The father of Tyler Bray said his son is “very excited’’ about signing a free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, but Jeff Bray couldn’t mask his disappointed over the former Tennessee quarterback going undrafted when he was projected to be picked as high as the second round by some draft analysts.
“It was brutal,’’ Jeff Bray said in a phone interview to The Sports Animal, of watching the draft from his home in California with Tyler.
“I personally think with that kind of talent, to sit through something like that, it just amazes me.’’
Tyler Bray sometimes did some amazing things as Tennessee’s quarterback, throwing for 3,612 yards and 34 touchdowns last season and ranking among UT’s top four all-time in TD passes and passing yards. He has the school record for most 400-yard games (four) and passed for 530 against Troy, second most in SEC history.
But he never beat a ranked team, won just two SEC games in his last two seasons at Tennessee, endured some off-the-field issues and didn’t display the leadership qualities NFL scouts desire from a quarterback.
Jeff Bray said Tyler signed a three-year free agent contract with Kansas City with bonuses for making the roster and the practice squad. He said Chiefs coach Andy Reid called before the draft ended, expressing an interest in Bray.
“Nobody wants him (in the draft), then for two hours the phone does not stop ringing from different teams,’’ Jeff Bray said. “As a parent, you say: ‘You want him now, but you didn’t want him in the draft?’ ’’
Jeff Bray said two teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and coach Mike Tomlin, said they would draft Bray. But the Steelers instead took Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones in the fourth round.
Eleven quarterbacks were selected in the draft, including a guy from Southern Utah and Duke’s Sean Renfree.
“I know I’m his parent, but I don’t see how 11 quarterbacks get picked, and the best quarterback physically is not picked,’’ Jeff Bray said.
ESPN analyst Bill Polian, former general manager of the Indianapolis Colts, said Tyler Bray had an inconsistent release point which affected his accuracy and he questioned Bray’s decision making.
Tyler Bray might have hurt himself during his Quarterback Camp session on ESPN with Jon Gruden, saying on a 1-to-10 scale his game preparation was a seven or eight and that some of his off-the-field antics were due to a lack of maturity.
Jeff Bray said if a player isn’t picked by the sixth or seventh round, it’s almost better to sign as a free agent so you can pick the best team fit.
“We’re happy,’’ Jeff Bray said. “He’s where he wanted to be (in Kansas City).’’
Chase Daniel, the Chiefs’ backup quarterback, was a counselor at an Elite 11 camp in Los Angeles in which Tyler Bray participated.
Bray will join the Chiefs’ eight-member draft class for a three-day rookie minicamp that begins May 10.
Jimmy Hyams is a freelance contributor.