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Written by Sim Scouts Inc (Thomas Smith, Frank Wade, Eagle Mondavi, Mike Twinscrew and Jeff Gagne) with Art by Jonny Law

Rookie Review

As we have cleared the first half of the season, we take a look back at the top 5 (or less) rookies at each position and how they are doing so far this season. Draft day is a memory that many will not soon forget, but being in the majors with playoffs being insight for everyone it can feel like it was ages ago. Each day these young players strive to improve not only themselves but also their team. They work to reach their potential and to help fill shoes left on teams by free agents or due to being a brand new team in the league. We can’t wait to see which rookies outperform these rankings by the end of the year, and those who were left off rising to the challenge by years end as well. Please note that players have already shown in week 7 that they could move up the end of season rankings. And this list will only include rookies who were selected in the draft, not those signed after the draft to replace players who have left.

Quarterbacks:

Bryant Dynasty – Atlanta

Leads the League in passing yards with 2,427 in 7 games

100.5 QBR along with 73% comp pct

20 Touchdowns to 15 Interceptions

Ace Fenech – Lone Star

12th in the League in passing yards with 1,810 in 7 games

80.8 QBR along with 72% comp pct

10 Touchdowns to go with 15 Interceptions

Javier Vazquez – St. Louis

17th in the League in passing yards with 1658 in 7 games

70.4 QBR along with 63% comp pct

9 Touchdowns along with 15 Interceptions

Bryant has come a long way with a great supporting cast. Looking at one of the league’s most difficult schedules Dynasty has still managed to lead this team to a 3-4 record and keep The Swarm in the hunt for a playoff spot despite BDG’s struggles. His numbers don’t lie, Bryant wills this team into games week in and week out and does a terrific job of utilizing all of the weapons he has at his disposal. Dynasty will be a star for many years to come in this league. Early in the season, Ace saw some severe struggles that have since leveled out. Half of his interceptions came in his first two contests and he has since gotten the ball under control and done his best to efficiently lead The Lone Star Glory to a 3-4 record. The numbers don’t pop but what does pop is his completion percentage and performance late in games. Despite a large disparity in stats, he does hold the same W-L record as the other two rookie QB’s. Ace started rough but is showing the league now in the middle of the season why he was the first QB off the board in the most recent draft. Similar to Mr. Fenech, Vazquez saw the majority of his struggles come early in the season. Javier has missed more passes than his coach would like but he has shown some poise and strong performances late in games as well. If Vazquez can improve his ball control he will see a steady improvement in his game. It is worth noting that Vazquez occupies an offense comprised entirely of rookies whereas Ace has a strong OL and two good receivers and Dynasty fills a championship-winning roster. Vazquez entered the year with the biggest obstacles and has done a fine job of helping St. Louis reach a 3-4 record thus far.

Running Backs:

Ike McBride – (N/A)

– 110 Carries for 394 Yds and 6 Touchdowns – 3.58 YPC

– 21 Receptions for 71 Yds – 3.38 YPR

Kairo Martinez – (Birmingham Fuel)

– 116 Carries for 481 Yds and 2 Touchdowns – 4.15 YPC

– 21 Receptions for 33 Yds – 1.57 YPR

Scott Johnson – (Annapolis Navigators)

