Tyson Bagent’s journey into the 2023 NFL season has defied expectations and raised intriguing questions about his draft status and performance. Initially projected as the Bears’ backup to Justin Fields, Bagent’s outstanding preseason performance led to an unexpected turn of events, ultimately securing him the backup quarterback position ahead of the more seasoned PJ Walker.
Bagent’s collegiate career at Shepherd University, a Division II school, was nothing short of remarkable. He amassed an impressive 17,034 passing yards and a total of 171 touchdowns, distinguishing himself as a prolific quarterback. However, doubts arose about his ability to transition to the NFL, given that he primarily competed against lower-level competition in college.
Despite these concerns, Bagent’s performance in the preseason dispelled many doubts. Notably, he became the sole quarterback from the 2023 NFL Draft class to clinch a victory in his inaugural career start, a feat unmatched by the league’s first-round quarterbacks.
This success has sparked inquiries about why Bagent wasn’t selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. While his strong debut as a starter may lessen the prominence of this question, it still raises curiosity about how he managed to slip through the draft and find a place among the undrafted ranks.
Experts’ assessments of Bagent’s draft profile and scouting reports were varied. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein highlighted concerns about his mechanics and arm strength, indicating that he might face challenges against NFL-caliber defensive backs. These factors contributed to Zierlein’s belief that Bagent would likely go undrafted.
Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline acknowledged Bagent’s arm strength but emphasized the need for significant improvement in accuracy and pass placement. Despite these reservations, Pauline projected Bagent as a potential seventh-round selection, suggesting that a team might take a chance on him in the late rounds.
Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network was more optimistic, giving Bagent a fifth-round grade. Crabbs lauded Bagent’s “live arm” and “above-average athleticism,” though he noted concerns about field-reading skills and the transition from Division II to the NFL. These considerations placed Bagent in the Day 3 draft value category.
Ultimately, Bagent’s absence from the draft likely stemmed from a combination of concerns about his readiness for the substantial leap in competition and the areas of improvement needed in his game, particularly accuracy and mechanics. While these factors may have dissuaded NFL teams from investing a draft pick in him, Bagent’s performance at the Senior Bowl and subsequent roster spot with the Bears have demonstrated his determination to prove his worth in the league.
2023 NFL Draft QBs
|1||2||Texans||C. J. Stroud||Ohio State|
|4||127||Saints||Jake Haener||Fresno State|
|5||149||Packers||Sean Clifford||Penn State|