Opportunity is knocking for Nick Mullens.
The second-year quarterback will make his first career NFL start for the San Francisco 49ers against their Bay Area rival Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night Football. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he’s starting due to C.J. Beathard dealing with a wrist injury.
San Francisco’s starting QB tonight against the Oakland Raiders will be Nick Mullens, per source.
C.J. Beathard will serve as his backup, but with his wrist injury affecting his grip on the football, Mullens will make his first NFL start and throw his first NFL pass.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 1, 2018
Nick Mullens to Make First Career NFL Start on Thursday Night Football
It’s just the latest development at quarterback for the 49ers during a season that’s quickly gone off the rails. The first came in Week Three when Jimmy Garoppolo injured his knee in the fourth quarter during a 38-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. San Fran later confirmed that he tore his ACL and would miss the remainder of the 2018 season.
Mullens went undrafted in 2017 and later signed with the Niners on May 5. The team cut him at the end of the preseason but later signed him to their practice squad, where he remained for the remainder of the year. Mullens was released and added to the practice squad once again this year. But after Garoppolo’s injury, San Fran promoted Mullens to their active roster.
The product of Southern Mississippi enjoyed a rather successful collegiate career. He started all four years in Hattiesburg and went a combined 16-10 as an upperclassman. During his junior year, he tossed 38 touchdowns which were the fourth-best total in FBS that year. His 11,994 career passing yards and 87 touchdowns are both school records.
Thursday’s matchup certainly isn’t as widely anticipated as when the schedule initially came out. Back then, it was billed as a big-time quarterback matchup between Garoppolo and Derek Carr with the former going up against a fierce defense led by talented edge rusher Khalil Mack. But first-year head coach Jon Gruden dealt the two-time All-Pro to the Chicago Bears for draft picks, Garoppolo got hurt, and now these two teams come into Week Nine having won a combined two games.
But it all gives Mullens a chance to shine on a nationally televised stage.