– 83 Carries for 188 Yds and 1 Touchdown – 2.27 YPC

– 34 Receptions for 133 Yds and 1 Touchdown – 3.91 YPR

You can’t have a top 5 if there are only 3 players to choose from.  McBride and Martinez were products of being able to get monster rookie contracts due to the supplemental rounds.  McBride was selected by Lone Star Glory with the 118th pick (7th round). Martinez was selected by St Louis with the 72nd pick (5th round).  McBride edges Martinez for the top spot in my rankings, Ike has been more of the consistent Running Back at this time.  Ike McBride was one of the most puzzling selections in the Season 15 Rookie Draft because none of us at Sim Scouts Inc. knew who she was.  We didn’t have a scouting profile on her, so we weren’t sure how her season would go.  So far, she has impressed us here at Sim Scouts Inc.  6 Touchdowns puts her in the Top 10 of all Running Backs.  She still needs a game over 100 yards to show the critics that she deserves the contract she was given though.  There is, however, a wrench in those plans named Cameron Collier. Collier is starting to take carries away from McBride.  The rest of her season 15 projection is in flux for the time being until we get to see if Collier is more involved in this offense or not.  Kairo Martinez, 6 games in and has shown that athletic ability that made him such an intriguing prospect out of Birmingham. He is the only rookie on this list that broke the 100-yard mark in the first six weeks (Wk 4 – 133 yds & Wk – 5 – 151 yds).  Martinez also has the longest rushing touchdown in this group (95 yard TD rush against Tulsa).  One area that has to be worked on is his receiving game, 1.57 YPR is not going to cut it.  Moving forward, Martinez is unlikely to ever be given the full workload in STL’s offensive system, but he remains an important asset to their team.  Scott Johnson was first Running Back selected in the SFL Season 15 Draft by Las Vegas Fury with the 28th pick (2nd round). His rookie season hasn’t gone the way that he might have hoped.  Johnson has fallen below expectations in his first six weeks in the league.  Johnson has struggled to adjust to Las Vegas’ offensive scheme and his receiving yards are close to his total rushing yards. The 4 WR scheme has hindered the production you would want out of a running back.  If Las Vegas decides to change their play calling, maybe also get a second Tight End on the field to help the blocking scheme.  I could see Johnson’s workload and production getting much higher as the season goes on.

Fullbacks:

  1. Cameron Collier |170 Rushing yards, 51 receiving yards, 2 Total TDs and Yards for the RB they block for: 394
  2. RE Mills | 0 Rushing Yards, 199 receiving yards, 1 Total TDs and Yards for the RB they block for: 750
  3. Laura Horrell |90 Rushing Yards, 55 receiving yards, 2 Total TDs and Yards for the RB they block for: 350
  4. Iggy Swift |95 Rushing Yards, 46 receiving yards, 1 Total TDs and Yards for the RB they block for: 354
  5. Nick Lasalla | 4 Rushing Yards, 2 receiving yards, 0 Total TDs and Yards for the RB they block for: 748

FB Cameron Collier (Round 6, Pick 96 from Boise) is looking like a man among children when he plays. He is nasty, he is old school and he is featured in both the run and pass attack for LSG Glory. We’d like to see him use that aggression to help RB Ike McBride get more established, however. FB RE Mills (Round 6, Pick 100 from Lincoln) may as well just line up at WR. He is used often in the underneath game as part of a dangerous attack out in the Mile-high city. There is a good chance by the end of the year he could be the most valuable rookie FB in the league. FB Laura Horrell (Round 6, Pick 103 from San Jose) is also holding up well to her position change, flashing some of the athletic ability we saw in her coming out of San Jose. Mexico City isn’t afraid to go as far as straight-up lining her up at WR in some formations. FB Iggy Swift (Round 3, pick 58 from Albuquerque) has a winner of a name, and his usage is high in London. He has yet to really get the ground game going but he is showing flashes in the passing game. FB Nick Lasalla (Round 7, Pick 127 and was a street rookie) was a late round pick, but he is making his name known in an underrated role. His personal stats don’t say much, but the job he is helping to do in terms of blocking for DJ Moses has no doubt been part of Arizona’s hot hand to start the season.

Offensive Line:

Jean Benazzi – Denver

Keys to success:

Denver Nightwings are 6-1

QB Josh Miller – 3rd in passing yards with 97.6 QBR and only sacked 12 times

RB Jarrod McChesney 5th in rushing yds with 10 RTD and 5.8 YPC

Zac Holldorf – St. Louis

Keys to success:

St. Louis Gladiators are 3-4

Zac Holldorf is already the highest rated OL in the entire league

RB Kairo Martinez leads all rookie rushers with 537 rush yds and 4 RTD on 3.8 YPC

Leonard Butler Sr. / Rudy Ray Dunn – Louisiana

Keys to success:

Louisiana Revolution are 6-1

QB Jonny Pichler only sacked 11 times while having a 97.5 QBR

RB Reggie Streeter leads all rushers by a MASSIVE margin with 1,176 rush yds and 12 RTD on a 5.3 YPC average.

