By The Man on the Inside
Well, what a night Sunday turned out to be! Over 100 viewers showed up to view the inaugural Rookie Showcase (even those from overseas) and what a game it turned out to be. The Brooklyn Rush and Virginia Beach Griffins played out a nailbiter of a game, taking it down to the wire with the climax only coming after an overtime safety, making the score 22-20. Obviously, every team wants to win, but we all know that this game was about the players on the field; how would these rookies perform on the big stage? As it turned out, pretty well.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the two quarterbacks on show – #1 consensus pick Moody Mitchell and Top 10 favourite Thomas Drew. As expected, both passers had mixed games and showed flashes of brilliance interspersed with indecision and inconsistency. I personally don’t put too much stock into these negatives because they were playing in an unfamiliar team with generic playbooks. Mitchell, turning out for the Brooklyn Rush, looked relatively accurate and very good at making a quick decision. He clearly has the arm to make all the throws and vision to see past coverages, he just needs to trust his ability a little more. Mitchell seems like he could fall into the trap of ‘playing safe’ at QB and become a game-manager type, something that will waste his natural ability. TD Drew, on the other hand, is anything but ‘safe’. Drew seemed to want to push the ball downfield at every opportunity and gets good zip on the ball to perform those throws. Drew will be an exciting young leader for the team that drafts him and I can’t wait to see him suited up in an SFL uniform.
Speaking of exciting players, did you see that run by Reggie Streeter?! The guy pirouetted around one would be tackler before shaking a defender so far out of his cleats that he couldnt even see them. Streeter’s flair and big play ability were fully on did play during that solo effort and the athleticism was a joy to behold. The rest of the game was a struggle though. Streeter finished the game with 64 yards at 2.5 YPC against Brooklyn’s tough front seven, numbers that won’t quite cut it in the SFL. Too many broken plays and runs for a loss plagued Virginia’s run game and the big-play producer will be glad to get his head into a real SFL playbook. For Brooklyn, Randy Mercury looked solid. A one cut downhill runner, Mercury showed good ball carrier vision and an ability to power through a tackle, pumping his powerful legs in contact to make it tough for defenders. Less flashy than Streeter, Mercury will be a banker pick for a team early in the draft, looking for dependability at the position.
At receiver, one player stood out above the rest: Rich Pratchard. Pratchard (whom you could hear in conversation with Cameron Irvine early in the game) caught 10 balls for 121 yards and a touchdown, showing excellent rapport with Thomas Drew despite only limited time training together. The pass-catcher showed excellent route running ability and decent breakaway speed, getting himself open on a number of occasions. SFL scouts will have taken notice. Special mention must also go to Ashley Jackson who caught a deep pass and took it to the house showing rapid burst to outstrip the secondary.
On defense, there were a number of solid performances with safeties Thomas Ramen JR. and Steven Hacker really improving their draft stock. Pegged as late rounders scraping into a roster spot, the pair have quickly shown that they would be an excellent addition to any team looking to beef up its secondary. Ramen Jr in particular shone, making the game winning tackle to secure a safety and 2 points for the Brooklyn Rush.
TMOTI’s Mock Draft
#1 St. Louis – Moody Mitchell, QB
#2 Dallas – Randy Mercury, RB
#3 Oklahoma City – Rich Pratchard, WR
#4 Denver – Zach Sandlin, LB
#5 London – Reggie Streeter, RB
#6 San Francisco – Thomas Ramen JR., CB
#7 Indianapolis – TD Drew, QB
#8 Tulsa – Hiapo Kinloha, QB
#9 Atlanta – Justin Jones, CB
#10 New Orleans – Logan Jack, RB
#11 Carolina – Stephen Hacker, RB
#12 Las Vegas – Garren Malone III, WR
#13 Sioux Falls – Jam Pierson, CB
#14 Queen City – Denzel Maverick, DT
#15 Houston – Jacob Gustafson, CB
#16 St. Louis – Everett Garrison, LB
#17 Dallas – John Barnhart, CB
#18 Oklahoma City – Zachary Bates, DE
#19 Denver – Jamaal Wooding, TE
#20 San Francisco – Kyle Kruger, LB
#21 Tulsa – Ashley Jackson, WR
There you have it! A LAST SECOND MOCK DRAFT!