Kelly Bryant came to Mizzou with the hope of making it to the NFL.
Kelly Bryant doesn’t think about a championship ring from Clemson.
He wants one with Missouri, and he hopes he can deliver that in his one year in CoMo.
But for himself, what he came to Mizzou to do is improve his chance of making it to the NFL. He can get to the next level with an impressive season that shows he’s made improvements at the quarterback position.
That starts with improving his downfield accuracy. He came to Mizzou to do that with his quarterback coach Derek Dooley. Bryant will be given opportunities to do that as Mizzou should have an explosive offense highlighted by tight end and first-round hopeful Albert Okwuegbunam. Also, Bryant could have one of the best 1-2 running back combos in Larry Rountree III and Tyler Badie. That will open up the field for the Tigers to use and showcase Bryant’s ability.
The former Clemson QB also needs to improve his pocket passing. He can do that as he goes up against some of the best defenses in the country almost every week — he’s in the SEC. He’s going to get different coverages thrown at him and with some of the most elite players in those defenses. If he recognizes these coverages, he can pass that test and show NFL scouts his improvement there.
He is a great runner. Bryant, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, can beat teams with his legs and his arm. That is a plus as he comes to Mizzou. But it might make some scouts want to change his position to receiver or on safety. Don’t be surprised if that’s the case, but a great senior season should give him the opportunity to enter a training camp as a quarterback next summer.
Bryant has the right attitude for a one-year guy. He wants to take Mizzou as far as he can; he wants to leave his won legacy. And he wants the chance to advance.
If he gets drafted, how high can he go? Bryant could be a late-round pick right now based off potential and his winning ability, but he’d probably go undrafted. A slightly above average of mixed year at Mizzou still could move him up in the draft. But improving his stock all around, downfield throws, reading defenses and his intermediate passes, he could be an early-round pick.
Currently, there are around five quarterbacks who have a realistic shot at getting drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL. Those are Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm, K.J. Costello and Jacob Eason. Jordan Love, Shea Patterson and Nathan Stanley are ahead of Bryant and hope to move up into the conversation this year as well. That leaves Bryant around nine at best to begin the year.
If a quarterback is not selected in Round 1, his shot of going early decreases big time. The second round has the lowest number of QBs drafted since 2000, with just 21 going in that round in the past 20 drafts (But hey, Mizzou’s Drew Lock was one of those guys).
If four of those five go in the opening round, expect the fifth to go in the second, and that’s when Bryant comes in. It’s just a guess — players shoot up and fall out all of the time. But if Bryant accomplishes everything he wants to and improves his play the way Dooley, coach Barry Odom and the rest of the staff believes, he could get into the third round, if not better.