Day 1 of the inaugural 2022 USFL Draft concluded Tuesday night in Birmingham, Alabama, with quarterbacks going with each of the first eight picks in Round 1.
The Jeff Fisher coached Michigan Panthers held the first overall pick after winning last Thursday’s draft lottery, and went with former Michigan standout Shea Patterson. OutKick 360’s Jonathan Hutton was in attendance for the draft and caught up with the No. 1 overall pick, as well as the other quarterbacks selected in Round 1.
USFL's Number One Pick, Shea Patterson, joins Jonathan Hutton to talk staying in state of Michigan with the Michigan Panthers! @USFL @USFLPanthers @SheaPatterson_1 @UMichFootball pic.twitter.com/FItY5aL0bj— OutKick (@Outkick) February 23, 2022
“I’m so excited, just can’t wait to get back out there and do what I love for the great state of Michigan,” Patterson said.
Patterson indeed doesn’t have to go far, returning to the same place where he led the Wolverines to a 19-7 record in 2018-19. Transferring from Ole Miss ahead of the 2018 season, Patterson ended his senior year as just the third Michigan quarterback to pass for over 3,000 yards in a single season.
Patterson completed his Michigan tenure throwing for 5,661 yards, 45 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on 60.1% passing. He added an additional seven scores on the ground.
Patterson knows what it’s like to play for a high-level coach, having played under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. He’ll do the same with the Panthers under Fisher, a 22-year head coaching veteran of the NFL.
“I can’t wait to meet with coach [Fisher] and go over the playbook,” Patterson said. “… Just to get to be able to work with him — he’s had so much experience in the NFL and all that, so, yeah, I can’t wait.”
The Tampa Bay Bandits followed up the Panthers’ historic selection by grabbing former Ole Miss and St. Louis BattleHawks gunslinger Jordan Ta’amu. Ta’amu lit up the SEC for two seasons (2017-18), throwing for 5,600 yards, 30 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on 64.5% passing.
He hopes to light up the USFL in year one under head coach Todd Haley, who put together some prolific offenses of his own as offensive coordinator for the Steelers from 2012-17.
“I’m excited to throw the ball, run the ball, do whatever it takes to win,” Ta’amu said. “Excited to build this team from today, so, ready to go out there and play.”
The Philadelphia Stars and head coach Bart Andrus went with perhaps Round 1’s biggest unknown to casual football fans, yet a highly-productive collegiate quarterback in Bryan Scott. Scott played college ball at relatively unknown Division III program Occidental College.
Scott earned the moniker as the “Aaron Rodgers of Division III,” passing for 9,073 yards and 77 touchdowns in 33 games. After brief stints in the CFL and NFL, Scott played in The Spring League in 2020, winning the championship and league MVP with the Generals.
Scott said he’s looking forward to the opportunity, while being mindful of the responsibility that comes with being a professional quarterback.
“It’s an extremely great opportunity and all the quarterbacks have a responsibility here to not only play good football, but also just be great people off the field,” Scott said. “… In the first USFL, there’s some legends in there: Doug Flutie, Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker. We have big shoes to fill.”
Up next were the New Jersey Generals who selected QB Ben Holmes with the fourth overall pick. Holmes starred at Tarleton State where he complied a school-best 23-3 record as a starter.
4th Overall Pick in the USFL Draft, Ben Holmes, talks about opportunity to work with @USFLGenerals, and the journey from Tarleton State! @USFL @TarletonState @Outkick360 @HuttonOutkick pic.twitter.com/co9Yyh82zt— OutKick (@Outkick) February 23, 2022
“Great opportunity for me, great opportunity for all these guys,” Holmes told OutKick’s Jonathan Hutton moments after being drafted. “It’s going to be really exciting and I can’t wait to start.”
Holmes’ selection was followed by the Houston Gamblers’ pick of former Northwestern signal caller Clayton Thorson. He’s a former draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles who threw for more than 10,700 yards as a college starter, tossing 61 touchdowns.
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity.” Thorson said following his selection. “This league is something that I think people want.”
Next up were the Birmingham Stallions who snagged Alex McGough, formerly a quarterback at Florida International. While at FIU, McGough became the Panthers’ all-time leading passer in both yardage (9,091) and touchdowns (65).
“I just want to win as much as I can,” McGough said after being selected. “I want to win this whole thing and I’m confident we can get it done.”
The Pittsburgh Maulers selected Kyle Lauletta with the seventh pick in Round 1, known for his time at Richmond. Lauletta threw for 10,465 yards and 73 touchdowns with the Spiders and has spent time with five NFL organizations.
With the 7th pick, it looks like @kylelauletta joins @USFLMaulers ahead of the USFL Kickoff April 16. @HuttonOutkick of @Outkick360 caught up with Kyle at last night’s draft. pic.twitter.com/gxhIkRCKV4— OutKick (@Outkick) February 23, 2022
“This is a great opportunity to get some reps and be with a team again and be the leader of a team,” Lauletta said. “… Excited just to go out there and showcase my talents with a bunch of other hungry guys that are looking to prove themselves the same way that I am.”
The New Orleans Breakers closed out Round 1 with the selection of former Northern Colorado quarterback Kyle Sloter. Sloter passed for 2,656 yards and 29 touchdowns with the Bears and has spent time with six NFL organizations.
.@KyleSloter landed right where he wanted to be with the @USFLBreakers as the 8th pick of the USFL Draft. @HuttonOutkick of @Outkick360 got his reaction last night. @USFLBandits with the 2nd pick in the USFL Draft! @USFL @OleMiss pic.twitter.com/0utZdHDREW— OutKick (@Outkick) February 23, 20220
“I feel like I can bring a lot of experience to our team and just having been around so many great minds and so many great quarterbacks, kinda experiencing all the different things the NFL has to offer,” Sloter said. “I’m really excited to come here and get to work.”
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