Saquon Barkley may not have been the most impressive rookie on the field for the New York Giants this past Thursday night. That might just have been quarterback Kyle Lauletta.
In his professional debut, Lauletta was one of the few bright spots for the Giants in their 20-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in their preseason opener. The fourth-round pick out of Richmond was 6-of-9 for 48 yards, showing some good presence and poise in the pocket.
On a night where second-year quarterback Davis Webb didn’t exactly light it up, Lauletta’s solid play makes things interesting in the battle to back up Eli Manning. The quarterback out of Richmond backed up his college film as well as his showing in the Senior Bowl.
“He’s very calm, and I think he finds a way to make plays. He had a nice deep ball down the sideline to Amba [Etta-Tawo] that ended up being a [pass interference]. In fact, somebody asked me at one point why we practice the one-handed catches – that was it right there,” Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said.
“They arm-barred us and Amba had a chance to make the one-handed catch. We got the penalty, but we certainly would’ve wanted the catch. But I [think] he’s got a calm presence about him. I think he lost control of the clock once, we got the ball snapped, but those are all things you learn when you’re playing. So, it wasn’t a bad performance to start out for him.”
In the preseason loss, Lauletta showcased good command of the pocket and the huddle. He made good decisions down the field and showed some confidence. As Shurmur alluded to, it wasn’t a perfect performance but the areas of concern can be easily addressed.
And while he doesn’t have the strongest of arms, Lauletta did some impressive work against the Browns. Given that Webb had struggles in his decision making and ball placement on Thursday, Lauletta certainly closed the gap on Thursday night with his performance.