QB Called ‘Tom Brady’s Eventual Successor’ Drafted by Pittsburgh in USFL

Getty Kyle Lauletta

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

Things don’t always go as planned as Brady wound up leaving the Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ahead of 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-distinguished NFL run, but he was drafted in the first round by the USFL’s Pittsburgh Maulers on February 22.

Kyle Lauletta Seemed Like a Good Fit for the Patriots in 2018

Back in 2018, Lauletta seemed to have all of the skills and traits the Patriots are know to covet in signal callers. Coming out of Richmond, one analyst called him the “potential successor to Tom Brady.”

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

The Richmond alum, who is 26 years old, enjoyed a standout career at Richmond where he threw for 10,465 yards, 73 TDs and 35 interceptions.

Pats Pulpit’s Evan Lazar made an excellent case for the Patriots to draft Lauletta.

“The Patriots were in the middle of a playoff run when the Kyle Lauletta hype train began in New England last January,” Lazar wrote. “Lauletta’s fast processing skills, accuracy, and feel for the game make him a viable option to be Tom Brady’s eventual successor. And his weaknesses as a quarterback are similar to what scouts said about both Brady and former Patriots’ backup Jimmy Garoppolo (i.e., arm strength).”

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

Lauletta’s NFL Career Was Rocky On and Off the Field

After Lauletta was snatched up by the Giants with the 108th pick overall, the Patriots had several selections in the 2018 NFL Draft, including taking QB Danny Etling in the seventh round. Overall, it wasn’t a great 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 away 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 hasn’t been spectacular, but he has 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 picked by the Giants.

Lauletta’s tenure with the Giants was also stained by an arrest in 2018. Lauletta was charged with eluding police, obstructing administration of law and resisting arrest, reckless driving, disregarding an officer’s directions, improper turn in a marked traffic lane and failure to remain in a marked lane. It was his second reckless driving charge in 2 years.

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

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

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