Joshua Dobbs or Tyler Bray: Which former Vols QB is likely to start first in the NFL?

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 15: Joshua Dobbs
KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 15: Joshua Dobbs /

Former Volunteers quarterbacks Tyler Bray and Joshua Dobbs are moving up depth charts on NFL rosters. Which Tennessee football alumnus will start first?

Related Story: Ranking every Vols starting quarterback this century

Outside of Peyton Manning, Tennessee football quarterbacks haven’t had major success in the NFL in the past few decades. In fact, some of the results have been downright embarrassing when it comes to former Vols.

Heath Shuler, who was right before Manning, is widely regarded a major NFL bust. Tee Martin, who was right after Manning, is a member of “The Brady 6” (the six quarterbacks taken ahead of Tom Brady in the 2000 NFL Draft).

But this year, things could be different.

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The Vols have three guys on NFL rosters in Matt Simms, Tyler Bray and Joshua Dobbs. Two of them, Bray and Dobbs, are competing to be the No. 2 quarterback on their rosters.

As a result, it’s only a matter of time before one of them starts. The question is, who will it be?

Tennessee football fans are likely going to root for Dobbs much harder than they root for Bray. Dobbs helped restore the program to prominence and always had a great attitude about things.

Meanwhile, Bray, who may have had the most special arm of anybody ever to come through Knoxville, never had a winning season with Tennessee and was notorious for bad intangibles. Those intangibles are likely why he doesn’t start now in the NFL.

So if we’re going by attitude and leadership qualities, the edge goes to Dobbs in a big way.

But who’s on the more favorable roster?

Playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dobbs is competing with Landry Jones, a career backup, as a rookie to be the No. 2 guy to Ben Roethlisberger, who is very injury prone and is nearing the end of his career.

That’s why we said in a post back in April that Pittsburgh was a perfect landing spot for him.

With Jones hurt, Dobbs could actually start against the New York Giants in the Steelers’ preseason game Friday, according to a report from Bryan DeArdo on 247Sports.

Meanwhile, Bray is competing with Patrick Mahomes for the No. 2 spot to Alex Smith on the Kansas City Chiefs’ roster. Mahomes was Kansas City’s first round pick, so Andy Reid is clearly planning on investing his franchise’s future after Smith in him, not Bray.

However, Bray does have four years of experience already in the NFL. And Bray is playing behind a quarterback in Smith who could also get hurt. And Smith is much more likely to be benched if he’s healthy than Roethlisberger.

Oh, and Mahomes, without NFL experience, is not as ready and proven as a backup as Jones is in Pittsburgh.

All of those things make Bray the No. 2 guy in Kansas City as of right now.

So taking that into account we would say that the roster is more favorable to Bray, albeit slightly. When Jones gets fully healthy, he’ll still likely have the No. 2 spot in Pittsburgh.

The next factor to take into account is experience. And, well, Bray has that, as we already mentioned, with four years under his belt.

Finally, what about abilities?

Dobbs is more mobile and can do more things. But Bray has the better arm. There’s just no way around that. They’re about the same when it comes to consistent accuracy, so we’ll give the edge to Bray just because of his rare arm strength.

In these four factors of who starts first, Dobbs and Bray each have a clear advantage in one category. But Bray then has a very slight edge in two others.

And one of them is the roster situation, which is the most important when determining who starts first.

As a result, we predict Bray will be the first guy to start between him and Dobbs.

Next: Tennessee football 2017 depth chart projections

However, Dobbs’s NFL future is brighter. He has the work ethic and intangibles that Bray never had, and he also clearly has the intelligence. So while Bray may see the field first, which he should given the fact that he’s been in the league for four years, Dobbs is the guy who will have the better career. Don’t forget, there’s always Matt Simms’s career too.