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Jeff Tuel's uncommon company among undrafted rookie starters

By Tim Graham

Jeff Tuel became the 46th undrafted quarterback to start as a rookie since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com data.

If that number seems high, then consider 17 of those were strike replacements in 1987. A slew of quarterbacks who came through other pro leagues (Warren Moon, Jeff Garcia, Bobby Hebert, et al) also count toward the total.

So for the proper context to underscore Tuel's lack of pedigree and experience, know that he became only the 13th undrafted rookie under 25 years old and not from the strike season to start since the merger.

  • Rick Arrington, 1970 Philadelphia Eagles
  • Don Gault, 1970 Cleveland Browns
  • Bill Demory, 1973 New York Jets
  • J.J. Jones, 1975 New York Jets
  • Jim Zorn, 1976 Seattle Seahawks
  • Mike Lloyd, 1980 St. Louis Cardinals
  • Brad Goebel, 1991 Philadelphia Eagles
  • Kelly Holcomb, 1997 Indianapolis Colts
  • Jake Delhomme, 1999 New Orleans Saints
  • Doug Johnson, 2000 Atlanta Falcons
  • Anthony Wright, 2000 Dallas Cowboys
  • Matt Moore, 2007 Miami Dolphins
  • Jeff Tuel, 2013 Buffalo Bills

Willie Totten, a 1987 strike replacement, was the only other undrafted rookie to start at quarterback for Buffalo.

Tuel became Buffalo's third starter this year. That has happened three times in the past six seasons, with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards and Brian Brohm doing it in 2009 and 2010.

Week Nine is the earliest the Bills have started three quarterbacks since 1969, when James Harris, Jack Kemp and Dan Darragh were called upon.

The Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns are the only other teams to have started three quarterbacks this year.

tagged

Jack Kemp | James Harris | Jeff Tuel | Ryan Fitzpatrick | Trent Edwards
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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