USFL Draft First Round Recap: The quarterbacks that will carry each team

The USFL Draft kicked off the largest event of the league comeback season so far. Last night coaches and players gathered in Birmingham, Alabama for the league’s first official event in 36 years.

Of course, the most important part of the upstart league’s player pool took center stage as all eight teams chose quarterbacks with their first-round pick as part of the USFL Draft’s unique draft format. With that being said let’s take a look at the first eight quarterbacks selected as these gunslingers will be the face of their teams and therefore the league.

1st Overall: Michigan Panthers: Shea Patterson, Michigan

Patterson was an exciting player to watch for the Wolverines in the Big Ten.  After two seasons at Ole Miss, Patterson transferred up north and had two outstanding seasons at Michigan. Following his time in Ann Arbor, Patterson played in the spring league and the CFL. Now he looks to be the face of the USFL’s most popular team, in an area he knows well.

2nd Overall: Tampa Bay Bandits: Jordan Ta’amu, Ole Miss

Ta’amu made a name for himself in 2020 as one of the XFL’s best quarterbacks. The Ole Miss product spent 2021 bouncing between the practice squad and active roster for different NFL teams. With a great USFL season, the 24-year-old could position himself as a full-time NFL passer, just like former opponent PJ Walker did last season.

3rd Overall: Philadelphia Stars: Bryan Scott, Occidental

Scott played for Stars head coach Bart Andrus in The Spring League, TSL, last summer, so this was a pick many saw coming. The 26-year-old threw for 9,073 yards and 77 touchdowns in the Division III California program. Scott has been a mainstay in TSL playing there for the 2018, 2020, and 2021 seasons.

4th Overall: New Jersey Generals: Ben Holmes, Tarleton State

Holmes had two phenomenal seasons with the Texans throwing for 5,997 yards and 62 touchdowns. The signal-caller led the Texans to back-to-back Lone Star Conference Championships and undefeated regular seasons. In 2018, he guided Tarleton to new heights in the Super Region IV Finals. He also played for the Arizona Rattlers in the Arena league.

5th Overall: Houston Gamblers: Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

The 6’4 220-pound 26-year old was a fifth-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles back in 2018. Northwestern’s leading passer bounced between the Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants from 2018-2021. Thorson will lead a historic Gamblers franchise in their comeback season.

6th Overall: Birmingham Stallions: Alex McGough, Florida International

Mcgough was a four-year starter for the Panthers throwing for 9,091 yards and 65 touchdowns during his career. After his excellent college career, the dual threat passers bounced around the NFL playing for the Houston Texas, Seattle Seahawks, and Jacksonville Jaguars. 

7th Overall: Pittsburgh Maulers: Kyle Lauletta, Richmond

Lauletta is the former 2018 fourth round pick of the New York Giants. However, the Richmond Spiders standout has experienced a short and well-traveled NFL career as of late playing for five teams in four years. The Maulers new passer has played with Eli Manning and even saw the field in a regular season game.

8th Overall: New Orleans Breakers: Kyle Sloter, Northern Colorado

The 6’5 220-pound specimen spent his final two college seasons at Northern Colorado, throwing for 29 touchdowns and 2,656 yards. Sloter is a speedy dual threat passer who ran a 4.6 40-yard dash. His speed, size, and big arm caught the attention of NFL coaches as he spent time with the Vikings, Broncos, Cardinals, Lions, Bears, and Raiders.

League officials, coaches, and fans hope that quarterback play won’t hold back a league looking to make a splash in its return. These eight young players have a chance to reignite their pro careers in the USFL. They will be playing on national television all spring long and could go right from staring in the USFL to earning another chance in the NFL.

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football