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Lee becomes first Husker drafted quarterback in more than 25 years

April 30, 2018 GMT

Tanner Lee has become the first Husker selected as a quarterback in the NFL draft in more than a quarter century.

Lee was taken with the 29th pick of the sixth round (No. 203 overall) by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s the first Nebraska quarterback drafted to play that position in the NFL since Keithen McCant, a 12th-round pick in 1992. Previous Husker quarterbacks like Jammal Lord, Eric Crouch, Bobby Newcombe and Scott Frost moved positions upon entering the league.

Lee was the first Husker selected in the 2018 NFL draft, extending Nebraska’s streak of having at least one player drafted to 56 years. Lee was the 10th quarterback taken overall and the first from the Big Ten.

Lee joins a team in Jacksonville coming off its first playoff appearance in 10 years. The Jaguars drafted quarterback Blake Bortles with the third overall pick in 2014. He has started every game the last three seasons. Cody Kessler, a three-year veteran out of USC, is the backup.

Lee played only one season for the Huskers after transferring from Tulane. He sat out in 2016 then beat Patrick O’Brien for the starting job in 2017. He started all 12 games for the Huskers last season, throwing for 3,143 yards with 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

His time at NU will likely defined by the four pick-sixes he threw in the first half of the season, including two in a disastrous upset loss to Northern Illinois. Lee bottomed out with another pick-six against Rutgers, but played some of his best football once Nebraska reached league play.

Lee threw for 2,354 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions against nine Big Ten opponents. He said his signature game was a 431-yard, two-touchdown come-from-behind performance at Purdue.

Despite having another year of eligibility left, Lee chose instead to declare for the NFL draft as he would’ve been a poor fit for Frost’s offense.

In January, he played in the Senior Bowl, where he completed 8 of 19 passes for 86 yards with an interception and fumble. The two turnovers came on consecutive possessions in the second half.

He also received an invite to the NFL combine where he threw for NFL evaluators. He tested well: a 4.98-second 40-yard dash, 32-inch vertical jump, 9-foot, 7-inch broad jump, 7.0-second three-cone drill and 4.41-second 20-yard shuttle.

Then came Nebraska’s pro day in mid-March where Lee scripted his own plays to best show NFL scouts what he needed to improve his draft stock. “I felt it was a pretty solid performance,” Lee said after completing 43 of 49 passes during his workout.