LB – Luke Fields (Vancouver – Zurich)
Luke Fields started in six games for the Express and showed promise with 32 tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, and two pass break ups. Fields showed great speed, and has impressed coaches with his work ethic.
FS – Earl Brown (Carolina – Manchester)
Brown played CB in Carolina but was moved to FS under Manchester management. Brown did not start a game, but played well when given the opportunity. He recorded eight tackles, one forced fumble, three sacks, one interception, and broke up two passes.
OT – Daniel Jernigan (Ann Arbor to Cincinnati)
Jernigan didn’t start for the Predators, but was excellent in relief duties. He recorded 19 pancakes to just three sacks allowed. Jernigan’s fantastic work ethic has Cincinnati’s coaching staff beaming with delight.
OT – Isidro Collins (Ohio – West Texas)
Collins started 14 games for West Texas had played decent, scoring 37 pancakes to 11 sacks allowed. Isidro Collins greatest attribute is his relentless work ethic, look for him to continue to improve.
RB – John Moen (Fairbanks – London)
John Moen was used as a KR/PR specialist in London. He returned 44 kicks for 1,136 yards, and had 25 punt returns for 147 yards. He did carry the rock twice for two yards.
DE – Jacques Duckett (Alberta – Colorado)
Despite only dressing for two games, Duckett showed that he is worthy of playing for a CFA squad and could grow into a solid starter/rotation player. In his brief showing, Duckett had three tackles and one sack.
OG – Billie Perez (Toronto – New York)
New York’s call up of Billie Perez looks to have been a depth move. He did start one game and had two pancakes and allowed three sacks.
WR – Brian Donohue (Minnesota – Philadelphia)
Philadelphia’s call up of Donohue was almost as bone headed as cutting RB Darnell Gruber a few games in the season when he was running Vicksburg(now Sicily). Donohue’s playing career is effectively over after spending the entire season on the practice squad.
1. Orlando – Andrew Burton, QB, Alabama
If I was Orlando’s new owner, I’d strongly consider trading down here and stockpiling more picks. This is a deep draft in some areas. Barring that, I’d go with Burton as the pick. Robert Prado and Aaron Smith split QB duties for the Dragons last year, but neither one are the long-term answer and both are in the final year of their contracts. You could build this team around a 20-year-old QB with seemingly unlimited potential.
2. West Texas – James Hudson, DE, Iowa
The Wranglers’ defense was bad last season, there’s no doubt about that. Hudson has big-time talent and would immediately be a force to be reckoned with in the Gulf. Keep in mind this team has to face elite QB’s in Tom Prosser, Ryan Allen and John Wiese twice each a year. They have to be able to put consistent pressure on them.
3. New Jersey (via Zurich) – Cody Timmons, SS, South Carolina
Garrett’s gonna love this guy – 6′ 3″, 237 lbs., 96 SPD. You take a guy like this and just find a place to play him, worry about player skill, positional aptitude, etc. later. That kind of size with that kind of speed is rare.
4. Georgia – Eric Sparks, C, Oklahoma
I’m personally worried a lot less about playing guys out of position on the O-Line than anywhere else. That’s why I think Sparks will make an excellent Tackle, which the Gearheads need. The two guys they have there now have combined to start just 8 games in their careers, and they’re both lacking in the strength department. Georgia will benefit greatly from improving their blocking, particularly if my #2 mock pick comes true.
5. Colorado – Jay Thompson, OG, Texas
I don’t know what a “Yong Turk” is, but I don’t think it should be one of the Mustangs’ starting Guards. Colorado has a lot of talent, and Spakesy is a proven winner, so I don’t expect to see them drafting this high again next year. Rounding out their O-Line with an excellent blocker like Thompson should help them improve from back-to-back 4-win seasons.
6. London – Benjamin Connolly, CB, UConn
To put it mildly, this team needs a *lot* of help. They gave up a ton of sacks last season, but they also currently only have one CB and one WR on their roster. This draft is deep enough at O-Line and receiver to snag a capable one of each in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, so the smart move here would be to take the best CB in the class.
