NFL

Jeff Tuel: Meet the Buffalo Bills Quarterback Who May Become First True Undrafted Rookie to Start Season Opener Since 1960

Jeff Tuel

With Kevin Kolb’s concussion issues, and E.J. Manuel’s knee injury that will keep him out of the final preseason game and has him questionable for the opener, the starting duties for at least one week could fall to Jeff Tuel.

Who?

Jeff Tuel (@qb10jvt) is an undrafted free agent rookie who played at Washington State. Here is a National Football Post summary of a scouting report:

Tuel throws a floating football that seems to stay in the air far too long. He doesn’t handle pressure very well and will make poor decisions when pressured. Given that he has little arm talent, doesn’t have great escape-ability and tends to make poor decisions, Tuel is not a player that should be drafted. Tuel should be a priority free agent in the 2013 NFL draft.

Tuel played his final year at Washington State with head coach Mike Leach, so hey, who says Leach cannot produce guys that can start in the NFL? Tuel struggled behind a bad offensive line, and split time at QB, averaging 6.3 yards per attempt. According to Bruce Feldman, he was sacked 119 times in college, and threw 864 passes. Ouch.

If Tuel does make the start, he will be the first “true” straight out of college undrafted rookie to start an opening game since at least 1960. (h/t: @fbgchase) Other undrafted guys technically qualifying as NFL rookies because they were either in the CFL or another league (see Warren Moon, Dieter Brock) or were in a camp with another team in previous years (see Jim Zorn) started a season opener.

The four lowest drafted guys to start an opener as a rookie, immediately after being drafted out of college,  since 1960 are Dan Darragh (Buffalo, 1968, 336th overall), Jeff Komlo (Detroit, 1979, 231st overall), Randy Hedberg (Tampa Bay, 1977, 196th overall), and Dewey Warren (Cincinnati, 1968, 155th overall).

Those four teams all lost the opener, by an average of 9.75 points to 22.25 allowed. Expect the line, which has already been at 10, to continue to climb as the Bills open against the New England Patriots.

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