“I can tell you unequivocally that Brett Hundley is a first-round draft pick. The guy’s a future star in the NFL.”
That was what Jim Mora said less than a year ago, when he and his quarterback sat in Paramount Studios in Hollywood and talked about UCLA’s bright future. For the Bruins, Hundley did just fine, leading them to a an Alamo Bowl win and a top-10 national finish.
Along the way, however, his draft stock collapsed. The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Hundley waited until the third day of the NFL draft, going to the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round as the No. 147 overall selection in 2015. Five quarterbacks were taken before him: Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota — not a surprise at No. 1 and 2 overall — as well as Garrett Grayson, Sean Mannion and Bryce Petty.
Knocks on Hundley ranged from his pocket presence to his inconsistency on downfield throws. As a redshirt junior, he took 38 sacks, more than all but six other FBS quarterbacks. He also threw 33 percent of his passes behind the line of scrimmage.
“He didn’t throw an NFL route tree at UCLA, to a certain extent,” said ESPN analyst Todd McShay.
But the fall put him below even modest draft expectations. When Hundley announced last January that he would return to UCLA for one final season, he said that his evaluation indicated a second-to-fourth round draft range, with a chance at the first. Even this week, after scouts had picked apart Hundley’s game for months, Mora said he saw his former player as a second-round pick.
Nevertheless, Hundley set a new milestone: he is the first UCLA quarterback drafted at all since 1999, when Cade McNown was taken No. 12 overall.