NFL Draft QB prospect Kyle Lauletta has ‘all the intangibles,’ coach says
The Richmond Spiders played the likes of Sam Houston State, Colgate, Towson and Villanova last year — not exactly college football stalwarts.
Yet, the competition hasn’t weighed down the draft prospects of their quarterback, Kyle Lauletta.
After completing 65 percent of his passes for 3,737 yards while throwing 28 touchdowns to 12 picks in 2017, then taking home Senior Bowl MVP honors, Lauletta appears to be building his stock through the draft evaluation process.
Richmond head coach Russ Huesman told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that he saw a natural ability in Lauletta since the quarterback arrived at school.
“A leader, a competitor, a guy that loves football. All the intangibles, what you want a quarterback to look like, play like, lead like,” Huesman said Wednesday. “Kyle just kind of commanded the football team in a way that was never belligerent to his players. He never made excuses.
“He’d be sitting at the wide receivers table with them and going over things with them. He was always trying to be as good as he could himself, but he was always bringing people with him.”
Lauletta could be a realistic draft option for the quarterback-needy Arizona Cardinals, who in the first round might not feel like reaching on a the fourth, fifth or sixth quarterback off the board at No. 15 overall.
Arizona also has the 47th, 79th and 97th overall picks, right in the range of where analysts see Lauletta getting drafted.
The Cardinals are expected to bring Lauletta in for a visit prior to the draft, reported 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has the New England Patriots picking Lauletta in the second round (63rd overall), while colleague Todd McShay has New England taking him in the third round (95th overall).
Operating under four different offensive coordinators in four years, Richmond spent most of Lauletta’s career in a shotgun, no-huddle offense with plays called in from the sidelines.
“We were always a quarterback run, power-read (offense) until last year,” Huesman said. “We got away from that and went to more one-back run stuff and let him throw the ball around.”
Huesman estimated that in his offense, Lauletta had to read the entire field about 40 percent of the time. The other times, he made decisions on where to throw pre-snap.
The Spiders were aggressive down the field, and Lauletta flashed skill on deep balls despite NFL scouts knocking the 6-foot-3, 215-pound quarterback’s arm strength.
“He’s got a good enough arm,” Huesman said. “It’s not a rocket and it’s not the laser throws. I’ll tell you what, he throws a pretty ball. It spins, it’s catchable.”
It showed in highlight reels throughout the season and in the Senior Bowl, when Lauletta completed 8-of-12 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard touchdown pass against a broken coverage. His South team beat a North team led by high-profile quarterback prospects Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma and Josh Allen of Wyoming, 45-16.
Huesman doesn’t know how Lauletta compares to NFL quarterbacks or the other prospects in the draft.
But he does believe Lauletta has the tools to succeed as a pro.
“I’ve never been in the NFL. I know they’re all good,” Huesman told Doug & Wolf. “But I can say one thing: When I got here, Kyle just looked like a quarterback to me. I’ve been doing this a long time and seen guys come and go. Kyle just had that presence about him. Everything from footwork to how he spins the ball, he looked like a quarterback from Day 1.
“He’s a bright, bright guy. I know it’s different: There’s book smarts, there’s street smarts, there’s football smarts. I think he’s got all of that. A student in the classroom, a student of the game.”