Sun Devils Shake Things Up From The Top Down By: Dash Shedboat
There is a new sheriff in town and his name is Brock Ali. The Sun Devils just announced the new Owner and President of Football Operations as well as new Head Coach Raul Diaz. Gm Brian Reed also shakes things up by announcing the team will be releasing the 14 year vet drafted in the 4th round, Anthony Holm. The two time champion holds all of the passing records for the team as well as earning League MVP honors in 2025 and 2027. This announcement shocks the world because it comes soon after the Sun Devils gave Holm a 3 year contract extension worth more than 6 million dollars.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Head Coach Diaz feels he has a playoff team on his hands. We will see if he can prove all the doubters wrong after this team won only 6 games and missed the playoffs last season. After the release of Holm, 37 the Sun Devils will have two young quarterbacks in Raymond Wentworth, 26 and Joshua Myers, 23 that will battle it out in the preseason to see who will win the starting role. This year is already shaping up to be an interesting one. We look forward to bringing you all of your Sun Devil news this season.
Round One is in the Books: Top Ten Draft Pick Grades By: Dash Shedboat
Its Official!, we are at the end of the 1st round of the 2036 CFA Draft. There are still plenty of talent left on the board as we move into the second round. Today we take a glance at the top ten picks and how we feel the teams did to improve their teams.
A - Good fit or good value B - Solid fit or solid value C - Questionable fit or questionable value D - Bad fit or bad value F - Why?
Pick #1: CB Luis Dunning - Berlin Blitz College: Oklahoma Draft Grade: 94 Team Grade: B+
Luis Dunning is unquestionably the best player in this year's draft. From the University of Oklahoma. Dunning was projected as going number three in the draft to the San Diego Raptors by both Jim Knox and Larry Moore, but the Berlin Blitz decided to go with the best player available with the overall number one pick. While being the strongest and one of the fastest on the team without even walking in the door, he has a lot to learn about tackling in the CFA. Everyone raves about his work ethic and competitiveness, going from the best player in the nation to the 4th best corner on your team, we will see how much he values getting playing time and being a team player while he sits. With an already talented set of corners, Dunning is projected to sit, but you can't teach speed. Dunning brings the speed to keep up with practically any #2 receiver. This pick does lead to questions about what they will do with Bruce Griffin, 28 who is in a contract year.
Pick #2: WR Douglas Boettcher - Birmingham Bulls College: Houston Draft Grade: 90 Team Grade: C+
The Birmingham Bulls missed out on the obvious number two player in the draft in DE Roberto Patton also passing up on talents like C Charles Henning and CB Don Corbin, which all fills a need and project as immediate starters. But with the number two pick the Bulls selected WR Douglas Boettcher out of the University of Houston. Starting this off season with less then 15 players under contract, the Bulls’ front office has been on the phones countless hours early in the free agency period, already adding 10 players during this period. At this moment Boettcher will be in the slot this year and will look to help out with his cheetah-like speed, but his lack of endurance may show as he makes the leap from college to the grueling professional season. Boettcher will have a heap of pressure on him this season as the number two pick but with his level of competitiveness and work ethic the Bulls may have found a gem.
Pick #3: DE George Jackson - San Diego Raptors College: Penn St. Draft Grade: 89 Team Grade: C+
San Diego surprised everyone on this pick. The Raptors are a pretty well balanced team, and the team seemed to attempt to fill one of its few needs this year at DE. George Jackson was the consensus number two defensive end to choose from. But we did not think he deserved to be made a top 3 pick. We did hear Jackson had an amazing pro day for the team, this had to put the DE at the top of their list despite R. Patton received a draft grade of 89 and Patton a 93. We believe the answer should have been Roberto Patton, the actual number one rated DE in the draft. Patton would have competed for the starting position right away, whereas Jackson will most likely be a well paid back up for the foreseeable future.
Pick #4: DT Jerrell Gass - Tampa Bay Sentinels College: Purdue Draft Grade: 87 Team Grade: B
With only one DT going into the draft, Tampa Bay had a difficult choice between filling a position at CB or DT, both lacking talent and depth; the pick was spent on DT Jerrell Gass. The only reason this grade is not an A is because Gass was rated the number two best DT available. Passing over Joshua King, a top 5 player this year with a draft grade of 92 and Gass with a grade of 89. Some would say King was the obvious choice but Gass brings a heightened level of Sportsmanship and a high level of work ethic. We will have to revisit Gass vs King’s career in a couple of years to see who would have been the better choice. Today it is Gass because he is the one getting paid like a top 5 pick.