Butch Mennor – Charleston

Keys to success:

Charleston Predators are 3-4

QB T.D. Drew has only been sacked 14 times while having a 87.2 QBR

RB Keith Swearingen is 7th in rushing with 711 rush yds and 6 RTD on a 4.6 YPC avg

Dusty Wilson – Sioux Falls

Keys to success:

Sioux Falls Sparrows are 5-2

QB Julian Tyree has been sacked less than any other QB, only 6 times in 7 games

RB Colin Hart is 2nd in the league in rushing with 923 rush yds and 8 RTD on 6.7 YPC

Jean Benazzi has been an integral part to Denver’s success. Opening up massive running lanes for Jarrod and giving plenty of time for Miller to throw, Benazzi has been a beast in the trenches. Along with fellow Rookie OL Dameco Ryans, they have shown that Denver is firm atop the SFL and ready to take on anything sent their way. Benazzi has shown he has what it takes to win battles against the SFL’s elite and keep his backfield partners upright. Holldorf has shown his grit through an up and down season for the Gladiators. Quickly rising to become the highest-rated OL in a League developing a new appreciation for the offensive line. Holldorf has done his best to open holes for the rookies he protects and on many occasions has opened massive holes for rookie RB Martinez to fly through. If Holldorf remains at OL he will undoubtedly be a coveted prize when free agency opens this winter. Butler Sr. and Dunn have shown up every game this season despite having two of the smallest contracts for offensive linemen. They have kept their QB upright week in and week out while opening gaping holes for the best rusher in the league every single game. This duo is hoping to help The Revolution rewrite the history books this year and they have done a phenomenal job so far,  helping The Revs to a 6-1 record which is tied for the best. Butch Mennor was one of the top OL prospects entering the draft and has lived up to his billing. The big mauler has been gashing defenders all season and helping Keith Swearingen light up the scoreboard on a regular basis. Charleston has been the recipient of a tough schedule, but Butch Mennor and that tough Predator offensive line have been rolling with the punches and grinding it out every down to keep their team competitive. Dusty Wilson has been a HUGE contributor to one of the league’s best teams. The numbers don’t lie; least sacked QB and the 2nd best rusher?!? Phenomenal performances by his teammates help elevate Dusty into the conversation for best offensive linemen in the league as well as the best rookie OL. My only question is that he may be a beneficiary of a stacked system and not as much of his performance may be what is contributing to those massive numbers. While Wilson is undoubtedly a force, it remains to be seen if he is the sole reason that SXF is this successful.

Tight Ends:

Adam Williams – Lone Star

Ranked 3rd among all TE’s – 36 Receptions for 611 yards, 4 TD’s Averaging 17 yds per reception

Phil Kos – St. Louis

15 Receptions for 261 yards, 4 TD’s – Averaging 17.4 yds per reception

Garrison Blue – Las Vegas

19 Receptions for 158 yards, 2 TD’s – Averaging 8.3 yds per reception

Varadin Zharkov – Florida

16 Receptions for 146 yards – Averaging 9.1 yds per reception

Williams’ stats are through 6 games, as he was hurt in week 1 against Arizona.  Through those 6 games, he is averaging 101 yds per game and has been a staple in the Lone Star offense and he is helping his fellow rookie, QB Ace Fenech, get acclimated to running his offense. Although their record is 3-4, this offense is much better than their record. Kos also has 6 games under his belt as he was hurt in week 3 against Chicago.  Part of an all-rookie offense in St. Louis, he compliments his receiving corps by catching his 15 receptions on 19 targets.  Just about anything you throw his way he’s going to grab to help out his rookie QB Javier Vasquez and the Gladiators. Also a 3-4 team, this is one to watch as the offense progresses. With the Fury as another 3-4 team trying to find it’s identity, Garrison Blue has helped QB Thomas Ramen move the ball.  His 19 catches on 26 targets through 7 games have helped his team with a couple of their wins.  Another team that is better than their record, Look for Blue’s numbers to increase as the last half of the season continues. As Florida keeps figuring out their offense, Zharkov has played in 6 games and is learning from a veteran receiving corps.  His 16 catches on 20 targets make him a reliable target, even with all those WR’s on the Storm roster.  Another rookie TE to keep an eye on as progressions are added.

