Written By Josh Farnzy
Images by Hubba Kimbrel
That first glimpse is special.
The one when your player – all decked out in those team colours – hits the field and makes an impact for the very first time.
Deep breath in.
Deep breath out.
The Class of 16 has arrived and those first glimpses have come and gone. Many are already playing important roles to help get their squads to a title game. While comparing players across positions/roles/etc is never a clean-cut endeavor, The Rookie Index aims to highlight some of the top performers at different checkpoints on the season.
Top 4 Rookie storylines
Seay-Biletsky Thrown into the Fire
Opportunity – that’s what getting drafted to a team starting with many young players affords a playmaker like Kevin Seay, running back for the DC Dragons. Someone of Charlie Biletsky’s (rushing the ball in Florida) calibre (See what I did there? Buehler? Is this mic on?) as the feature back also allows for chances.
The dudes are getting touches.
Through two games:
- Seay: 40 carries, 141 yards; 22 catches, 90 yards.
- Biletsky: 24 carries, 95 yards, 2 TDs; 24 catches, 94 yards
Their versatility, as reliable safety blankets in the passing game, will allow both of them to grow and grow before our eyes. It’s a two-horse race for top rookie running back so far.
Is Jonel Ritter the early steal of the draft?
Tulsa is off to an 0-2 start, but there are certainly bright spots shining from Oklahoma. Few have shone as much through two games as the play of rookie linebacker, Jonel Ritter.
Through two games, Ritter has been all over the field – punching in for 20 tackles (8th in entire SFL), 4 TFL (tied for 10th overall) and a couple of PDs to show his versatility. Drafted 52nd overall in the third and final round, the Desperado scouting department is looking very smart for taking this former Salt Lake City Rustler.
Tritz ‘the Blitz’
I am going to go ahead and claim credit for this nickname. Patent pending on all ‘Tritz the Blitz’ t-shirts and merchandise.
Dan Tritz at Mexico City had two sacks on Opening Day as well a number of quarterback pressures that have offenses up late at night. While DTs are not always the biggest stat padders, expect Tritz’s impact to help his linebacker and defensive back teammates to boost their respective stat sheets as he gets better and better.
Patent pending, Dan.
There Be Dragons Here
With DC having so many selections in the most recent draft, they could have their own Rookie Index.
While Seay is leading the offensive charge, their best defensive player thus far?
- Former Birmingham Fuel safety-turned-cornerback, Eric Gugger
Gugger’s transition to corner has been a smooth one thus far. With 15 tackles, 3 TFL and 3 pass deflections, Gugger is starting to force opposing coaches to think about game-planning against him just a bit. He is one of the best defensive backs versus the run and a primo ballhawk…er…ball-dragon.
One last thing…
The four starting rookie quarterbacks have a combined 5-3 record, including Christian Brown and Colin Pierce who have St. Louis and Las Vegas, respectively, undefeated thus far.
Trust the rookies!
See you next time.