Pick #5: CB Don Corbin - St. Louis Stallions College: Alabama Draft Grade: 92 Team Grade A
With this pick at number 5 St. Louis gets the 3rd overall available player and the number two CB in the draft, Don Corbin. This pick checks all the boxes, with a deep range of top tier players to select from best available, the team set out to get top five talent and they got it. Corbin fills a need, lacking in depth, he will be listed as CB #3. But his talent may propel him in to CB #1 next year. Day one he steps in as the fastest cornerback and best tackler on the outside. The talent Corbin adds to the position allows for the team to let Walker Foy, the current number one CB to walk this upcoming off season and still keep a high level of play for the following season. Foy turned 30 this year and is the only veteran present in the cornerback room.
Pick #6 DE:Roberto Patton - London Bulldogs College: Duke Draft Grade: 93 Team Grade : A+
Roberto Patton is rated the 2nd best player overall this draft only behind #1 draft pick Luis Dunning. To see a talent like Patton fall outside of the top 5 was surprising when he was rated the number one defensive end this year. Especially with San Diego drafting George Jackson ahead of Patton with the number 3 pick. Patton walks in as the starter opposite Hugo Tice, his leadership skills and ability to tackle will be the things the pick can lean on as he steps into a talented defense.
Pick #7: DE Ricky Burdette - Las Vegas Scorpions College: California Draft Grade: 85 Grade : C-
This pick by Las Vegas is the one that puzzles us the most. Ricky Burdette was not very highly rated at all going into the draft. He was the second fastest defensive linemen available running a 4.70 40 yard dash, and Roberto Rogers DE running a 4.69 dash time. He was arguably a top 10 DE this year, but a top ten overall player he is far from. Burdette probably would have still been available early in the second round. But with the top two ends already off the board, Burdette brought what nearly no other end could have brought to your team, SPEED, but we will see if he can crack the starting lineup this year.
Pick #8: TE Larry Dallas - T - Trinidad Sharks College: Mississippi State Draft Grade: 91 Grade : C+
With the second offensive player taken off the board Larry Dallas. The TE was rated top ten talent overall in this draft. There is no surprise that he is drafted in the top ten, but to Trinidad Dallas will be joining two top tier TE’s the league has to offer slotting the draft pick as the #3 TE. Rumors around the league were that with 7 out of the top 20 players being on the offensive line, the Sharks were looking to upgrade the o- line. Larry Moore’s mock draft had the number 7 pick being guard Samuel Moulton, and center Ronald McKay projected by Jim Knox at the pick. Larry’s work ethic is off the charts, but having to sit as the third TE will test how Dallas works as a team this year.
Pick #9: CB Damon Davis - Cincinnati Predators College: Oregon Grade : A
As the third best CB in the nation this year the Predators get their man. With an aging group of corners Davis is drafted as the CB of the future for this team. Davis is listed as the number 4 CB at this time but with the other 3 guys all over the age of 30, Davis could see some early playing time to ensure his development. The corners that were under contract before the draft all had a minimum of 3 years left on each deal, this may lead to more time that Davis can sit and learn behind this veteran group.
Rounding out the top ten draft picks in 2036, WR Daryl Duckwork will be a number one receiver in this league one day. Rated as the number 2 receiver with a draft grade of 89, only behind Douglas Boettcher the number 2 pick this year with a grade of 90. Duckworth is the clear number two receiver available. He will get playing time year one behind aging wide outs, Hipolito Cruz, 32 and Daniel Grey, 36. Both will be in the final year of their contracts. After a year of development, with his work ethic, he could be the number one WR in 2037.
Top 25 Draft Prospects: Where did they land? By: Dash Shedboat
Berlin Blitz does end up with the first overall pick, but the New York Knights drafts three players out of the top 25. New York lands 3 of the top backs in the nation grabbing two running backs and a full back. The only back the Knights had under contract was James Dorn, whos rookie season was cut short by the injury bug fracturing his hip in the first preseason game and then another fracture, but a skull fracture that ended his season in week 12. The biggest surprise was how far running backs Donnie Minor (New York) and James Gaston (Houston Pride) fell. Drafted late in the 3rd round the backs are still drafted top 5 of all backs drafted thus far, Minor and Gaston does fill the final two spots. Falling right outside of the top 5 overall spots is Roberto Patton, the clear number two player in the nation to declare this year. Falling to the London Bulldogs at six, Patton will fill a need a defensive end. He will be expected to start right away grading only behind Hugo Tice, 27 who had a down year last season logging 6 sacks in 14 games, where in 2034 he racked up 10 sacks in the same amount of time. The Houston Pride and Frankfurt Vampires both get a steal in the second round being able to still grab top ten talent in C, Hugo Knox and SS, Lorenzo Kirkpatrick. As the 2036 season approaches and the draft concludes these teams will still have some decisions to make while filling out the roster this offseason.
Player Pos RD Pick Team Draft Grade
1. Luis Dunning CB 1 1 Berlin Blitz 94
2. Roberto Patton DE 1 6 London Bulldogs 93
3. Don Corbin CB 1 5 St. Louis Stallions 92
4. Charles Henning C 1 16 Frankfurt Vampires 92
5. Ronald Mackay C 1 19 Arizona Vipers 92
6. Joshua King DT 1 13 Nebraska Plainsmen 92
7. Hugo Knox C 2 46 Houston Pride 92
8. Lorenzo Kirkpatrick SS 2 48 Frankfurt Vampires 91
9. Larry Dallas TE 1 8 Trinidad Sharks 91
10. Damon Davis CB 1 9 Cincinnati Predators 91
11. James Prince C 1 18 Portland Reavers 91
12. Douglas Boetthcher WR 1 2 Birmingham Bulls 90
13. Jose Phillips G 1 12 South Beach Sun Devils 90
14. James Conner RB 1 15 Washington Freebirds 90
15. Jere Luke RB 1 24 New York Knights 90
16. Justin Crocker C 1 27 Jersey Bayhawks 90
17. Allen Lee QB 1 17 Chicago Wolves 90
18. Dennis Christensen C 2 43 Mexico city Conquest 90
19. Harry Corral SS 2 57 San Francisco Hammerheads 90
Round 1 Pick: 12 Jose Phillips G College: Virginia Draft Grade: 90
Jose Philips drafted out of. Virginia, adds strength and mobility to this offensive line, and much needed youth. With Jay Thompson and Michael Paige both in a contract year. But 34 and 30 respectively. It appears the team will look to part with one or both of their veteran guards with this pick, as Thompson is showing signs of regression during training camp. 25 yo Ricky Gilliam also in a contract year will be a key piece to resign this off season.
Poland will fill a need bringing depth to the safety position. He will sit behind 26yo James Parker, who has not given any indication whether he plans to test free agency or not this offseason. If he walks the Sun Devils will still be solid at FS with Poland, he is a high IQ guy and not unlike most other rookies will have to work on his body to be able to sustain a full CFA Season.
Round: 3 Pick: 12(76)
Carlos Numbers C College: Cincinnati Draft Grade: 88
Carlos Numbers will be fighting to make the active roster this year it appears, with Andrew Goldstein locked in as starting center. Goldstein is 30 with 3 years left on his deal and has hinted at retirement when that time comes. The real battle is for the back up position. Antonio Bolden has the upper hand with his one year in the league under his belt, but lack of endurance and the mental mistakes could propel Numbers to backup even though Bolden is a better blocker hands down.
Round: 4 Pick: 12(117)
Vincent Dubose CB College: Texas A&M Draft Grade: 85
The corner back position for the Sun Devils are arguably one of the best in the league. With James Beeler pulling in the second most int’s last season. Beeler, Eric Hanson and Marcos James all receive player grades of 100 for 2036, and with two more players with ratings in the 90’s Dubose would have to everything go his way to break the starting line up this year. Beeler and James both would need new contracts next season and with limited cap space We could see Dubose take the field as soon as next year.
Round: 5 Pick: 12(156)
Ronald Snowden FB College: Arkansas Draft Grade: 82
This pick was somewhat of a surprise, starting the off season with out a FB on the roster, the Devils signed Mark Briseno (77) to a 3 year deal, all signs pointed to Mark being the guy. There has been no word on any issues with another player or staff or any off the field issues but with only a few FB declaring for the draft the Devils decided to pull the trigger with Snowden with three fullbacks off the board by the time the team was on the clock. They must have felt they got their guy because soon after the released Mark Briseno.
Round: 6 Pick: 12(196)
Juan Solis OT College: Northwestern Draft Grade:85
The Devils did not necessary have a need at the tackle position this year. But looking to the offseason the team has 3 guys that are in a contract year. And a 32 year old with 2 years left in Carlos Eastman. Juan being under contract alone helps with depth, but that is all, he lacks the ability to run block consistently as well as the football IQ to identity the blitz.
Round: 7 Pick: 12(240)
Joel Gates LB College: Georgia Draft Grade: 82
Gates is another pick for depth more so need. Again we dont expect gates to see any relevant playing time but he brings a competitiveness and work ethic to the team that could push everyone to get better.
The Sports Journalists Association has published the results of their annual division predictions. Our top twenty journalist are among those that get to vote like, Jeremy Piper, Mary Moore, Darren Francis and myself.
United Gulf: West Texas Wranglers with 11 votes
Runner up: Mexico City Conquest with 7 votes
Houston Pride (1), South Beach Sun Devils (1)
The only playoff team from the Gulf in 2035 were the Wranglers. Our journalist all agree the Wranglers will lead this division again in 2036. Receiving more than half the available votes, West Texas and the 2035 Offensive Rookie of the Year Carlos Lawless (88 ovr) should make the playoffs again this year. With the final 9 votes, 7 of them went to the Mexico City Conquest. The Conquest only winning 6 games in 35' is expected to be runners up in the division, possibly even a wild card team. Houston Pride ended the regular season as division runners up and the Sun Devils who also won 6 games last season, are predicted to bring up the rear in the Gulf receiving just one first place vote each. West Texas was quite active in the Free Agency period, signing 9 players. The rest of the division had a relatively quiet offseason. Mexico City resigned a top ranked Free Safety, 30 year old, Oliver Huntington (100 ovr) to a 3 year deal. Huntington who started all 16 games had a personal record 73 tackles and 7 intercessions on the season. The Houston Pride traded away their 2037 1st and 3rd round picks to the Wisconsin Warhawks for a 26 year old Noel Wilber LB (96 ovr) who only played in 5 games and started 4 with 22 tackles in 2035, will get a brand new start in Houston where he will compete for a starting LB spot. Wilber will be returning to the Gulf division, starting his career in South Beach with the Sun Devils having his best statistical season yet in 2034 ending the season with 100 tackles, 4 interceptions and a sack. As for the Sun Devils they are having an interesting off season, Signing the only veteran QB and passing leader for the Devils, Anthony Holm, to a contract extension then releasing him a few weeks later. Also signing and releasing FB Mark Briseno (77 ovr) after the drafting Robert Snowden out of Arkansas in the 5th round. Outside of Mark, the team picked up contract for Jesus Elias CB (84 ovr) for 4 years and Terry Riggs LB (79 ovr) for 5 years. These players while providing depth, will remain at the bottom of the depth chart, most likely no more than practice squad players.
Defensive POG: Gary Bowser - SS (COL): 4 Tck, 1 Sck, 1 Int, 1 Def TD
The Sun Devils lose in a nail biter on the road against the Coldbloods to start the 2036 preseason. The Sun Devils traveled to Germany to match up with the Coldbloods. The first touchdown on the board was a pass from Cologne's QB William Dudley (96) to the 2036 10th overall pick Daryl Duckworth (90), WR out of Texas A&M. This TD put Cologne up 7-3 in the first quarter, but the Coldbloods did not have a lead the rest of regulation, until the final buzzer. The Sun Devils would score to take the lead and Cologne would answer right back. If South Beach scored a touchdown, Cologne scored a touchdown; if South Beach made a field goal, Cologne would answer with a field goal of their own.
The final possessions for these two teams felt playoff-esque, South Beach got possession with 2:08 left on the clock after William Knoll tied the game at 20 with a 40 yard field goal. Devils QB Joshua Myers (91) methodically leads his team starting at their own 17 yard line down the field with 6 completions in a row, and a huge roughing the passer penalty to help them get inside the 15 yard line. Myers then completes the pass to Mark Bowman (94) for a 14 yard TD to take the lead 27-20. Cologne now receives the kick off on their own 26 yard line and 1:01 left on the clock, but on the first play of the drive South Beach gives up the big one! Kevin Burke completes the pass to David Story (97) for a 42 yard gain to get the team across the 50 yard mark. Burke then completes a 16 yard dart again to Daniel Gray (93) for the first down. Then from 10 yards out Burke hits D. Gray again for the score with .25 seconds left on the clock to push the game into overtime.
