Who TF Is Nick Mullens?

I sure didn’t know. I had to search Youtube for an old highlight reel from 2015.

Before his record-breaking pro debut against the  Oakland Raiders on Thursday night, if you dropped his name in sports circles, most people would say, “Who The TF is Nick Mullens?”

I sure didn’t know. I had to search Youtube for an old highlight reel from 2015. He had to be pretty good, he was a Davey O’Brien award contender, presented to the top QB in the country.


Now the 2017 undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi is an NFL household name.

Mullens got the nod when starter CJ Beathard, who’s been filling in for injured franchise QB Jimmy Goroppolo, was also sidelined with an injury. Nobody thought much of it. In fact, most football minds predicted the Raiders to feast on Thursday.

Mullens used a quick release and great field vision to finish 16 for 22 for 262 yards and three TDs and had a 151.9 passer rating, the highest for a quarterback with at least 15 attempts in an N.F.L. debut since the 1970 merger. He threw touchdown passes to Garcon and Kendrick Bourne on the opening two drives and helped the struggling 49ers to their most lopsided win in this series since San Francisco won the first meeting, 38-7, in 1970.

Mullens picked the perfect Thursday night to burst onto the scene. During the game, his Twitter account was verified and following that performance, Mullens became the new celebrity face in San Francisco. On the flip side, he also became hated by Raiders fans, NFL pools and fantasy game participators who felt the wrath of Mullens’ unforeseen effectiveness.

I picked the Raiders in my pool because I figured as bad as San Francisco is (2-7), they would be even worse without their usual starter. Who knew Mullens would be an Aaron Rodgers-like upgrade. San Francisco is a franchise that has needed some luck since the curse of Colin Kaepernick set in a couple of seasons ago.

Out of the blue, Mullens might become one of the biggest storylines of the NFL season and if he continues to perform, the 49ers became one less team that needs to draft a quarterback in the Top 5 picks in next year’s draft.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.