I called a former coach to get the scoop on Nick Mullens. To find out what it is he does so well.
Mullens is a phenomenon. He’s one of the most successful young quarterbacks currently in the NFL. His passer rating through five career starts is 93.5, higher than Baker Mayfield’s 93.4 passer rating, and Mayfield was the No. 1 draft pick this year. Mullens was an undrafted free agent in 2017.
Mullens grew up in Hoover, Alabama, 60 miles west of Tuscaloosa, the home of college football’s top program, the University of Alabama. It did not offer Mullens a scholarship, even though in 2012 he won the Alabama high school football Player of the Year Award. The Crimson Tide snubbed Mullens, as did every other school from a Power 5 conference, because he’s small for a quarterback — only 6-foot-1 — and doesn’t have a strong arm.
Mullens went to Southern Mississippi, a modest program, and passed for 11,994 yards and 87 touchdowns in four seasons. Monster numbers.
Still, the NFL wasn’t impressed. The 49ers didn’t even have Mullens on their draft board. Quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello had to convince the 49ers to sign Mullens to the practice squad, where he spent most of 2017 playing free safety for the scout team during practices.
Now, Mullens is the 49ers’ starting quarterback while Jimmy Garoppolo recovers from a torn ACL. So far, Mullens has thrown for 1,479 yards — fifth most by a quarterback during his first five starts since the NFL-AFL merger in 1966.
How did everybody miss on Mullens? What makes him good?
This is what the former NFL coach said. Here’s our entire conversation.