When the Arizona Cardinals released veteran backup QB Mike Glennon and signed QB Brett Hundley to take his place, a number of NFL pundits questioned the move. The rap on Hundley is tied to his slip to the 5th round in the 2015 NFL Draft where two years previously he was thought of as the top QB prospect of his draft class.
While scouts lauded Hundley for his athleticism and toughness (garnering comparisons to Randall Cunningham and Donovan McNabb), they questioned his ability to read defenses from the pocket and wondered whether Hundley could demonstrate the kind of effective ball placement on his passes that wins games in the NFL.
Thus far---Brett Hundley’s one big chance was in 2017 when Aaron Rodgers was injured---and based on his 4-7 record and stat line of 60.8% completions, 1,836 yards, 9 TDs and 12 ints. (70.6 QBR)---it would appears that the scouts’ concerns about Hundley have thus far been legit.
However, how many QBs in the NFL have struggled over the course of their first 10 starts?
Even Carson Palmer in 2013, as an 11 year veteran, playing in Bruce Arians’ offense, completed just a tad over 60% of his passes over the first 10 games while throwing 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Isn’t it common for high draft pick QBs get the benefit of the doubt over 5th round QBs like Brett Hundley?
But, in my opinion, there are 7 strong reasons for Cardinals’ fans to like Brett Hundley:
1. College Career at UCLA
* Set UCLA QB records winning 9+ games for 3 consecutive seasons, plus most TDs (75 + 31 = 106) and career yards (9,966 + 1,763 = 11,763).
* Three year record: 30-11, plus 2-1 in bowl games.
* Career stat lines: Passing---837 / 1,241 / 67.4% / 9,966 yds / 75 tds / 25 ints / 150.8 qbr
Now---compare Brett Hundley’s three year record and stats to Josh Rosen’s:
Rosen: 17-11, 0-1 bowl games, 712 / 1,170 / 60.9% / 9,340 yds / 56 tds / 26 ints / 140.1 qbr + rushing 109 / -154 / 6 tds
Why then did Rosen get the benefits of the doubt that were not given to Hundley? Because he’s more of a traditional pocket passer? Because he throws a prettier ball? Why then was Hundley significantly more accurate at UCLA?
People make excuses for Rosen---too many drops, new OCs every year, not the same level of talent in the program. All of which, to me, seems moot.
Look at Rosen’s first 14 game stats in the NFL: (3-10 record): 217 / 393 / 55.2% / 2,278 yds / 11 tds / 14 ints / 66.7 qbr
* Hundley is 6-3, 226 with 4.63 speed, 36” vertical, 120” broad jump, 6.93 3 cone, 3.98 20 yard shuttle (all top measurements and speeds for the QBs at the 2015 NFL Combine).
* Lindy’s Scouting Report 2015 Draft: “Tall, well-built frame. Has the arm strength to zip passes all over the field. Quick set up and releases with the velocity and touch to make every throw. Good elusiveness and acceleration.”
* What his former coach in Green Bay, Mike McCarthy, said when asked what stands out about Brett Hundley: “Athletic ability,” McCarthy said. “When I look at players, the first things I look at are the things you can’t teach. Everyone wants to talk about Xs and Os, specifics, training, techniques and the exactness of the game of football. But the reality of it is, it’s a game where it’s 11 on 11, things happen and the ability to play beyond the designed play, the 2.3 seconds that everything’s designed to go a certain way, get into extended plays and things like that, (is important). Brett has a ton of that. He’s a tough guy, that stands out. He’s athletic. ... There’s just a lot there to work with.”
3. System Fit
* One of the concerns about Hundley coming into the 2015 NFL draft was that he took the vast majority of his college snaps out of the shotgun. Hundley thrived in UCLA’s spread offense, and now he is taking shotgun snaps out of the K-Raid in Arizona.
4. Local Star
“Brett Hundley attended Chandler High School in Chandler, Arizona, where he played high school football for the Wolves football team. As a junior, he completed 107 of 170 passes for 1,517 yards with 16 touchdown passes and two interceptions. As a senior, he completed 139 of 225 passes for 2,348 yards with 20 touchdowns and two interceptions. Hundley’s overall record as a starter in high school was 16–8. He was ranked as the second best dual-threat quarterback recruit in his class by Rivals.com.”
5. The Coaches Are High on Hundley’s Talent
First of all, it says a lot that the Cardinals’ QB veteran coach, Tom Clements, who was with Green Bay when they drafted and started developing Hundley, gave his former young QB such a positive recommendation. That gives Hundley instant cred right there.
Secondly, Kliff Kingsbury has made it very clear that not just he and Tom Clements, but everyone in the organization “is excited” about Brett Hundley and his “outstanding talent.”
6. Experience Learning from Rodgers and Wilson
Having spent three years working behind Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and one year last year working behind Russell Wilson in Seattle, Brett Hundley has witnessed on a daily basis how two future Hall of Fame QBs hone their craft and week to week preparation. Plus, both QBs thrive on using their mobility to extend plays, a skill that Hundley naturally possesses.
Hundley said this week that “I don’t play for second.” He has every intention of competing for the starting position and preparing each day and each week to make the most of this opportunity. That’s the right kind of mindset coaches want from all of their QBs.
The 2019 cap hit for Brett Hundley is $1.875M, plus $100,000 game bonuses. The Cardinals had been paying Drew Stanton and Mike Glennon more than twice this salary.
Given that the Cardinals are now running a spread offense under Kingsbury and Clements, one could make a cogent argument that Brett Hundley is a better fit than Stanton, Glennon and perhaps even Josh Rosen.
I believe that Brett Hundley has the talent to be an effective and productive dual-threat NFL QB. A return to Arizona and the type of offense that he is best suited for feels like a win-win scenario. Add while Kyler Murray is a unique talent who is taking command of the offense, it is good to know that he is being pushed by Brett Hundley and that Hundley has the talent and natural fit to keep the offense rolling when called on.
Here’s a good short video the Packers compiled about Brett Hundley:
And here’s a good reminder of what Hundley was able to accomplish at UCLA: