USFL Quarterback Rankings: All the QBs drafted from Shea Patterson to Paxton Lynch and more

In true crowd-pleasing fashion, the USFL kicked off its draft with a quarterback only round, making sure all eight of its teams had a chance to select the passer they liked to lead them into the season. In the position-by-position Draft, teams selected quarterbacks in the first and 12th round of the draft, giving every squad at least two options under center.

With that being said let’s rank the USFL’s quarterback draft class from best to worst.

1: Jordan Ta’amu – Tampa Bay Bandits

It may be spring football nostalgia but former StLouis Battlehawks passer Ta’amu was one of the most exciting players in the XFL. The Ole Miss product threw for 1,050 yards and five touchdowns while adding another 217 yards and one score on the ground in the XFL’s five games. Since his time in the XFL, the 24-year-old has bounced around on the practice squads of the Kansas City ChiefsWashington Football TeamCarolina Panthers, and Detroit Lions. Interestingly enough, Ta’amu beat out the USFL Draft’s top pick, Shea Patterson, for the final quarterback spot on the Kansas Chiefs this last fall. Even so, Ta’amu was chosen one pick after him, on the USFL’s draft night.

2. Kyle Sloter – New Orleans Breakers

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. Sloter has a sky-high ceiling and the athleticism to improve in what could be a wild league.

3. Shea Patterson – Michigan Panthers

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. Patterson was beat out by Jordan Ta’mu for a roster spot and was the fourth string quarterback in Canada since his glory days at Michigan. Now he looks to be the face of the USFL’s most popular team, in an area he knows well.

4. Bryan Scott – Philadelphia Stars

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. The former DIII standout will have all the pices to prove himself at the pro level with this opportunity.

5. Alex McGough- Birmingham Stallions:

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. 

6. Kyle Lauletta – Pittsburgh Maulers

Lauletta had a lot of hype going into the 2018 NFL draft after a stellar career at Richmond. He was chosen by the New York Giants in the fourth round and was out of New York just one year later. He did throw five passes in his career going 0-5 with one interception. Pittsburgh fans are hoping to get the quarterback NFL scouts fell in love with back in 2018.

7. Ben Holmes – New Jersey Generals

Holmes had two phenomenal seasons with the Tarleton State 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.

8. Clayton Thorson – Houston Gamblers

The 6’4″, 220-pound 26-year-old was a fifth-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles back in 2018. During his college days the quarterback didn’t quite play as consistently as coaches wanted as turnovers plagued him. Northwestern’s leading passer bounced between the EaglesCowboys, and Giants from 2018 to 2021. Thorson will lead a historic Gamblers franchise in their comeback season.

9. J’Mar Smith – Birmingham Stallions

Smith played four seasons for Stallions head coach Skip Holtz at Louisiana Tech. Smith was a four-year starter who improved every season, finishing his career with 51 touchdown passes and 9,523 yards. Smith was named 2019 C-USA player of the year his senior season. His experience in Holtz’s system could give him a big leg up in a league that’s been thrown together quickly.

10. Paxton Lynch – Michigan Panthers

The former NFL first round draft pick was selected in the 12th round of the USFL Draft. Since being selected 26th overall by the Denver Broncos back in 2016 Lynch has bounced around the NFL, spent one year in the CFL, and now joins the USFL.  When Lynch was in the NFL, his numbers weren’t that bad; he threw four touchdowns against four interceptions. His NFL career passer rating is 76.7, which would’ve placed him 29th in this year’s NFL.

11. Deandre Johnson – New Jersey Generals

Johnson is a former Florida State quarterback who left starred on Netflix’s “Last Chance U” after his dismissal from the Seminoles team following a battery charge. Since being on the Netflix show, Johnson has played at Florida AtlanticTexas Southern, and in The Spring League.

12. Kenji Bahar – Houston Gamblers

Bahar spent some time with the Baltimore Ravens after four great seasons at Monmouth. Bahar is an athletic passer who threw for 70 touchdowns in four seasons and was his conference’s player of the year twice. In a league short on quality offensive linemen, Bahar’s quick feet could come in handy.

13. Josh Smith – New Orleans Breakers

Smith is a young quarterback prospect at only 24-years old. The 6’3″ passer played at Baylor and Tulsa during his college career. His senior year he threw for 1,947 yards and 13 touchdowns. Smith will have to make quick decisions as he is not as mobile as his quarterback counter parts.

14. Case Cookus – Philadelphia Stars

Cookus has played on five pro teams in two different countries since leaving Northern Arizona University. Back in his college days, Cookus was putting up monster numbers, throwing for 4,095 yards and 31 touchdowns his senior year. The 6’4″ signal caller threw for 105 touchdowns and over 12,000 yards for the Lumberjacks.

15. Josh Love – Pittsburgh Maulers

Love played five years at San Jose State starting his junior and senior seasons. His final year with the Spartans the 6’2 passer threw for 3,923 yards and 22 touchdowns. Love went to training camp with the LA Rams after college and spent one week on the Carolina Panthers practice squad last season.

16. Brady White – Tampa Bay Bandits

White is a former high school All-American who was nominated as high school player of the year back in 2014. White played for Arizona State for two seasons and didn’t  see much playing time. White then transferred to Memphis and put up 3380 passing yards and 31 touchdowns during the 2020 season.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the league add a few more quarterbacks to this list as the season creeps closer. It’s worth noting that several would-be USFL quarterbacks have opted to play elsewhere instead of trying their luck in the upstart league. Other quarterbacks such as Luis Perez and Brandon Silvers of the XFL may be picked up in the USFL’s supplemental draft on March 10th.

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