Behind The ScenesNFL

Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota among pupils in sixth edition of Gruden’s QB Camp

Jon Gruden’s QB Camp series has become as much a part of annual pre-NFL Draft coverage as the Scouting Combine and Pro Days since its debut on ESPN in 2010. In all, 38 players have participated in the series the past five years, including Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson and Indianapolis Colts All-Pro Andrew Luck.

Gruden’s QB Camp is back for its sixth year this spring, beginning Tuesday, April 7 (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET). Shows will air across multiple ESPN networks and ABC leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft. (Note: The entire Gruden’s QB Camp TV schedule will be released later this month and will be available on ESPN MediaZone.) In addition, all past QB Camp shows will be available via ESPN Classic Video on Demand, beginning the first week of April.

This month, Gruden will welcome five quarterbacks to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., where he’ll spend time with each prospect in the film room and on the field. Excerpts of the visits will be featured the same day on SportsCenter.

The 2015 QB Camp class features the past two Heisman Trophy winners – Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, potentially the top two overall picks in this year’s NFL Draft. Other participants include 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic MVP Bryce Petty (Baylor), 2nd Team All-Pac 12 selection Brett Hundley (UCLA) and 2014 MWC Offensive Player of the Year Garrett Grayson (Colorado State).

Last year, [former Fresno State passer] Derek Carr came to town and put on an aerial display. I would be surprised if Petty isn’t that guy this year. – Jon Gruden on new Gruden’s QB Camp pupil Bryce Petty of Baylor

The Super Bowl-winning coach and Monday Night Football analyst discusses each quarterback:

On Garrett Grayson: “There’s a lot of parts of Colorado State’s system that I recognize, unlike a lot of college football that’s running up-tempo, no-huddle, spread-option football. There’s some principles at Colorado State that will serve Grayson well. He can run it. He can audible. He can get you out of trouble with his legs. He’s a dark horse in this class.”

On Brett Hundley: “Hundley helped put UCLA football back on the map. They were in trouble before he arrived. Really what he did running and passing, taking over the city of Los Angeles the last three years, is a great accomplishment. And, for the Bruins to finish as a top-10 team, that puts an exclamation point on his career. A talented guy.”

On Marcus Mariota: “Mariota is special in a lot of ways. He’s a dynamic dual-threat on the field and he is humble – no-nonsense, full of character off the field – 4.52 is what he ran [at the Combine]. He competes like crazy. I just think he has a lot of ‘can’t miss’ qualities.”

On Bryce Petty: “Petty might have the best arm talent in this draft. Last year, Derek Carr came to town and put on an aerial display. I would be surprised if Petty isn’t that guy this year. Stereotyped in the Baylor offense, but he’s different. He’s a great passer. He’s a finisher. I love finishers. Grayshirt, redshirt, [he] waited his time. He’s physically and mentally ready to go. I like Petty.”

On Jameis Winston: “Not many people do what Jameis Winston did: first year as a starter winning a National Championship, only one loss in his two years as a starter. He’s got great charisma. He’s polarizing for some people but he’s a rare talent. I can’t wait to spend some time with him. I coached the [Tampa Bay Buccaneers] with a Florida State quarterback named Brad Johnson. Things worked out alright.”

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