Canadian Football League quarterback Nathan Rourke is in the midst of a bit of a free agency tour, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Shortly after Rourke’s BC Lions were knocked out of the playoffs in mid-November, the 24-year-old announced that he was in communication with a number of NFL teams in regard to scheduling workouts.
Rourke played three years of college ball at Ohio after transferring from Fort Scott Community College. As a starter for all three years, Rourke was one of the country’s most electric dual-threat quarterbacks. He improved each year as a passer, finishing with a career total of 7,457 yards, 60 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. His consistency as a runner is uncanny. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, Rourke ran the ball 137, 134, and 154 times respectively, for 912, 860, and 867 yards respectively. Over the three seasons he ran for 2,034 yards and 49 touchdowns. That’s 9,511 yards of total offense and 111 total touchdowns, when you include the two receiving touchdowns he had as a Bobcat.
Rourke went undrafted by the NFL but was the highest drafted quarterback for the CFL in almost 20 years. A rough first season in British Columbia saw Rourke serve mainly as a backup, only starting two games, and making some mistakes early in his career. He only threw three touchdowns to five interceptions, although he was able to add five touchdowns on the ground, as well. In his second year with the team, during the league’s 2022 season, Rourke became a full-time starter. In nine starts, Rourke completed 78.7-percent of his passes for 3,349 yards while throwing 25 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He also added 304 yards and seven touchdowns with his legs.
After the Lions’ season ended with a third loss in four matchups this year against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, a few NFL teams reached out to the athletic quarterback. Rourke reportedly met with the Raiders last week, the Jaguars on Monday, and the Broncos on Tuesday.
Seeing as all three of those teams are set with starting quarterbacks on fairly recent deals, it’s worth point out that Rourke did audition for the Giants at wide receiver just prior to the CFL’s 2021 season. It’s also worth pointing out that the XFL has produced some NFL quarterbacks with limited success lately. Both Commanders backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke and Panthers backup quarterback P.J. Walker have earned playing time with their respective squads. Heinicke, who started most of the 2021 NFL season for Washington, took over the starting job this year for an injured Carson Wentz and has gone on to win five of his seven starts for the team. Walker took over the starting job for an injured Baker Mayfield before suffering an injury of his own.
This opens the door for the league to look outside of the traditional talent pools for a player as important as the backup quarterback. To say Rourke would be an upgrade over Jarrett Stidham, C.J. Beathard, or Brett Rypien is no guarantee, but it may be worth taking a look at the mobile, young quarterback.
Here’s another workout rumor about a very recent second-round pick who was recently released:
- Former Falcons defensive lineman Marlon Davidson visited the 49ers this week, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. Through two and a half seasons in the league, Davidson has played in 19 games, only starting one. He’s only recorded one sack but has a fumble recovery and a 3-yard pick six off of Tom Brady to his ledger. Davidson has yet to play this season after being placed on injured reserve following arthroscopic knee surgery and was released in late October. Securing a visit with San Francisco may indicate that he’s healthy enough to find his way back to the field now.