Dale McKee Column 8/12/18
The National Football League quarterback draft class of 1983 is still considered the best ever. Three future hall of famers in John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino came out of that class.
This past April’s NFL draft class has given us hope for the future since the 2004 class of Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Phillip Rivers are nearing the end of their stellar careers. This past weekend the NFL preseason began, and No. 1 draft pick Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns gave their fans hope. The former OU quarterback was 11-for-20 for 212 yards and two TDs plus a win over the Giants. The New York Jets introduced Sam Darnold, and he did not disappoint. The third overall pick was 13-of-18 passing for 96 yards and a touchdown.
Down in the Big Easy
Tom Savage and Taysom Hill are battling to be Drew Brees’ backup in New Orleans. Brees did not play in last week’s preseason opener against Jacksonville, a 24-20 Saints win, and will probably sit again this week. Savage made the start against Jacksonville and completed 10-of-14 passes for 70 yards and two scoring drives. Hill is considered an awesome athlete who played special teams for the Saints last year after being picked up on waivers from the Green Bay Packers. Hill was 8-for-9 passing for 72 yards and ran for another 52 yards in his half of work.
Kelly, Mullens sparkle
Chad Kelly is battling for the backup spot with the Denver Broncos. Kelly was 14-for-21 for 177 yards with two touchdowns in a 42-28 loss to Minnesota this past Saturday night. Kelly is a former East Mississippi Community College (Last Chance U) and Ole Miss quarterback. He is battling former Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who was a No. 1 pick of the Broncos three years ago. Kelly was the last overall selection in the 2016 draft by the Broncos. He has lost 20 pounds, changing his diet and commitment to football after battling knee and wrist injuries at Ole Miss. Case Keenum is the No. 1 quarterback in Denver.
Former USM quarterback Nick Mullens also had a stellar performance in San Francisco with a 24-20 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Mullens is also battling for the backup spot with the 49ers. He threw a seven-yard TD pass to Richie James with 18 seconds left to cap an exciting ending against the Cowboys. Mullens finished the game 11-of-13 for 141 yards. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was 3-for-3 for 39 yards and had a TD pass as he played the opening series in the same game.
Johnny Manziel is playing with Montreal in the Canadian Football League. The former 2012 Heisman Trophy winner with Texas A&M was 16-for-26 for 168 yards and ran for 36 yards on three carries in a 24-17 loss to Ottawa this past weekend in his second start. In his first start two weeks ago, he threw four first-half interceptions in a 50-11 loss.
On the college level, USM announced that senior quarterback Kwadra Griggs, the team’s returning starter, has been suspended indefinitely “pending the resolution of a student conduct matter.” Sophomore transfer Jack Abraham seems to the best option going into the home opener against Jackson State on September 1.
Oklahoma’s No. 1 quarterback makes more than Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley. Kyler Murray signed a $5 million baseball contract with the Oakland A’s this past June. He was the ninth overall pick in the Major League baseball draft. The A’s agreed that he could play college football this season. He backed up Baker Mayfield last year and is a former starting quarterback at Texas A&M.
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