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O'Brien teaches McGloin how to throw a football

O'Brien teaches McGloin how to throw a football.

Two weeks ago, Jeff Tuel became the Buffalo starting quarterback after Thaddeus Lewis (who was replacing an injured EJ Manuel) couldn’t play against the Chiefs due a ribs injury. Today, former Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin will start for the Raiders, as Terrelle Pryor will miss the game against the Texans due to an injured knee.

This is a mind-boggling development for fans of college football. McGloin was a walk-on at Penn State who co-starred with four-star recruit Rob Bolden in one of the least-competent quarterback battles in recent memory. In 2010 and 2011, the duo seemingly alternated every other week, which was about how long it took for one of them to lose the job. Among the 90 quarterbacks who threw for at least 3,000 yards over that two-year period, McGloin ranked 87th in completion percentage. Then, Bill O’Brien arrived, and McGloin turned into a real quarterback, and led the Big 10 in both passing yards and passing touchdowns.

McGloin joins Tuel, Max Hall, and Matt Moore as the only undrafted free agent rookies to start a game at quarterback in the last ten years. The table below is a bit overinclusive: it includes all undrafted quarterbacks who started a game during the first season in which they played a game. That’s not quite the same thing as starting as a rookie, of course, but it’s the best I can do. Brock Berlin, for example, went undrafted in 2005, so he wouldn’t count, but he appears on the list below. To help you filter through the “sat around for a few years but didn’t get into a game/played in another league” issue, I’ve included an age column.

Jeff Tuel2013BUF220-1Washington St.
Max Hall2010ARI251-2BYU
Matt Moore2007CAR232-1UCLA; Oregon State
Brock Berlin2007STL260-1Florida; Miami (FL)
Chad Hutchinson2002DAL252-7Stanford
Henry Burris2002CHI270-1Temple
Todd Bouman2001MIN291-2St. Cloud State
Anthony Wright2000DAL240-2South Carolina
Doug Johnson2000ATL230-2Florida
Jake Delhomme1999NOR241-1La-Lafayette
Jeff Garcia1999SFO292-8Gavilan J.C.; San Jose State
Jon Kitna1997SEA251-0Central Washington
Kelly Holcomb1997IND240-1Middle Tennessee State
Jason Garrett1993DAL271-0Princeton; Columbia
Brad Goebel1991PHI240-2Baylor
Erik Kramer1987ATL231-1Pierce J.C. ; North Carolina State
John Fourcade1987NOR272-1Mississippi
Adrian Breen1987CIN220-1Morehead State
Rick Neuheisel1987SDG262-0UCLA
Ken Karcher1987DEN242-1Delgado CC; Notre Dame; Tulane
Todd Hons1987DET261-2El Camino J.C.; Arizona State
Bob Bleier1987NWE231-1Richmond
Mike Hohensee1987CHI262-0Mount San Antonio J.C.; Minnesota
Matt Stevens1987KAN230-2UCLA
Ed Rubbert1987WAS233-0Louisville
Shawn Halloran1987STL231-1Boston College
Jim Crocicchia1987NYG230-1Pennsylvania
Jeff Van Raaphorst1987ATL240-1Arizona State
Scott Tinsley1987PHI280-2USC
Willie Totten1987BUF250-1Mississippi Valley State
Mike Busch1987NYG250-1Idaho State; South Dakota State
Bobby Hebert1985NOR252-4Northwestern State (LA)
Dieter Brock1985RAM3412-5Jacksonville State; Auburn
Warren Moon1984HOU283-13Washington
Mike Loyd1980STL240-1Kansas; Tulsa; Missouri Southern State
Joe Pisarcik1977NYG254-7New Mexico State
Terry Luck1977CLE250-1Nebraska
Jim Zorn1976SEA232-12Cal Poly-Pomona
Don Milan1975GNB260-1Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo
Will Cureton1975CLE250-1Texas A&M-Commerce
J.J. Jones1975NYJ230-1Fisk
Larry Lawrence1974OAK251-0Iowa; Miami (FL)
Bill Demory1973NYJ231-2Arizona
Rick Arrington1970PHI230-1Georgia; Tulsa
Don Gault1970CLE241-0Hofstra
Sam Wyche1968CIN231-2Furman
Tom Sherman1968BOS231-6Penn State
Kent Nix1967PIT233-6TCU
John Stofa1966MIA241-0Buffalo
Max Choboian1966DEN243-4Oregon; Cal State-Northridge
Tom Kennedy1966NYG270-1Glendale CC (CA); Los Angeles State
Don Breaux1963DEN230-2McNeese State
Sam Etcheverry1961STL314-5Denver
Tom Flores1960OAK235-7Fresno City J.C.; Pacific
Hunter Enis1960DTX241-0TCU
Tom Greene1960BOS221-1Holy Cross

McGloin is the third Nittany Lion on the list. Tom Sherman led PSU to the Gator Bowl in 1967, and then replaced Mike Taliaferro as the Patriots starting quarterback over the final seven games of the year in 1968.

  • Danish

    So Romo doesn’t count because he didn’t start as a ‘true’ rookie, and he isn’t on the list because he had snaps as a holder before becoming the starter in ’06?

    • Chase Stuart

      Yeah, Romo is like a Scott Tolzien – nothing ambiguous there. The tougher issues are players like Berlin, but I don’t personally consider them rookies.