Wide Receivers:

Connor Weston – (Albuquerque Atoms)

Eagle Mondavi – (Albuquerque Atoms)

Fox Highwind – (Boise Mud Dogs)

Paul Dillavou – (Madison Lynx)

Jean Valentine – (Ottawa Calvary)

Picking the top five rookie receivers was very challenging.  You have the first receiver taken with the 23rd pick (Louisiana) Mike Twinscrew from the Madison Lynx and you have the second receiver taken with the 25th pick (Tulsa) D.J. Hume also from Madison. Why are they not on this list of the top five?  They were chosen by teams that had their first two receivers already on the roster.  Now, they are being productive but don’t have the numbers that the top five have produced so far.  By the end of the season, this list may change.  The top five on this list went to teams that needed receiver help; therefore, they have been more productive so far.

Connor Weston (35th overall for POR), has 491 yards on 43 catches and three touchdowns.  His yard per catch is 11.4 yards.  He converted from running back to become Portland’s leading receiver.  Eagle Mondavi (30th overall for STL), has 469 yards on 37 catches and a touchdown.  He is averaging 12.7 yards a catch and been the go to guy in a rookie heavy STL offense.  You can see that these first two receivers are very similar from where they were picked to how they have produced, with Weston having a slight edge. As a matter of fact, I had Mondavi listed ahead after week five.  Weston had a better week six. Fox Highwind (48th pick in the draft by London) is another converted running back that has adjusted to the position change well. He has 35 catches for 412 yards with an 11.8 average and 4 touchdowns.  He is the leading target for the London Knights. Paul Dillavou (116th overall for STL), is another Madison product that helped the Lynx win the SFLm Championship.  He is averaging 11.2 yards a catch.  He has 38 catches for 425 yards and two touchdowns. He is the second leading receiver behind Mondavi for STL.  Jean Valentine (68th overall to POR), rounds out the list for the group.  He has 30 catches for 381 yards.  He is averaging 12.7 yards a catch, but has yet to find the endzone.   He is the second leading receiver for Portland behind Weston.  If I had to come up with an Honorable Mention it would Ryan Owens from San Jose (69th overall pick by STL).  He has 16 catches, 291 yards and one touchdown.  I would have him higher, but he is the number three receiver in a young offense behind Mondavi and Dillavou.

Defensive Tackles:

Katherine Horrell | 27 Tackles, 8 TFL, 5.5 Sacks

Luther Gond | 14 Tackles, 8 TFL, 7 Sacks

Andre Krimm | 13 Tackles, 4 TFL, 3 Sacks, 1 FR

Igor Barbartov | 15 Tackles, 6 TFL, 4 Sacks

Zach Turner | 18 Tackles, 10 TFL, 2 Sacks

DT Katherine Horrell (Round 3, Pick 64 from Madison) brings a whole new meaning to “play like a girl” because if that’s what it means to play like a girl, some of the guys in this draft class have some catching up to do. The Horrell family is doing just fine in their rookie year in the league. Anchoring a new team’s defense front is no easy task, but she has handled it very well thus far into the season. DT Luther Gond (Round 2, Pick 38 from Lincoln) hit the weight room and ate his Wheaties this offseason as he moved from RB to DT, and boy is he starting to flash as one of the more promising pass rushers up the middle. Easily the surprise pick of the position, but wow is he growing more fun to watch each week. He is part of one of the youngest DLs in the league, but also one of the most exciting so far this year. As we move onto DT Andre Krimm (Round 1, Pick 11 from San Jose), we all know the Krimm Reaper has a personality. Now we also know he can play football. We had him highly rated as a player coming out, and he has shown up in every way. The face of an imposing defense on a surprising Mexico City team Krimm has made his impact known often this season. DT Igor Barbartov (Round 3, Pick 66 from Lincoln) is a little bit more of a quiet player, but the fearsome Frenchman goes about his business and does very well holding his own. There weren’t many holes in the St. Louis defense so seeing a rookie come in and hang with the veterans they have there is a little surprising. Finally one of the more controversial prospects this draft season was DT Zach “The Burner” Turner (Round 6, Pick 97 and was a street rookie) who never played minor league ball in the SFLm. He exploded onto the scene as a TFL beast, though he slowed down a bit towards the midpoint of the season. If he can get his groove back, he could finish as one of the better rookie DL prospects this season. We know he has the heart, but does he have the stamina and the skill to put together a complete season in his rookie year?

