By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Sports Writer
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) _ Bryce Petty has the big arm, eye-popping resume and physical build of an NFL starting quarterback.
He also has plenty of doubters.
Simply a system quarterback, some of Petty’s critics insisted leading to the draft last weekend.
A guy with the skillset to succeed in college at Baylor, but not necessarily in the NFL. The New York Jets heard it all _ and still decided to trade up one spot to make sure they got him in the fourth round.
“He throws the ball pretty good,” coach Todd Bowles said during the Jets’ rookie minicamp. “He’s got a quick release. He’s got a nice touch, the same things he showed in college.”
What Petty showed at Baylor was eye-popping stuff. He set 31 school records, two Big 12 marks and has the best interception percentage (1.18) in NCAA history.
Petty passed for 8,195 yards and 62 touchdowns _ and just 10 interceptions _ and ran for 338 yards and 21 scores in four seasons, with most of those statistics coming in just two years as a starter.
At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Petty certainly looks the part and he showed off his powerful arm at times over the weekend. He capped his practice debut in the pros Friday with an interception that was returned for a TD, but still made a solid first impression.
“He has all the intangibles, but that word is thrown around so much,” Bowles said. “It’s sort of the new word for `potential.’ He has intangibles to be a good quarterback, as well as our other guys, so we’ll throw him in the mix and see what happens.”
That means he’ll compete with Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Simms during training camp, but probably not for the starting job.
Not yet, anyway.
Smith will enter camp in July getting the first-team snaps and Fitzpatrick working with the second team. So, that likely leaves Petty to duke it out with Simms for the No. 3 job _ and that’s OK with the rookie.
“For me, it’s just to be the best quarterback I can every day, learn as much as I can, retain as much as I can every day and then be a good teammate and enjoy the process,” Petty said. “This is an unbelievable position I get to be in. I get to live out my dream that I’ve had since I was 6, so being here is awesome.”
Make no mistake, though. Petty is far from satisfied.
“Hopefully one day, you guys will stop talking about me as being a `system quarterback,”’ Petty said. “Right now, I have to pay my dues. I’m excited about that. I’m ready for that challenge.”
Smith’s hold on the starting job is tenuous, and Fitzpatrick is 32 and coming off a broken leg. So, Petty could make his own case to be the franchise quarterback at some point in the near future.
There’s plenty of work to do before then, of course. Learning Chan Gailey’s offense is at the top of the list, as well as working under center _ something he rarely did in Baylor’s no-huddle, up-tempo system _ being able to read defenses and run a huddle.
That all played into Petty being regarded as one of the draft’s most polarizing quarterbacks, with opinions all across the board on his pro potential.
“Hey, if they’re not talking about you,” Petty said, “that’s when I need to be worried.”
Petty acknowledged that he took very few snaps in college not in the shotgun formation, but said he spent his spring break each of the past three years working in California with George Whitfield Jr.
The former Tiffin University quarterback set up a passing academy in San Diego and has trained the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Donovan McNabb, Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel.
“I know it’s just a week being out there, but every time I went out there, I was under center,” Petty said. “So that process wasn’t hard as a transition. It’s just kind of getting back into it, but it’s nothing too foreign.”
Petty is also familiar with Jets quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo, who worked with him at the Senior Bowl. He had a crash course in Gailey’s offense when he visited the team before the draft, and knows there will be some spread-offense plays scattered throughout.
“I know who I am,” Petty said. “I know what I want to do here. All that stuff’s in the past now. It’s all about what we do here.”