Photo of Brad Kaaya
Drafted By: Lions

Combine Results

5.59 ?

Draft Analysis:

Matthew Stafford's current backup, Jake Rudock, was a surprise draft pick last season and is unreliable at best at this point. Kaaya is a safer backup option familiar with pro concepts and can keep the offense on schedule if Stafford ever goes down. --Mark Dulgerian

  • 6'4" Height
  • 32" Arm Length
  • 214LBS. Weight
  • 9 3/4" Hands


Even though Kaaya was an all-state quarterback out of Los Angeles (his mother, Angela, is an actress), it was a bit of a surprise when he beat out transfer Jake Heaps for the starting job as a true freshman. He went through growing pains in that 6-7 season with the 'Canes (58.5 completion pct, 3,198 yards, 26 TD, 12 INT). Kaaya improved his game in 2015, earning third-team All-ACC recognition after leading the conference with 274.5 passing yards per game (61.2 completion pct, 16 TD, five INT). He continued that career arc this fall (62.0 completion pct, 3,532 yards, 27 TD, seven INT), even though he was left off All-ACC teams in a conference full of talented quarterbacks.



Three-year starter and pro-style pocket passer. Experienced and comfortable under center and in play-action offense. Has shown an ability to read the entire field when asked. Gets through progressions fairly quickly. Expedites release and throws to an area in front of the route when blitz is closing in. Always looking to throw past sticks on third down. Understands his arm limitations and rarely takes unnecessary chances throwing into space. Rhythm passer comfortable working in timing-based passing attack. Schooled on mechanics of the position since he was eight years old. Uses well-timed climbs and slides to maneuver away from pressure. Footwork is consistent and well-rehearsed. Ball stays tucked under his ear until he cuts it loose with relatively quick wrist flick. Throws on balance with easy delivery. Delivers feathery soft deep ball with good trajectory and ability to drop the nose of the ball into a bucket. Gets ball out early on field-side throws to mitigate lack of velocity.


Accuracy and ball placement can be sketchy. Will rush throws and "work early" rather than throw with velocity into tight windows. Front side opens early, causing passes to sail. Consistently poor accuracy on intermediate work. Completed just 38 percent of his passes between 11-20 yards in 2016. Underthrows deep balls and fails to consistently hit crossers and slants in stride. Arm strength lags behind NFL norm. Throws hang in air or nose-dive prematurely when throwing field side. Rigid, mechanical approach as passer. Lacks arm talent and improvisational skills to create magic with off-balance throws on the move. Fails to see and exploit anticipatory throws between linebackers and safeties. Lacks mobility outside the pocket and will give into the pressure -- at times taking the sack rather than getting rid of the ball.

Draft Projection

Round 3-4

Sources Tell Us

“I really love his mental makeup and I want to like him more as a prospect. I just think someone is going to overdraft the person or the intangibles. At the end of the day, he has to throw with better accuracy and velocity or he’ll be just another guy.” -- Director of pro personnel for NFC team

NFL Comparison

Cody Kessler

Bottom Line

Groomed to be a quarterback from an early age, Kaaya flashes the mechanics and intelligence of a player who has spent hours in quarterback camps. However, he can be too mechanical and thinks too much rather than just flowing and responding to what the field offers him. Kaaya could have used another year of college, but he has the tools and intangibles to become an NFL starter. While he can work around his average arm strength, he must improve his accuracy and anticipation if he is to make a mark in the NFL.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster