The USFL might turn into another developmental league, and the 49ers would be wise to scour this year’s B-group USFL draft class for hidden talent.
Not long ago, the San Francisco 49ers heavily scouted the now-defunct Alliance of American Football for players who might have just needed a little refinement outside of the NFL to turn into quality pro players.
When the AAF finally went belly up, the Niners quickly moved in and grabbed the versatile offensive lineman, Daniel Brunskill, who has turned into a key starter for the team in each of the last two years.
Now, after a hiatus dating back to 1985, the eight-team USFL is trying to achieve what the AAF couldn’t, a regular standing of B-level pro football to help offset what is otherwise a long and dreary NFL offseason.
The 2022 USFL draft just concluded — you can check out each one of the picks selected here — and some of the names surely will be recognizable.
While teams like San Francisco wouldn’t net A-list talent if it plucked a USFL standout for the upcoming 2022 regular-season campaign, there are nevertheless some potential fits the 49ers may be interested in who found themselves recently drafted.
Particularly these five USFL players.
49ers USFL target No. 5: QB Jordan Ta’amu, Tampa Bay Bandits
The Niners are poised to move on from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, opening the door for their top investment from the 2021 NFL Draft, Trey Lance, to take over starting duties.
It’s expected San Francisco will add a veteran signal-caller this offseason to help mentor Lance. But with the need to tack on a third-string quarterback to the training camp roster, and someone who could potentially stick around on the practice squad during the regular season, one shouldn’t be surprised if a USFL quarterback is on the team’s radar.
The USFL named all quarterbacks in Round 1 of their draft, and former Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu ended up being selected by the Tampa Bay Bandits.
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
Completing nearly 65 percent of his collegiate passes for 5,600 yards with 30 touchdowns against 12 interceptions, Ta’amu had a brief pro stint with the Houston Texans before joining the XFL for a brief while before jumping around with the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, Washington Commanders and Carolina Panthers.
Never having played a regular-season NFL game, Ta’amu nevertheless possesses a strong arm with good mobility and physicality at 6-foot-3 and 221 pounds.
For a third-string developmental quarterback, the 49ers could do much worse than taking a flier on Ta’amu.