Here is what the NFL.COM scouts saw in Petty entering the 2015 draft. Personally, I was shocked that we grabbed him off of waivers, but he's cheap (if he makes the team) with an un-guaranteed $703K salary for the upcoming season.
Possesses NFL size. Not a burner, but has enough functional movement outside of the pocket. Scouts label him ultra-competitive, tough and smart. Strong leader. Engineered 21-point fourth-quarter comeback win over TCU in 2014. Played through a back injury for most of his senior season. Doesn't have a cannon, but arm strength is NFL-starter quality. Deep-ball accuracy improved from 2013 to 2014. Understands when to throw the fastball and when to use touch. Gets feet set with good balance on delivery. Keeps ball at proper height on set-up and has quick release. Rarely underthrows deep passes, preferring to give only his wide receiver a chance to catch the ball. Can elude pressure and buy himself time to make a play.
Scouts concerned he could be product of Baylor's one-read system. Has tendency to spray the ball against zone coverage on intermediate routes. Can extend plays but won't make many plays downfield once he extends. Mistakes happen when forced to come off of first read. Struggles when defenders are near his feet. Yards per attempt declined in 2014 and screens were a much higher percentage of his passes. Struggles to pull himself from the doldrums when having a poor game. Nose of the ball dives when he doesn't drive throws with his lower body. Must learn to read defenses and get through his progressions when he joins the NFL.
Sources Tell Us
"My grade is a projection based on what I think he can do rather than what he did this year. I think his back was a bigger problem for him than people realize." -- AFC North area scout
"Offenses that ask quarterbacks to look to the sidelines so coaches can make the pre-snap reads will never crank out NFL ready quarterbacks. Those quarterbacks all need redshirt years in the league." -- AFC West area scout
"After watching the tape, talking to both guys and seeing them work out, I have Petty ahead as my third quarterback." -- AFC quarterbacks coach
NFL evaluators felt like Petty's senior season was disappointing, but those same evaluators love his size, leadership and intangibles. He needs a year or two of practice time and camp work to learn how to get through his progressions, but has the intelligence to do that. Petty flashed plenty of arm strength at the NFL Scouting Combine and as the draft draws closer, teams might very well begin to conceptualize Petty fitting into their offense as a potential starter of the future.