Had a chance to sit and talk with Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta earlier this week. Since the Senior Bowl Lauletta has seen his stock steadily rise as teams are constantly trying to find find a sleeper they can develop. I can confirm the New Orleans Saints had a formal meeting with Lauletta while also working him out privately.
The full interview is posted online and will be placed at the bottom of this article. I’ve bridged this down a bit to make it an easier read. Please feel free to give the full interview a listen.
Deuce: “You’re a guy that flew under a lot of people’s radar, though obviously not Phil Savage who called you into the Senior Bowl, what’s the process been for you since you ended the season with Richmond?
Lauletta: The first phase of it was really just getting ready for the Senior Bowl. Obviously, that was a huge opportunity for me and huge thank you to Phil Savage to getting me in that game. Without his invitation and had I not been on that platform I don’t think I’d be in the position I am today. You only get so many of those opportunities. The private workouts and all that stuff are starting to come to a close and looking forward to some down time before the draft.
Deuce: The NFL Combine has become this massive event on T.V. all week long. For Quarterbacks, nobody cares what 40 times you guys run, so when you’re there working with these teams what are some of the things they are trying to learn about you?
Lauletta: I think it’s all the off the camera stuff. You have a whole college career of throws on tape, and as people say “the eye in the sky never lie”. These guys have gotten to see you throw so much, so what’s a couple of reps here and there going to really do. What they haven’t gotten to do is get the chance to get in front of you, talk to you and get to know who you are as a person and what motivates you.
The age old question is “how ready is this kid? Can he process the information?” and they test your knowledge in different ways. Some teams will install different parts of their offense and after they’re done teaching it to you they’ll quiz you to see how quick your recall is and how quickly you learn. I think it’s more important that you do well in those situations.
Deuce: Coming into 2017, coming off a big injury in 2016, did you feel you had to go above and beyond to try and prove that you’re one of the better quarterbacks and get noticed?
Lauletta: I’ve always carried a big chip on my shoulder. Nothing has ever been given to me and I’ve always had to work my butt off to get to where I had to go. Going through that ACL tear and going through that injury was another hard difficult thing I had to overcome and it made me stronger in the end.
Going into my senior season I had all the motivation in the world. I just took it upon myself to say “hey, you got one more year to show these scouts what you have”. I just tried to go out there and win every game first and foremost and just put plays on tape. I always thought in the end that was going to be enough and hopefully it will be here in the near future.
Deuce: Going through your tape its evident your pre-snap reads are a strength. Not many might know that you had four different offensive coordinators while at Richmond. How difficult was it to continually pick up a new playbook and still handle the pre-snap duties? (protection calls, audibles, route changes, etc.)
Lauletta: It was difficult, it was frustrating and confusing for me at times (why is this happening to me?) But, if you love football as much I do you know it’s all part of it and you end up adapting. This is what I’ve been doing my whole life and I love it.
It’s a lot of heart, offseason studying, go through all the playbook scenarios in your head, but you know I think I prepared the right way and each season I got better.
Deuce: So, are you a guy who just sits in the film room and continue to watch football?
Lauletta: laughs Yea I think there have been multiple times guys have walked past the room and they’re like “dude, it’s midnight what are you doing in here?” and I’m like “well, I ain’t got nothing better to do.” You have to. As a quarterback, most guys like to watch film. There’s always so much that you can learn from others and things you can do to improve your game.
Deuce: It seems like every year during this process that analysts and scouts are on a mission from God to find the strongest arm in the draft, and thus, find the best quarterback. That isn’t something necessarily considered a strength in your game tape. Do you feel you can overcome that?
Lauletta: Absolutely, of course I have confidence in my abilities.
Deuce: You’re not going to tell me no, right?
Lauletta: laughs I do believe in my abilities to throw the ball down the field. If you've watched my film from the three years I've started we've thrown the ball down the field a ton. Especially those first couple of years we were heavy play action. I don’t like to even focus on that because in the grand scheme of things, who cares if you can throw it 80 yards or throw it through a brick wall? If you can’t throw it on time or on the money you’re not going to stay in this league for a long time.
The best quarterbacks who have played at a high level for a long time they’re not always the guys with the biggest arms. Drew Brees is a perfect example. I’d venture to say he has one of the weakest arms of all the starting quarterbacks in the NFL, but he’s accurate, he anticipates, he had great active feet in the pocket and he’s a heck of a leader and competitor. Those are the qualities you look for in a quarterback and those are the qualities that will last your whole career.
Being able to throw 80 yards looks great but it doesn't always translate to success on the field.
Deuce: Situational football. You’re on the opponents 45 with a 1:30 left in the game. 3rd and 7 and you’re down by 2. You’re in shotgun with a 2x2 set on both sides. Your main read to your right is a sail concept. Runningback has the flat, slot tight has the deep out and your best receiver has the deep vert.
To your left you have a simple slant/flat concept. The defense pre-snap will show Cover 4, but at the snap will roll into a Cover 3 buzz to your sail side. Only a four man rush, what do you do?
Lauletta: Wow, that’s a good question. You can still work the sail. You can high-low off that buzz defender. I wouldn't be fooled, don’t go back side. Trust it. I’d still be high low off that flat defender on that one.
Deuce: Your tea. Do you take it with sugar and do you put lemon in it?
Lauletta: I’m not much of a tea drinker, but I’d say sugar and no lemon.