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Spring Scramble: Profiling each team’s quarterback

The inaugural United States Football League draft took place on Feb. 22 and 23 with each round designated for a different position. In the first round of the draft, each team drafted a quarterback — arguably the most important roster spot. The draft included players ranging from former NCAA Football athletes (from Division I to III) to undrafted free agents (UDFA) to fourth-round picks. Here are the profiles for each team’s QB1.

#1 Michigan Panthers – Shea Patterson

Smaran Ramidi / DFP Staff

Hometown hero Shea Patterson was picked first overall by the Panthers. Patterson started at the University of Michigan in 2018 and 2019, setting the record for single-game passing touchdowns and placing seventh in all-time passing yards. Before playing under Jim Harbaugh, Patterson was slated to be redshirted at Ole Miss, but he was thrust into the starting role after the team’s starting quarterback suffered an injury. After college, Patterson has played on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad, in the Canadian Football League, and was even drafted by the MLB’s Texas Rangers. 

Strengths: Ability to extend plays with mobility, throw on the run

Weaknesses: Lack of arm strength, interceptions due to forced passes

#2 Tampa Bay Bandits – Jordan Ta’amu

Jordan Ta’amu became known through his success on the St. Louis BattleHawks during the XFL’s tenure. The native of Hawaii backed up Shea Patterson at Ole Miss before taking the reins of the team in 2018. Ta’amu threw for 19 touchdowns, rushed for 342 yards, and placed second in SEC passing yards behind star Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Professionally, Ta’amu has been on a number of NFL practice squads, including his reunion with Patterson on the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Strengths: Speed; accuracy on short to intermediate throws, leadership

Weaknesses: Moving through progressions, accuracy on deep throws

#3 Philadelphia Stars – Bryan Scott

Dubbed “The Aaron Rodgers of Division III,” Bryan Scott was nothing short of a star at Occidental College. In his sophomore year, he led the entire Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in every major passing category. At the end of his collegiate career, he set nine school records and three SCIAC records. Scott went undrafted in 2017 before dominating The Spring League with MVP and a championship in 2020. 

Strengths: Confidence in the pocket; accuracy

Weaknesses: Lack of high-level experience

#4 New Jersey Generals – Ben Holmes

Ben Holmes played wide receiver in high school before ending up under center at Nassau Community College. There, Holmes was awarded first-team all-conference and set multiple program records. He then transferred to Tarleton State, a Division II college. In his senior year, Holmes was able to prove himself with an 11-1 record and All-Lone Star Conference Second-Team. He went undrafted in 2020 and played for The Spring League’s Sea Lions. 

Strengths: Decision-making, lack of interceptions

Weaknesses: Untested in a professional environment

#5 Houston Gamblers – Clayton Thorson

The first NFL-drafted quarterback off the board was former Northwestern signal-caller Clayton Thorson. Thorson was drafted in the fifth round of the 2019 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles but was waived during final roster cuts. Prior to that, Thorson succeeded at Northwestern, leading the Wildcats to three-straight bowl games and the Big Ten West title in his senior year. He is the only Big Ten quarterback to pass for 10,000 yards and record 20 rushing touchdowns and holds program records for wins, passing yards, completions and passing touchdowns. 

Strengths: Patience to let plays develop, comfortability in a clean pocket

Weaknesses: Makes costly mistakes when under pressure

#6 Birmingham Stallions – Alex McGough

Alex McGough played his entire collegiate career at Florida International University where his 2,722 passing yards and 21 touchdowns set school records in his sophomore year. His senior season included the school record completion percentage with 65.4% and the first bowl appearance since 2011. McGough was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the seventh round of the 2018 draft but was eventually waived. He then went through a few practice squads before landing in the USFL. McGough is known for his mobility and is believed to have a large amount of upside that could be unlocked during the season with the right coaching.

Strengths: Mobility, untapped potential

Weaknesses: Trouble grasping playbooks

#7 Pittsburgh Maulers – Kyle Lauletta

Kyle Lauletta, a Pennsylvania native, was born into a football family that included a father and uncle who played for the United States Naval Academy. An injury in high school led him to the University of Richmond, where he set the program record for passing yards (10,465) and touchdowns (73). Following graduation, he won Senior Bowl MVP and was taken in the fourth round of the 2018 draft by the New York Giants. His unsatisfactory performances in relief of Eli Manning led to his waiving. 

Strengths: Accurate, able outside the pocket

Weaknesses: Forces the ball, fails to connect on deep passes

#8 New Orleans Breakers – Kyle Sloter

Kyle Sloter’s path is anything but conventional. His 3-star status led him to the University of Southern Mississippi, where he was redshirted and placed fourth on the depth chart. Sloter asked to work out with receivers where he earned a spot as a starter before transferring to Northern Colorado. There, he finally shined as a starting quarterback with the school record for yards in a game (438) and touchdowns in a season (29). Sloter signed with the Denver Broncos in 2017 as a UDFA before being cut. 

Strengths: Ability to throw deep; comfort in the pocket; accuracy

Weaknesses: Poor decision-making 

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