7. Costa Rica – Edward Stapleton, LB, Oregon
The Monkeys have a surprising amount of young talent, but there are a couple different ways they could go here. Their Guards are getting a little old, but as I mentioned before, this draft class is very deep with offensive linemen so that issue could be addressed later. Their future-HOF linebacker Dan Manson is 32, so it’s about time to look for his replacement. Stapleton is 6′ 2″, 251 lbs. with outstanding speed and great tackling ability.
8. Las Vegas – Eric Wilson, SS, Virginia Tech
They moved former 1st-rounder Edward Tanner back to LB, so that makes this an easy choice because they have no SS. Wilson is a prototypical keg of dynamite at 5′ 11″ with surprising strength – literally stronger than some of the O-Linemen in this class. OK, yes, he’s as dumb as a bag of hammers, but you don’t need him covering routes. His job is to hit hard, and he’s more than capable of doing that.
9. Washington – Daniel Farr, C, Charlotte
This is the same situation as Sparks, who I mocked at #4 – Farr has all of the tools to be a great Tackle, and it doesn’t concern me that he’s a “true” Center. The Birds’ three best Tackles are all on the wrong side of 30, so it’d be a good idea to get some youth on the end of the line. Oh, and maybe spend your 2nd-round pick on a running back (Rossi, Evans or Pettigrew). Juan Henry is long gone, and Tony Dwyer averaged 2.9 YPC last year…yeesh.
10. Philadelphia – Erik O’Donnell, DE, Nebraska
Harry Tatum is a great pass rusher, and probably has another year or two left in him to continue being a disruptive force on the D-Line, but they don’t currently have any viable options to line up on the other side. O’Donnell is a bit of a drop-off from James Hudson, who I mocked at #2, but he’s got the speed and strength to be Tatum’s bookend until it’s time for him to take over the #1 spot. I could also see them taking WR Ernest Lowe here, because it would be hard to pass up a player of that caliber. Lowe has Top 10 talent, but I just haven’t seen receiver as a glaring need for any of these teams.
Frank Oliver lies on the turf grimacing in pain, he knew it as soon as it happened, it was fractured. His season done. His time in the bay area up in the air as hot shot rookie William Traylor is steering the Hammerheads to playoffs with the pedal to the metal.
It was first and ten, midway in the first quarter. Oliver takes the snap from center Barry Almanza, drops back, looks down primary receiver Jason Ludwig and fires as Scorpions linebacker Winston Carlson comes crashing down on Oliver, causing Oliver’s pass to take flight into the turf. Also causing the crackle heard around the league, Oliver’s leg pinned awkwardly as Winston full body weight of 215 pounds came screeching down on the future hall of famers leg.
Despite his ability to play at an elite level, many critics believed Frank Oliver’s time as the Hammerheads starting quarterback was fast approaching it’s end date. His bad days were increasing, becoming closer together than before. A rough outing against Birmingham in week two had some discouraged with the future hall of famer as he failed to put any points on the board for the first time as a Hammerhead, and had put up a measly stat line of 16/31, 191 yards and 0 TD’s, and 2 INT’s, and a QB rating of 43.9. Despite the narrow victory, he again failed to throw a TD pass in week six against Houston. Before his season ending injury Oliver had tossed a very un-Oliver like 9 TD’s and 5 INT’s on the year. His TD to INT ratio was his lowest since 2014.
Fast forward to week 12, rookie William Traylor is balling, coming off a big victory over division rivals Portland. Traylor had just thrown for 421 yards and 5 TD’s to 0 INT’s. The rookie is progressing at an alarming rate each and every week he starts. In the four games he has started the Hammerheads have averaged 36.8 points a game and are 3-1. He has thrown 16 TD’s to 8 INT’s for a quarterback rating 100.5.
Frank Oliver is William Traylor’s biggest fan, and Traylor is Oliver’s biggest student. The two break down film together as Oliver recovers from his fractured leg. He guides the rookie during games, often helping with play calling. Traylor credits Oliver for his steady growth as a quarterback.
At 33, there’s no question that Frank Oliver can still play at an elite level, the question is will he still play for the Hammerheads when he’s 34, or will the torch be passed?