Defensive Ends:

Robert Brawer – (N/A)

Tank Hutt – (Annapolis Navigators)

Billy Ray Valentine – (Madison Lynx)

Ross Napoli – (San Jose Flight)

Joey Schwindt – (Birmingham Fuel)

Robert Brawer (117th overall to POR), he has 17 total tackles, 2 sacks, and is tied with Tank Hutt for first TFLs with 7. He is one of many rookies that were selected by Portland. The only veterans on the defensive side of the ball are the 3 LBs.  A guy that did not play in the minors, but what a great bargain to get at 117th overall. Tank Hutt (51st overall to LSV), is another defensive end that had a good minor league career.  He has 11 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, which leads all rookies and he is tied with Brawer for the most TFLs by a rookie with 7.  Billy Ray Valentine (18th overall for ATL), the rich get richer.  He has 16 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 6 TFLs.  He was dominant in the minors, he has not been asked to do much for a stout defense and yet he is averaging almost 3 tackles per game. Ross Napoli (5th overall pick by Louisiana) 10 total tackles, 4 sacks, and 5 TFLs. Has not delivered on the total tackles yet, but will get better. Joey Schwindt (61st overall for FTW), has 11 total tackles, 3 sacks and 4 TFLs. Schwindt is on a defense that is almost all rookies on the front seven, so there is a lot riding on this young man from the Fuel.  He also has one pass breakup.   My Honorable Mention would be Digger Grave from Boise (133rd overall pick by QCC), which has stood out the most because of where he was drafted. He has 11 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 6 TFLs.  He was put on a team that already had nine starters and that makes him the only rookie on the defensive side of the ball.  He has proven that he is not just there to occupy a spot.

Linebackers:

Brody Gulch – (Ottawa Cavalry)

– 72 Total Tackles – Averaging 12 Total Tackles per Game

– 6 Tackles for Loss

– 4 Pass Deflections

Clay Jones – (Boise Mud Dogs)

– 45 Total Tackles – Averaging 7.5 Total Tackles per Game

– 3 Tackles for Loss

– 2 Sacks

– 2 Pass Deflections and 3 Interceptions

David Horrell – (Birmingham Fuel)

– 39 Total Tackles – Averaging 6.5 Total Tackles per Game

– 3 Tackles for Loss

– 9 Pass Deflections

Erich Hammer – (Annapolis Navigators)

– 48 Total Tackles – Averaging 8 Total Tackles per Game

– 3 Tackles for Loss

– 1 Pass Deflection

Jeffrey Gagne – (Annapolis Navigators)

– 49 Total Tackles – Averaging 8.2 Total Tackles per Game

– 1 Tackle for Loss & .5 Sack

– 1 Pass Deflection

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Brody Gulch (4th overall) is ranked first here. With no injury history or off-field issues, Gulch was one of the safest players in the rookie draft.  I will say that he was my second Linebacker going into the draft and he changed my mind to be the best rookie Linebacker in this class.  Gulch is currently averaging 12 tackles a game and that’s tied for the league lead.  Gulch even has a fumble recovered and returned for a touchdown this season.  Gulch is a coaches’ dream with top-end work ethic and coachability. Clay Jones (31st overall) takes home the second spot in my rankings.  Jones has the most Interceptions for a linebacker.  With those 3 interceptions, Jones has shown that he is productive in pass coverage and his off of the ball skills. David Horrell (1st overall) slots into the third position in my rankings.  Anything but first could be seen as a disappointment for Horrell.  Gulch is getting almost 2 tackles per Horrell’s one.  Horrell is tied for the league lead with 9 pass deflections. Horrell has been able to sink in coverage and run with Tight Ends, backs, and receivers. Horrell needs to work on his tackling numbers if he is to jump Jones for the second spot at the end of the season.  None of these Linebackers are catching the future Defensive Rookie of the Year in Gulch.  Erich Hammer (10th overall) takes the fourth spot in my rankings.  Hammer is averaging more tackles per game than Horrell but his pass coverage is what is holding Hammer back from his next level.  Hammer’s read and react has been a bit slow, you can see that with the pass deflection numbers.  As Hammer continues to work on his game awareness, you should see his numbers start to rise.  The fifth and final spot was a tough one to pick, in the end it went to Jeff Gagne (21st overall).  If I was allowed a 5B, KT Horrell would have gotten that spot.  Gagne helps anchor the defense in London that has been getting beat on.  Gagne is averaging over 8 total tackles a game.  Gagne is in it for the long haul in London.  He is one of the most committed people I know.  He wanted to help sharpen the sword over there.  As I talked about with Hammer, Gagne needs to work on his pass coverage awareness to help break up passes in the middle of the field.  Right now there seem to be times he is caught thinking on the field and not reacting to the play.  Which you will see out of a lot of rookies in the SFL.

