This is Jason Miller, future SFL insider and draft analyst. This past weekend was the Simulation Football Leagues Season 16 Rookie Draft. It was full of highs and lows. We had shocking picks, ponytails from Craven, owners in robes, and everything else in between. I do want to give a special shoutout to Commissioner Cameron Irvine for all the hard work he did to put on this amazing draft from a production standpoint. The draft panels did a great job as well. So where do I fit into all this SFL world?? Well, my thought was going into the writing world. Being able to provide my opinions on the draft. So I have always planned on writing a winners and losers column for the draft. Remember these are my sole opinions. So here are the Season 16 Draft Winners:
CAROLINA SKYHAWKS – A
Round 1 Pick 8 – DE Cliff Grizzly
Round 2 Pick 29 – FS Monte Wyatt
I wrote in my Millers Mock that Carolina was having a fantastic offseason so far and that the luck might roll into the draft. Well it did. Holding the 8th pick in the draft I predicted that Grizzly would be their guy and they took him. He is going to be a monster for that much improved defense that now has Takess and Vasquez.
Coming back into the second round taking a guy like Monte Wyatt from San Jose was a really good pick. A big body at 6’ 3″ with speed to spare, he is going to make that secondary something to fear in the Atlantic Division. With how this whole offseason has gone for the Skyhawks, this team might earn my SFL Team to Watch in Season 16…
VANCOUVER LEGION – A
Round 1 Pick 17 – LB Josh Farnzy
Round 2 Pick 37 – Achilles Papatonis
Vancouver had an excellent draft. The only thing that went wrong was that GM Michael Percoco still had that framed picture of owner Andy Hamilton in the background! With a face like that you would think these draft picks would be scared crossing the border into Canada (Sorry Andy). I joke, but in all seriousness they couldn’t have done better.
Starting the day with pick 17 they were able to get the #2 LB prospect in Josh Farnzy. I had him at pick 11 to QCC, but him falling to 17 was a shock to me. They haven’t had a LB with this much upside since the Twinkie Bandit Doug Day. Farnzy should be a cornerstone piece for Andy and the Legion for many seasons to come. If used right, Farnzy could be in the discussion for ROTY.
Day 2 pick for the Legion was one of the hardest picks I had to make. I had them taking FB and I was off by a mile! I thought about DE but wasn’t sure they would go this route. Getting the top rated DE in Achilles was an even bigger shock than Farnzy falling that far. Achilles was a first round talent for sure and the front office of the Legion was partying hard after this draft.
LONDON KNIGHTS – A-
Round 1 Pick 4 – K Jack Lewis
Round 2 Pick 25 – CB Emmanuel Blackman
Round 2 Pick 42 – LB Syrok Black
The Knights had an interesting offseason for sure. Bringing in the former GM of the Season 15 Champion Baltimore Vultures Chad Roland and promoting Tanner Hendrix to DFO, you knew this team was going to be different than seasons past. With 2 seasons of going 4-20 the only way to go was up. Their first round pick was easily predictable as they took the only kicker on the board in Jack Lewis. Jack was not only the kicker but a scout for San Jose as well and should provide instant value not only on the field but off the field as well.
Leading off Day 2 of the draft they set the tone early by drafting FS Emmanuel Blackman. A London native that is converting to CB this season should be an interesting move. I can see him blossoming as a shutdown type of CB and adding to that CB squad that has Tanner Hendrix and Brandon Ewing is a smart move going up against all these passing attacks in the SFL.
Rounding out their draft they selected Syrok Black from the SFLm Champs, the Albuquerque Atoms. The 6th rated LB was, I believe, a steal and could be a key piece in that revamped front 7 this season.
ARIZONA SCORPIONS – A-
Round 1 Pick 13 – FS Vernard Smith IV
Round 2 Pick 33 – DT Max Night
The Scorpions had only 2 picks in this draft but they made them count for sure. It’s why they got the A- grade. Lets dive deeper:
I assumed that the HOFer Eddie Gauge was going to say “Waddup Doe” to Vernard Smith IV, and I couldn’t have been more correct on this. This was a match made in heaven for sure. Being able to learn alongside Eddie Gauge could be a “passing of the torch” if you will for the HOFer. This was just an excellent pick for them!
Coming back into the second round the Scorpions would look to add to their front 7. They did so by getting the 3rd rated DT on my board Max Night. I had picked the position correctly for Arizona but I had O’Brannon going here instead of Night. Night is going to fit in nicely and I can see him being a valued member for seasons to come.
So with every winner there must be losers in this draft. These teams made some odd choices in their draft and we will analyze those right now:
DC DRAGONS – D
Round 1 Pick 2 – RB Kevin Seay
Round 1 Pick 23 – Josh Gill
Round 2 Pick 41 – Ziggy Hronec
Round 3 – Too many to list
So where do I begin? I mean its not totally their fault they made this list. They had only 5 players on the roster with 2 on offense and 3 on defense, so they had a ton of holes to fill. The one that kind of stands out to everyone is the 2nd overall pick in Kevin Seay, especially when you already have Suge Targaryen on the roster. I know there are talks about maybe going to a 2RB system down the road in the SFL but why now? I mean they aren’t the only team that did it(FLA). Maybe they know something that I don’t, but I just don’t understand it. Could have got him at pick 23, could have gone so many different ways with that top pick. Let’s see how it plays out for them!
I did like Josh Gill, however, I think they could have gotten better value at pick 23, I mean they could have probably got Seay at 23. In my mind they could have taken someone on the defense to help out like maybe CB Mike Scott, or LB Sean Moore, or even the top DE Achilles Papatonis. It’s going to be an interesting season for sure with DC.
Portland Fleet – C-
Round 1 Pick 3 – LB Gary Clem
Round 1 Pick 24 – CB Leo Morris
As I said, It’s hard to grade the losers cause really all these teams made some good picks. Just one or two of them are kinda making me say “Why”? So for Portland lets start by saying I like Clem at 3. Clem was the #3 rated LB and should be a great piece for Portland.
Where I am confused is Leo Morris. Leo was the 11th ranked CB on my board. I actually assumed he would be part of the DC 3rd round. But taking him as the #3 CB off the board was a shocker to me. Maybe I didn’t do my homework on Morris, but with guys like Mike Scott and Ralgar Lawe there at 24 I think this one was a swing and a miss. Its no offense to Morris as I am sure he is probably a nice guy and Portland must have seen something in him. However, to me, the value was too low for a first round grade.
Jacksonville Kings – C
Round 1 Pick 18 – LB Keenan Samuels
Round 2 Pick – LB Jay Mart
My Millers Mock predicted that the Kings would take LB with the 18th pick. They had the pick of the litter as only Clem #3 and Farnzy #2 were off the board. So where did they go? Well they went LB but not who I thought, Keenan Samuels #9 LB was taken. Now I know Frank knows his stuff so it will be interesting to see what Samuels will turn out to be. There were plenty of better LBs in my mind at 18. They could have went Ronnie Watson #4, Devin King #1, Maverick Hughes #5, or Syrok Black #6 but going with the 9th best LB was an interesting choice for sure.
Then they come back in the second round and pick Jay Mart #11 LB on the board. With Watson, Black, and even Ryan Ray #7 Still there I was surprised they went to Mart here. I hope it pans out for Jacksonville because they did leave some value on the board.
So that is my breakdown of the draft. Overall a lot of teams did good in this draft. As I mentioned before, some just had some questionable calls which I listed out my reasoning for. Now that rosters are finalized we are so close for the new season to start. I want to wish everyone a Happy Holidays from the Future SFL reporter Jason Miller…