Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. Reid’s endorsement is enough to get the media and Chiefs fans fired up both in support of and against Mariota. But enough about that guy; I want to talk to you about a QB who is currently being written off by many despite the fact he may very well be the best of the entire class…

Brett Hundley out of UCLA.

Some of you probably just did a double-take, spit out your coffee, or just started laughing. Others probably just let out a loud, “THANK YOU!” I’ll go on record saying that Brett Hundley

could very well

WILL be the best QB in the 2015 draft and is the perfect candidate to become the Chiefs QB of the future.

That’s not to say he is the most NFL-ready. As far as looking for an immediate starter goes, that is Jameis Winston. But over a five-year span, I expect Hundley to overtake Winston. However, this doesn’t mean the Chiefs have to take him in the first round. Most analysts project Hundley to be available in the second, or even third round. That means the Chiefs should be able to take a top-tier prospect in the first and still be able to grab Hundley in the second, or via various trade scenarios.  But no matter how they do it, Brett Hundley will be worth the investment.

Brett Hundley could be the ideal quarterback to lead the Chiefs into the future. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It begins with Hundley’s unteachable attributes. You can’t teach size, arm strength or speed, and Hundley has all three.  At 6’3″ and 227 lbs, he carries a prototype frame, he has a strong arm with good velocity to make every throw on the field, and is more than capable of making a defense pay for not accounting for his running ability. This past year, he ran for more than 600 yards with 10 TDs — that’s the same number of rushing TDs as his top two RBs, Paul Perkins and JJ James.

In fact, Hundley’s numbers this past year are pretty impressive all around: 3,100+ yards, 69 percent completion, 22 TDs and only 5 INTs. Those are excellent numbers to put up in a college season, especially against stiff competition in the Pac-12.

So, what’s the catch? Why isn’t he being touted as a first-round guy? Why isn’t it a three-way conversation about the top QB in the class? Well, Hundley doesn’t come without his share of question marks:

1. Hasn’t worked from under center. It’s the big flag on most college QBs these days. With the various types of offenses being used at the college level, there are few teams that still line their QB up right behind the OL. This is something that can be learned though. And with almost every QB having the same flag, this shouldn’t be a huge mark against Hundley.

2. Poor accuracy.  This was something that took me by surprise when I saw it in his review. The kid has never completed fewer than 66 percent of his passes. That doesn’t exactly scream “inaccurate.”  Neither does a 22:5 TD-INT ratio. So I went and studied the tape. What I found wasn’t so much “inaccuracy” as it was questionable ball placement. However, more than that, I saw a lot of instances where the receivers simply didn’t make plays that they should have made. From poor routes to bad timing, to just flat out drops, the UCLA WRs were anything but impressive. Also playing into this was that Hundley seemed to be consistently under pressure.

3. Pocket presence. I’ll tell you right now that I just flat out disagree on this. Yes, Hundley took a lot of sacks, but I am putting this on a poor OL that couldn’t seem to block anybody. In fact, I was more impressed by Hundley’s ability to manipulate the pocket. Hundley was constantly moving around to avoid rushers without breaking the pocket and simply taking off running. If Hundley had a halfway competent OL, he wouldn’t have been pressured even 1/3 of the time that he was.

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Investigating Hundley’s reported weaknesses actually made me appreciate his talent and ability even more. The driving force in this was the recognition that Hundley has played his three years at UCLA with almost no offensive talent around him. Looking at the 2015 draft class, there are only two other members of the offense that are even draft eligible, and both are considered UDFA talents at best. Of players not in the draft, only RB Paul Perkins and WR Jordan Payton show any future. More importantly, NONE of the UCLA offensive linemen currently project as NFL talents.

To help highlight what I saw in Hundley, let’s turn to the game that killed his draft stock, a loss against Utah on October 4th when the UCLA QB was sacked 10 times.

Negatives – 

After reviewing the film, I found a few instances where Hundley held onto the ball too long. Of course, the video doesn’t show what was going on with the receivers, so I can’t make any determination there. However, Hundley does need to decide to run more quickly when his receivers aren’t getting open. Hundley also had a bad INT and a fumble on a low snap. The INT was just a bad pass that floated into the flat on a screen play. The fumble isn’t totally on Hundley, but he’s got to be able to adjust to those.

Positives – 

Hundley’s accuracy was phenomenal in this game. A total of five incomplete passes, and three of those were drops. Even more impressive is that Hundley makes almost every single throw you could be looking for and shows great touch and timing. Despite the beating Hundley took, he got his team the lead on a beautiful TD pass late in the fourth quarter. Utah regained the lead, but Hundley then took his team into FG position in a drive that started with 0:24 on the clock and zero timeouts. A wide right FG attempt made his efforts for naught, but Hundley showed incredible leadership and perseverance late in the game. That’s not something that can be coached.

After watching the game that destroyed his draft stock, I couldn’t help but laugh. Hundley isn’t a perfect prospect, but this game highlighted his strengths far more than exposed his weaknesses. And it’s not like Hundley didn’t show up in other big games. In his three seasons as the Bruins starter, he never lost to hated rival, USC, including what was considered an upset this past season…

But this is only half the story. How does Brett Hundley fit into the Chiefs’ quarterback situation?

“When I watch Hundley, I see parallels to Donovan McNabb when he was coming out of Syracuse.” ~ Jon Gruden

The answer is that he fits almost perfectly. Hundley comes from an offense that required him to make use of the run game and short, quick passes on underneath routes. Sound familiar? On top of that, Hundley shows an incredible knack for not turning the ball over, throwing just five interceptions all of last year. The big difference? Hundley also possesses a cannon for an arm that can deliver the ball all over the field. Alex Smith haters and lovers alike can rejoice: Hundley is a similar quarterback who possesses the one thing Smith is often chastised about.

And before you get your “but what about” arguments fired up, you might want to remember a similar quarterback that Andy Reid once coached. Hundley fits a mold similar to that of McNabb. In fact, Jon Gruden made that direct comparison right off the bat after having Hundley down for an episode of Gruden QB Camp. Gruden stated, “When I watch Hundley, I see parallels to Donovan McNabb when he was coming out of Syracuse.” Strong arm with excellent athleticism. Both came from an option-based offense that limited how often they had to make complex reads. And both players were saddled with questions about pocket presence and accuracy. Donovan McNabb went on to have a successful career under Andy Reid, and I am of the opinion that Brett Hundley will follow suit.