Cornerbacks:

Chris Stach – Portland

26 Total Tackles, 3 Pass Deflections, 5 INT’s, 2 INT RET TD’s

Derrick Majors – Portland

34 Total Tackles, 4 Pass Deflections, 3 INT’s, 1 INT RET TD

Kamran Shaw – Tulsa

34 Total Tackles, 4 Pass Deflections, 2 INT’s

Rosca Santigria – Denver

21 Total Tackles, 4 Pass Deflections, 1 INT

Bob Funk – Portland

28 Total Tackles, 2 Pass Deflections, 1 INT

Stach has been the bright spot in a very talented Fleet secondary. His big plays shine brightly and he leads all rookie CB’s in interceptions as well as interception return touchdowns. Portland has struggled this season but Mr. Stach sure has not, his numbers show his great performance and he is on pace for a phenomenal rookie season. Another Portland Corner at #2?!? Yup, you got that right. The top two performing rookie corners happen to line up with each other every game day. The duo of Stach and Majors has been deadly for Portland and its what has kept them in some of the games they have lost. Majors has been a big-play machine for the Fleet and seems to be a very sure-handed tackler in that secondary. Shaw was a bit shockingly the first CB off the board but has shown his prowess thus far for a playoff-contending Tulsa team. Shaw has done well-covering sideline to sideline and racking up 34 tackles to go along with his two interceptions. Shaw has quietly emerged as one of the top rookie secondary players and is showing the league that he intends to live up to his top 10 selection. Santigria was the second CB off the board and was the first CB into our hearts. Who can forget this man’s draft-day dance?!? I know I never will, and I will never forget seeing him patrol the secondary of the best team in the league. Rosca has filled an integral role in that Denver defense and takes whatever opposing offenses give him. His stats don’t pop off the sheet yet but make no mistake he will be a top member of this Denver secondary for many years to come! Three. Corners. From. One. Team…how did they pull it off? How did Portland manage to get three of the top 5 rookie corners in the draft? I want to meet the gentleman scouting secondaries in that front office because he knows his stuff. Bob Funk has emerged in a loaded secondary full of rookies and continues to fill the stat sheet in some form or another every week. Everyone expected those Portland LB’s to make noise but it is these phenomenal Rookie CB’s making all of the noise in Portland in their inaugural season!!

Free Safetys:

Geralt Winkler – St. Louis

38 Tackles / 12 Assists – 1 Sack, 1 INT, 2 PD, 1 FF, 2 TFL

Ezekiel Love – Tulsa

31 Tackles / 16 Assists, 1 TFL

Thomas Smith – Lone Star

32 Tackles / 8 Assists – 1 INT, 1 PD

Ben Stone – Toros

17 Tackles, 2 TFL, 2 PD, 3 INT, 1 TD

Although you have to dig deep through the FS’s to find the first rookie, Winkler is first among rookies at the position.  To go along with the rookie filled offense, the defense has a few as well.  Watching any Gladiators game, you’ll see Winkler all over the field as you can tell by his stats up to this point, he does a little bit of everything for this St. Louis defense. Switching over from running back, Love has had a steep learning curve and has done better than expected. On a 3-4 Tulsa team that has taken some tough losses, Love continues to improve and make his presence known on the field.  His numbers each game are pretty consistent but should increase as the season goes on. As Lone Star was putting together their defense, Smith joined one of the top LB groups in the league.  That may be a reason his numbers are a bit lower, but he is still there stat wise with the other top rookie free safety’s.  His numbers will surely increase as progression continues and Lone Star try to make a run for the playoffs. Ben Stone made the jump away from Quarterback to Free Safety, he was selected 34th overall by the Fort Worth Toros. Sim Scouts Inc wasn’t sure how he would react to the major position change. Stone bringing over his quarterback awareness to help on the defensive side will be a major help as they build up their expansion team in Fort Worth. The SFL is leaning towards a pass-driven league, and having safeties with the ability to play some man coverage is a hot commodity. Many safeties are too stiff to match up against a slot receiver, a tight end, or a receiving running back. Offenses seek out those mismatches, so good safeties have some man-coverage ability. Sim Scouts Inc has our eyes on this to see how Stone continues to develop as a player throughout the rest of the season.

