Background: Nov 16, 2019; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Kelly Bryant (7) throws a pass during the first half against the Florida Gators at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley
With millions of Americans unemployed largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arizona Cardinals are doing their part in arranging job interviews, most recently for QB Kelly Bryant (Clemson, Missouri), WR Aleva Hifo (BYU) and WR Matt Sewall (Bryant University).
What these former college standouts have in common is they went undrafted in their respective drafts, but they have some intriguing upsides that could potentially off-set the reasons why they went undrafted.
The short and quick version:
Kelly Bryant: PROS: accuracy, progressions, athleticism; CONs: pass velocity (RPMs)
Aleva Hilo: PROS: quick, elusive, RAC rat, KO return man; CONs: lack of pure speed and size
Matt Sewall: PROS: quick, elusive, good hands, reverse and punt return abilities; CONS: lack of burner speed and size, coming off Achilles tear.
Why They Could Fit (on the 2020 Practice Squad):
Kelly Bryant—-shotgun, RPO type QB who is very accurate on short and intermediate routes and can tuck it in and go when the pocket collapses or on designated QB runs.
Aleva Hifo—-Cardinals are still trying to find a Wes Welker/Danny Amendola/Julian Edelman type of slot WR and Hilo could fit that bill.
Matt Sewall—-when you watch his college game tape (posted below), he looks very much at times like Andy Isabella, especially with his crafty feet in the open field and on his reverses (which he averages 14 yards a carry on at Bryant). Plus, Sewall could compete for the punt return job, which remains up in the air tab this point.
More Detailed Info:
QB Kelly Bryant (6-4, 220)
Successor at QB to Deshaun Watson (Clemson 2017) and Drew Lock (Missouri 2019) and predecessor to Trevor Lawrence (Clemson 2018). That’s quite a distinguished QB group, isn’t it?
Below is a highlight tape the Patriots.com folks made of Bryant’s play at Missouri last year.
What I like about Bryant: how he goes through his progressions and keeps plays alive when the pocket starts collapsing—-and while he doesn’t gun the ball very often, his passes are highly accurate and catchable. As a runner he has some escapability and burst.
As for assessing Kelly Bryant’s play at Clemson, Joe Marino of The Draft Network provided this outstanding review:
- Stepping in to replace Tigers legend Deshaun Watson is no easy task, but Bryant performed admirably in his first season as a starter where he completed 65.8 percent of his passes while generating nearly 3,500 yards of offense (rushing and passing) with 24 total touchdowns. Clemson boasted a 12-2 record and won the ACC Championship Game before falling to Alabama in the College Football Playoffs.
- Not a one-read passer, Bryant demonstrates the ability to work his progressions and deliver throws with anticipation. He showcases a willingness to test man coverage and give his targets a chance to make plays on the ball where they have leverage. He excels as a rhythm passer when operating quick game. He will also hang tough in the pocket, allowing routes to develop and deliver strikes under duress. Rounding out his strengths as a player is how effective he is as a runner. His skill set demands designed runs.
- While Bryant has general accuracy as a passer, his ball placement becomes more erratic the further down the field the throw is. His throwing motion is elongated and he isn’t as effective throwing on the run as expected given his physical traits. Bryant is guilty of not recognizing coverage rotations and his field vision is modest. And when defenses key in on taking his ability to win as a runner and force him to win from the pocket, his ability to move the offense steeply declines.
- Bryant should take considerable strides in year two as a starter but has the makeup of a developmental prospects as opposed to a coveted high pick.
College Highlight: Winning MVP of the 2017 ACC Championship in a 38-3 win over 10-1 Miami, completing 15 passes in a row to start the game and scoring on a nifty scramble to the left pylon.
College Lowlight: Losing to Alabama in the 2017 Sugar Bowl.
Bryant struggled in this game, but he didn’t have much help versus what could have been Alabama’s best and most talented defense in decades.
WR Aleva Hifo (5-10, 188)
Game film vs. West Virginia as freshman with Taysom Hill (Saints) at QB.
The ChiefsWire did an excellent write-up on Hifo when he signed with them following the 2020 NFL Draft:
WR Matt Sewall (5-11, 190)
His college highlight video is impressive.
You can see why the Cardinals have potential interest in him—-he’s a good Air Raid fit as a nifty RAC WR and reverse threat.
Kudos to the Cardinals New England/Metro NY scouts—-they have been working hard to find gems in a part of the country that is often overlooked in terms of pro scouting. The draft selection of recent picks: RB Chase Edmonds, Fordham, WR Andy Isabella, UMass and DE Zach Allen, Boston College. Plus adding UMass passing game coordinator Spencer Whipple (asst. WR coach 2020) to the coaching staff.