Kyle Lauletta’s draft stock continues to rise. What round will he hear his name called?
The Sports Quotient’s annual Draft Preview series returns! Over the course of the eight weeks leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, we will take a look at the top NFL prospects at each position. This week, we dive into the quarterback position. Today, we look at Kyle Lauletta from the University of Richmond.
Lauletta hails from a football family, as his father, Joe (quarterback), and uncle, Lex (punter), both played at Navy in the 1980s, while his brother, Trey, was a center at Bucknell.
Lauletta attended the east campus of Downingtown High School in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and ultimately decided to play college ball at Richmond, where he would eventually develop into one of the nation’s most efficient passers.
Playing sparingly as a freshman, Lauletta appeared in just three games; however, he made the most of his limited playing time, completing 76.2 % (16/21) of his passes, en route to 108 passing yards and two touchdowns. After earning the starting job prior to his sophomore season, Lauletta capitalized on the opportunity and delivered a strong stat line. He concluded the season with 3,598 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions, while maintaining a 61.6 completion percentage.
Although his numbers in the passing yards department dipped a bit in his junior year (down to 3,022 from 3,598), Lauletta dramatically cut down on his interceptions, throwing just eight (compared to 15 a year before). Moreover, he upped his touchdowns to 24, and managed to increase his completion percentage to 63.0%. Unfortunately, his productive season was cut short to just 11 games, as a result of a torn ACL.
Nevertheless, he bounced back to have his best statistical season of his four-year collegiate career. During his senior year campaign, Lauletta completed nearly 65% (64.9) of his passes for 3,737 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. His dominant level of play earned him an invitation to the 2018 Senior Bowl, where he threw for 198 yards and three touchdowns and was named the game’s MVP.
Lauletta is a pure gunslinger and displays a natural ability to deliver the ball on target, both from inside the pocket and on the run. He does an exceptional job of buying time in the pocket while route combinations develop and doesn’t opt for dump off passes too quickly. Furthermore, Lauletta possesses superb footwork, allowing him to be successful in play-action setups.
In addition, Lauletta is excellent in using his eyes to look off linebackers/safeties and forcing them out of position. While he doesn’t have elite speed (4.81 40-yard dash), the ex-Richmond signal-caller is very capable as a passer on the move. Lauletta also has the necessary experience from shotgun, pistol, and singleback formations from his time in college.
.@SpiderFootball @kylelauletta showed up big time in Mobile. Never hurts when you get named the Most Outstanding Player at an All-Star game. Sneaky quick release catches your eye #BaldyBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/2BoUM83JRR— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) March 21, 2018
Lauletta’s major concern heading into the draft is his arm strength; although there’s not many throws he can’t make, he lacks the powerful arm that’s desired at the quarterback position in the NFL. Lauletta often puts too much air on deep throws, which will allow for safeties at the next level to track them down.
Furthermore, as mentioned before, Lauletta’s open-field speed is sub-par, which may limit his scrambling ability in the NFL. He also struggled against pressure at times in college, often ducking his head and looking to escape prematurely. Should he want to be a full-time starter at the next level, Lauletta will need to elevate his play in these areas.
Lauletta might be the purest passer in this draft class and could be a sneaky dark horse pick for any team. Like in college, he’s not likely to begin his NFL career as a starter; however, his pinpoint accuracy as a passer is surely intriguing for scouts and head coaches. Consequently, Lauletta can easily develop into an all-around, successful quarterback at the next level.
Lauletta isn’t going to be a hot commodity early in the first couple rounds, but he could be an attractive option in the fourth or fifth round, or even as early as the third. Look for teams in need of quarterback depth to draft him as a serviceable backup. Such teams include the New England Patriots or Miami Dolphins, with whom he could develop behind the likes of Tom Brady or Ryan Tannehill.
Edited by Jazmyn Brown.
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