Strong Safetys:

Shaud Allen | 50 Tackles, 1 TFL, 0 Sacks, 4 PDs, 0 INTs

Delaney Nash | 39 Tackles, 0 TFL, 0 Sacks, 1 PDs, 2 INTs

Chris Henry | 5 Tackles, 0 TFL, 0 Sacks, 0 PDs, 1 INT

Strong safety was an area very much filled with veterans heading into the draft. However, there are a few stands outs in the group and a few who are still growing into their role. SS Shaud Allen (Round 3, Pick 57 from Ottawa) leads the pack, and we can say, by a good margin at the halfway point. He had a nose for the ball in the minors and this has seemed to carry over into the majors for him as well. The secondary scout over in Portland deserves a raise because they just nailed that area of the draft. It hasn’t shown a ton win wise, but the future is bright.  SS Delaney Nash (Round 3, Pick 59 from Boise) is starting to come on stronger as we reach the midway point, he is trending up in the second half of the season. He and fellow rookie FS Ben Stone are turning into a very strong pair of rookies for Fort Worth, who is very young along with the front 7 but have some great veterans at CB who seem to be teaching Nash how to play in the majors. That pair is slowly turning into ball hawks for the Toros backend of the defense. SS Chris Henry (Round 6, Pick 109 and was a street rookie), is having rookie growing pains right now. We would say he is living up to his late-round value but hasn’t popped just yet. As the season grows older, he will hopefully grow more comfortable in their roles as well. SS may be a hard spot for rookies to play in the SFL, and it could be the main reason team went to the free-agent market over drafting them.

Kickers:

Cliff Allen – (Lincoln Rattlesnakes)

– 13 for 14 FGM – 92.86%

– 49 Yard Long

– Responsible for 28% of Arizona’s Scoring

Amy Schillizzi – (Ottawa Cavalry)

– 9 for 10 FGM – 90%

– 53 Yard Long (Twice)

– Responsible for 22% of St Louis’ Scoring

Otis Bourdeaux – (Madison Lynx)

– 12 for 14 FGM – 85.71%

– 44 Yard Long

– Responsible for 29% of Las Vegas’ Scoring

Taco Sicario – (Albuquerque Atoms)

– 11 for 12 FGM – 91.67%

– 48 Yard Long

– Responsible for 23% of Fort Worth’s Scoring

Sammy Steele – (Boise Mud Dogs)

– 9 for 9 FGM – 100%

– 50 Yard Long

– Responsible for 18% of Atlanta’s Scoring

I’ve been saying this from the start of my SFL career, that kickers need love also.  Cliff Allen leads my rankings currently.  He was on fire to start the season off and single-handedly defeated Houston by scoring 18 points himself in the 32-13 win.  If it wasn’t the scoring Arizona gets from Cliff Allen, Amy “The Leg”Schillizzi would have been ranked number 1.  Could I be showing a little bias with her ranked second?  Absolutely not!  After six weeks she has kicked four field goals over 50 yards.  Only one other rookie has made a 50 yard attempt (Sammy Steele).  Ranked third is the first-round draft pick, Otis Bourdeaux.  Bourdeaux is worth every single contract point with what he brings to the team off of the field.  He was the favorite to be the first overall kicker selected in the draft, we just didn’t think in the first round.  Las Vegas struggles a little once they get into the Red Zone. Otis has been there to mop up the mess for them, being responsible for 29% of the scored points this season.  Taco Sicario comes in 4th for my rankings, currently at 91.67% of FGM.  If this was an eating contest, Sicario would be ranked number 1 for me.  At 260 pounds, the league is still waiting to see his full kick power potential and if he will be able to beat Kramer Jackman’s SFL Record. Finishing the top five was closer than you think, Nico Cappuccino and Mat Fenech had positives to make the top five but it was Sammy Steele that jumped them.  Steele is currently still at 100% accuracy going into week 7.  The 50-yard field goal is the reason he grabbed the 5th spot from Fenech and Cappuccino. Honorable Mention to Mat Fenech with his game-tying Field Goal and game-winning Field Goal in Overtime against Tulsa.

 

 

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