Football is back. Well, the United States Football League is getting underway. The new USFL league kicked things off with the draft on Tuesday, February 23.
The USFL Draft is as weird as it gets, although it makes for a bit of a fun time. Day One of the draft came and went, and quite a few notable names were selected in the inaugural year of the USFL — which has no affiliation with the old school USFL despite sharing a name.
Let’s examine a few notable names that were called during the USFL Draft.
Kyle Lauletta, QB
With the seventh overall pick, the Pittsburgh Maulers selected Kyle Lauletta. Remember this name?
He was drafted by the New York Giants in 2018 and had high hopes after a stellar career at Richmond. He threw for 73 touchdowns in his college career but unfortunately didn’t find any success in the NFL.
Lauletta was only with the Giants in 2018, then took a tour of the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, and Jacksonville Jaguars — with the Browns again in 2021. Now, he gets a fresh start and perhaps a chance to show what he still has in the tank as the starter for the Maulers in the USFL.
Shea Patterson, QB
The first choice of the USFL Draft was Shea Patterson, who joins the Michigan Panthers led by head coach Jeff Fisher. Yes, the same Jeff Fisher from the NFL.
Patterson is known for his career at Michigan, but he had a cup of coffee in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs. Patterson then headed to Canada and spent time with the BC Lions and Montreal Allouettes before moving over to the USFL, where he hopes to find more success.
Patterson had Michigan thriving, but the arm strength never translated to the NFL. Perhaps the USFL is a different story for him. The Panthers must have seen something to select him as the No. 1 overall pick. Plus, a return to Michigan for Patterson is pretty cool.
Jordan Ta’amu, QB
Jordan Ta’amu is another player who spent time with the Chiefs. Ta’amu has been around the NFL with five different teams and was in the XFL with the St. Louis Battlehawks before that league broke up.
Ta’amu has plenty of potential but just never was able to get much of an opportunity. Could this be his break? Todd Haley is the head coach of the Tampa Bay Bandits, and they selected former Pittsburgh Steelers WR Eli Rogers on Day Two of the USFL Draft.
Ta’amu played on the same team with A.J. Brown at Ole Miss, and he then found success in the XFL. The talent is there, and perhaps the Bandits can revitalize his career.
Ta’amu is one of the most intriguing names in the new USFL.
Davin Bellamy, EDGE/DE
The first defensive player taken was former Georgia Bulldogs linebacker, Davin Bellamy. Bellamy is also the only non-QB on this list.
Bellamy had a nice career at Georgia and had 1.5 sacks against Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in 2018.
Bellamy then moved around the NFL quite a bit, making a stop with each of the following teams: Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers, and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Bellamy now joins the New Orleans Breakers, and the talent is clear. He can get after the quarterback, and with the neverending need for pass rushers at the NFL level, perhaps Bellamy impresses some counts if he plays well in the USFL.
Paxton Lynch, QB
Good old Paxton Lynch. Who doesn’t remember him?
With the final pick of Day One, the Panthers selected Lynch and teamed him up with Patterson.
Lynch was a force in college at Memphis and was drafted by the Denver Broncos. But Lynch fizzled out quicker than an expired soda can and was out of the league in 2018. Then he went to the Seattle Seahawks in 2019 and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the same season.
Lynch was most recently with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who released him on Wednesday after the Panthers drafted him.
Lynch’s career has been a trainwreck, but the USFL might be the perfect spot for him. No pressure, not even a starting job, and who knows.
The Broncos saw something in him coming out of college, as did a lot of other teams. Maybe Lynch can make some noise with the Panthers.
Draft Info Courtesy of Fox Sports
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