Many fans and analysts have been looking for an early-round quarterback that fits the Los Angeles Chargers. Kelly Bryant might be a good late-round option.
I’ve been doing as much homework as possible on these 2020 quarterbacks. I’ve put upwards of 40+ hours into it. Disagree if you want, but Bryant will be the best value of any quarterback in the 2020 draft. I’ll get into why later, but for now I want to share the experience of scouting Bryant.
First off, when you start scouting these guys, you have a basic list ready. You start with the top quarterback on everyone’s list, which in this case is Joe Burrow, and then you work your way down the list, expecting to find someone you like that surprises you here and there, but for the most part, you expect the list to get progressively worse.
Sure, the top five guys are interchangeable for most, with some having Jordan Love above Jake Fromm, some having Tua Tagovailoa above Burrow, etc…
Now, what you don’t expect, is for someone near the bottom of the list to be so good that he is in your top five. Yes, that’s right, Bryant is a top-five quarterback in my rankings, and it’s not the box score, it’s not just the gradings and analytic part, it’s the film.
I was fully expecting to turn on the tape for these later prospects and see a trait here and there, but I was not expecting to see a quarterback with elite traits in the places that matter.
It was like you had just sat through and watched the original Star Wars movies with Burrow and Tua. Then, you watched the prequels, which are fine but not great. Then you got to the sequels, and now you’re just having an awful time. But wait… There in the distance, is this bright light, this glimmer of hope, a small ray of sunshine in this awfully written galaxy. It’s the Mandalorian.
Bryant is the Mandalorian. You are watching some of these quarterbacks, and you can’t help but bang your head against a table, or smack your palm against your forehead. Then there is the Mandalorian, it has character, it has moments, and it doesn’t rely on just a few epic moments! It’s consistent.
So, what makes Bryant so good? First off, he can handle the pressure, and when it all falls apart, he can improvise.
Now, what I mean here by “safest QB pick in this class” is that Bryant is probably a day 3 guy, and if you can get solid production out of a late-round quarterback, that’s a safe pick in my eyes. Some may view it as a risk, that there is no way Bryant turns out to be good. I disagree.
You have two plays here where Bryant shows off some insane movement and improvisation. He has all the trouble the defense can throw at him, and he winds up successful both times. He wins with his legs first, but he caps it off with his arm. Now it’s not just the flashy plays, it’s the small things here as well.
First, he handles the pressure, making the defenders miss, keeping his calm, and his eyes stay downfield. That’s the key, he is making the smart decisions despite the play crumbling around him.
This is what I have said is the number one thing I look for in a quarterback. Can he deliver under pressure? Whether that pressure is actual pressure from the defense or the pressure of the situation around him, Bryant delivers.
Next up is the accuracy, if you notice something similar about both of the above plays, it’s that he puts the ball in a good spot despite running for his life. He is a very accurate quarterback, and there isn’t much doubt about that.
Where the doubts have crept up in the past, specifically at Clemson, is that he couldn’t improvise very well, and from what you see above, that seems to be fixed. This brings you to another big plus, which is that Bryant has developed.
Development is so important for quarterbacks, and a big reason I was so high on Lamar Jackson in 2018 was that he had gotten better each and every year that he played. More yards, better accuracy, handled pressure better, arm got stronger, all of it. Bryant showcases similar improvement at Missouri, not on the box score, but on tape.
So why would the Chargers draft Bryant?
Well, the Chargers seem to be seeking a very specific type of quarterback, and the common theme is mobility. In 2017, they were very interested in Deshaun Watson, but elected to take Mike Williams to help add weapons to Philip Rivers‘ arsenal.
In 2018, they wanted Jackson and were going to take him until Derwin James fell into their laps. In 2019, they brought in Tyrod Taylor on a two-year deal. Now, they are rumored to be interested in Cam Newton should Carolina elect to part ways with him.
Mobility is the key here for Anthony Lynn. He has even stated as much in press conferences that he wants a mobile quarterback, he wants someone that can improvise.
If the Chargers don’t like the value in round one, or even if they do like the value in round one, Bryant should be on their radar, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if he ended up being taken by the Chargers in this draft.