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BYU Football Quarterbacks In The NFL, How Have They Done?

27 Oct 1996: Ty Detmer of the Philadelphia Eagles looks for an opening to throw the ball during their 20-9 win over the Carolina Panthers at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart/Allsport

PROVO, Utah – With the NFL season approaching, one of the big storylines for BYU fans is the role of Taysom Hill with the New Orleans Saints. Hill, who recently signed a contract extension with the Saints is expected to be in New Orleans’ longterm plans as potentially the successor to future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.

Brees, who’s preparing for his 20th season in the NFL, missed five games a season ago due to injury. It’s possible that Hill could be called upon to start if Brees has any injuries or setbacks this year.

So it got me thinking, how have former BYU quarterbacks fared as starters in the NFL?

Including Hill, BYU has had nine former players take snaps at quarterback in the NFL. Hill is the only former BYU QB to not start in a game yet. The other eight have started in NFL games. But how did they fare during their times in the league?

Let’s take a deeper look.

Steve Young: 143 starts

Posted a 94-49 record as a starting quarterback in his Hall of Fame career with the San Francisco 49ers and an early stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Young’s 94 wins is tied for 24th most by a starting QB in NFL history. Young led the 49ers to a Super Bowl XXIX victory and is considered one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the history of the league.

Jim McMahon: 97 starts

McMahon is tied for 60th all-time for most wins as a starting QB with a record of 67-30. In his rookie season in 1982, McMahon took over as the starting QB in week 11 and from there, the Chicago Bears became one of the best teams in the NFL. In 1985, McMahon quarterbacked the Bears squad that won the Super Bowl.

Marc Wilson: 60 starts

A former first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders, Wilson posted a 32-28 as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Wilson ended up losing his final eight starts when he was with the New England Patriots. Wilson started in one postseason game with the Raiders.

Virgil Carter: 30 starts

One of the forgotten great BYU quarterbacks of the past, Virgil Carter was a solid 16-14 as a starter with the Chicago Bears and the Cincinnati Bengals in his career. Won eight consecutive regular-season starts with the Bengals that spanned from 1970 to 1971.

Ty Detmer: 25 starts

A journeyman in the NFL, Detmer ended up starting in 25 games in his 13-year NFL career. Detmer was 11-14 in those 25 starts. His first career start came in his fifth season in the league with the Philadelphia Eagles. Detmer led the Eagles to a four-game winning streak when he took over as the starter in 1996. Had four starts where he threw for more than 300 yards in a single game.

Gifford Nielsen: 14 starts

Former BYU and Provo High standout Gifford Nielsen posted a 3-11 record as a starter with the Houston Oilers. In 1982, Nielsen was the week one starter before benched three weeks later. Nielsen lost his last nine games as a starter with the Oilers in 1983.

John Beck: 7 starts

The only former BYU quarterback to have started in an NFL game at quarterback and not won is John Beck. Beck finished his NFL career with an 0-7 record as a starting quarterback. The former second-round pick was thrown into difficult situations with the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.

Max Hall: 3 starts

Rookie Max Hall took over his hometown Arizona Cardinals in 2010 and he posted a 1-2 record as a starter in his one year in the NFL. He was the first undrafted free agent to start at quarterback as a rookie before Week 5 since Jim Zorn in 1976. In Hall’s first start he defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints led by Drew Brees. Three weeks later, Hall was out due to concussions.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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