On Tuesday February 22, the Pittsburgh Maulers made former New York Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta the team’s first pick in the 2022 USFL Draft, taking him No. 7 overall. Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw announced the selection—and struggled to pronounce the Exton, Pa. native’s last name, attempting to say la-LET-uh several times before whispering, “I hope I got that right.”
Bradshaw’s fumbled delivery prompted one Twitter user to reply: “Cmon Terry, time to put away the whiskey for the night,” making reference to the fact that Bradshaw markets his own brand of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Kyle Lauletta Was Drafted by the New York Giants Four Years Ago
As for Lauletta, the 26-year-old is a former fourth-round pick of the New York Giants, selected No. 108 overall out of Richmond in 2018. He appeared in two games for the Giants during his rookie year but failed to complete a pass—at least not to his own team. He went 0-for-5 with one interception and had one rushing attempt for -2 yards.
Between 2019-21, Lauletta spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, but did not appear in a regular-season game.
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The Maulers Selected 12 Players on Day 1 of the USFL Draft
The Maulers went on to add 11 more players on Tuesday, beginning with second-round defensive end Carlo Kemp, who played in 46 games for Michigan between 2016-20. In round three the Maulers added edge rusher Nasir Player of East Tennessee State and in round four the team grabbed defensive end Eric Assoua, who played at Western Michigan between 2015-18.
In rounds five through seven the Maulers got three offensive tackles: Chidi Okeke (Tennessee State); Isaiah Battle (Clemson); and Charles Baldwin (Youngstown State).
In rounds eight through 11 the Maulers added four cornerbacks: Ajene Harris (USC); Terrell Bonds (Tennessee State); Prince Robinson (Tarleton State) and Jaylon McClain-Sapp (Marshall).
In the twelfth round, the Maulers took former San Jose State quarterback Josh Love, who went off the board six picks before the Michigan Panthers took former Denver Broncos first-round pick Paxton Lynch, who was released by the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders the day before the USFL Draft, suggesting that he might get selected by one of the league’s new teams.
In 2019, Lynch spent time on the Steelers’ practice squad before being signed to the active roster, where he sat behind backup Mason Rudolph and third-stringer Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges, who handled the quarterback duties while starter Ben Roethlisberger was out of the lineup with a season-ending elbow injury.
Lynch had another opportunity to make an impression in Steelers training camp in 2020, but was released when he failed to win the third-string quarterback job.
The Maulers Are Coached by a Former Pittsburgh Steelers Assistant
The Maulers are led by former Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson, 60, who was named Pittsburgh’s head coach on January 20, 2022. Wilson is one of two former Steelers assistants in charge of a USFL team, the other being former offensive coordinator Todd Haley, 54, who is head coach of the Tampa Bay Bandits.
The Maulers are one of eight teams in the USFL, all of whom will open their training camps on March 21, with the season getting underway on April 16.
Each team will play a 10-game schedule. The top two teams in each division will play a postseason game for the right to compete for the league championship.
The league’s 35-round draft continues on February 23.
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