Former Tom Brady potential heir drafted by USFL


Kyle Lauletta

Before Mac Jones and after Jimmy Garoppolo, there was another young quarterback some pointed to as Tom Brady’s potential heir with the New England Patriots and that was Richmond Spiders product Kyle Lauletta.

Things don’t always go to plan as Brady ended up leaving the Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the 2020 season, and the Patriots signed Cam Newton to replace him before drafting Mac Jones in 2021. Lauletta had a short and less than NFL distinguished run, but he was drafted in the first round by the Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL on February 22.

Kyle Lauletta seemed like a good fit for the Patriots in 2018

In 2018, Lauletta seemed to have all the skills and traits the Patriots are known to covet in callers. Coming out of Richmond, an analyst called him “a potential successor to Tom Brady”.

Lauletta was drafted by the New York Giants in 2018 in the fourth round. His NFL career consisted of 5 incomplete passes that season, and he hasn’t played in the league since. However, Lauletta has a second chance to make an impact as a professional quarterback.

The 26-year-old Richmond veteran had a stellar career in Richmond where he threw for 10,465 yards, 73 touchdowns and 35 interceptions.

Evan Lazar from Pats Pulpit made a great record for the Patriots to take over Lauletta.

“The Patriots were in the middle of a playoff series when the Kyle Lauletta hype train started in New England last January,” Lazar wrote. “Lauletta’s quick handling abilities, accuracy and game savvy make him a viable option to be Tom Brady’s eventual successor. And his weaknesses as a quarterback are similar to what scouts have told about Brady and former Patriots replacement Jimmy Garoppolo (i.e. arm strength).

Phil A. Perry of Patriots Talk the podcast gushed about the Patriots’ potential connection with Lauletta.

Lauletta’s NFL career has been rocky on and off the field

After Lauletta was snatched by the Giants with the 108th overall pick, the Patriots had multiple selections in the 2018 NFL Draft, including taking QB Danny Etling in the seventh round. Overall, it wasn’t a good draft for the Patriots.

New England took running back Sony Michel in the first round, and he was by far their most productive player. The Patriots traded him to the Los Angeles Rams this season for draft picks and he helped his new team win a Super Bowl. It was Michel’s second ring in his four-year NFL career. The Patriots also took offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn in the first round that year.

He wasn’t spectacular, but he started 33 games. The Patriots’ biggest miss was with third-round pick cornerback Duke Dawson.

He never played for New England and was traded to the Denver Broncos in 2020. He missed all of last season and was released by the Broncos in January. The Patriots took Michel, Wynn and Dawson before Lauletta was chosen by the Giants.

Lauletta’s tenure with the Giants was also marred by one arrest in 2018. Lauletta was charged with evading police, obstructing law enforcement and resisting arrest, reckless driving, ignoring an officer’s instructions, turned into a marked traffic lane and not to stay in a marked lane. It was his second reckless driving charge in 2 years.

Would Lauletta’s career have been different had he landed with the Patriots? It’s hard to say. The Patriots took Jarrett Stidham the following year in the fourth round, and he struggled hard to find his way onto the field. Stidham looks like a player who could have played his last down with the Patriots. It’s not crazy to think Lauletta could have had a similar tenure considering he failed to make his mark with the Giants or any of the other practice teams he landed with the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Perhaps the second run of the USFL will be the key to Lauletta’s success in his professional redux.

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