In the overtime, neither team could get anything going. Every possession ended in a punt for the first 9 minutes of the game. Starting their final drive inside their own 20, the Sun Devils were faced with a 4th and 5 situation with :37 seconds on the clock. Myers cant complete the pass to Bowman, turning the ball over on downs on their own 21 yard line. After two runs, on a short field to eat some clock, the Cologne had a chip shot, 29 yard field goal to win the game and William Knoll who hadn't missed an attempt all game and already draining 2 kicks over 40 yards could be heard yelling GAME! as he booted the FG for the win.
After a hard fought game, South Beach did suffer an injury to TE Timothy Cano (91). After further evaluation upon returning home, Cano is said to be out 12-16 weeks with a torn ACL. Losing Cano means this team loses their fastest player and one of the smartest of the group. Cano was in competition for the starting role with Stephen Leblanc (94) who started 13 games last season, and Albert Coe (90) who as a rookie last year took the number two spot from Cano pulling in 75 catches and two touchdowns. The Sun Devils will look to move forward to the week 2 matchup against the Las Vegas Scorpions who won their opening game against the Washington Freebirds 28- 38, thanks to the efforts of TE Daniel Dow offensive player of the game catching 6 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
If You Have Two Quarterbacks, Then You Have None: Sun Devils QB Battle By: Dash Shedboat
This off season General Manager Brian Reed announced Legendary level QB, Anthony Holm was being released. This was a shock to the football world as Holm was just given his legendary status, and a new contract to stay with the team for another 3 years at 37 years old. This announcement came at the same press conference to introduce the new Head Coach Raul Diaz. The new coach stated the team would be moving in a new direction at the position as they look to bounce back from a down year only winning 6 games.
Upon release, this left 3 young QBs remaining on the roster. Ian Zarate (88) drafted last season expected to be the practice team quarterback, and the two passers battling for the starting position, Joshua Myers (91) and Raymond Wentworth (96). Both were drafted from Florida State and both QB’s are in the final year of their deals. No one sees the team keeping both on the roster, with the cap hit each player would command after this season. Wentworth has been the projected starter since the release of Holm. Myers is able to make every throw in the book, but Wentworth has a slightly stronger and more accurate arm. While Myers is three years younger at 23 and a hair faster with wildly more agility.
In Wentworth's first two seasons he was named the starting QB but the job was given to Anthony Holm in his third year. Raymond was able to develop his leadership skills which are on full display today. The QB is not afraid to voice his opinion on this team, as much as you see him in another player's face you see more times of laughter and joking on the sidelines. Myers, lacking in experience attempting only 2 passes going into his third year in the league. The question for this team this season will be if Myers' play can out match Wentworth's experience?
In the first preseason game Wentworth received the nod to start vs Cologne, allowing Myers to showcase what he can do with the second team and he did not disappoint. Putting on a show, the QB played 77 snaps and threw 52 times for just under 350 yard and 3 touchdowns; also spreading the ball to 9 different receivers.
After months of team building and training camps, these teams finally get to play a meaningful game. With week one in the books, its time to take a look at how the teams shake up in the CFA Power Rankings. As expected, there was a lot of movement in the first week. Our biggest winner being the Berlin Blitz gaining 20 spots from the bottom of the league, number 32, jumping to number 12 winning half the amount of games won in 2035. The Rosslyn Templars are our biggest loser dropping 22 spots from 8 to number 30. The Dublin Marauders, Arizona Vipers and Chicago Wolves move into the Top Ten. Quarterback Robert Phelps throws for 4 touchdowns leading the Warhawks to the number one spot in the rankings.
After losing the teams only two preseasons, Head Coach, Raul Diaz wanted to start this season off strong with a win but could not pull it in the final minuets of the game against Houston. With a 1 yard touchdown run by Nick Jones (97) to bringing the Sun Devils within 2 points of the Pride, 22-24 with a little more than 4 minutes on the clock. The Sun Devils fail to convert a two point attempt to tie the game. Penalties and turnovers were major factors in the loss, the Devils racked up 11 penalties losing 101 yard and 3 turnovers but, the team was still competitive in the final minutes. Once Houston received the ball for their final possession, Rookie FS Terry Poland (88) was flagged for a defensive holding call giving Houston an automatic first down, then just 3 plays later DE J Milton (97) gave the Pride another first down in the final drive for the 4th unsportsmanlike conduct of the game. Houston up by two points with two timeouts and the lead ran out the final 4 mins of the game to take the win.
South Beach did not play their best game, the only team with more penalties in week one were the London Bulldogs with 12 flags thrown. Raymond Wentworth (96) threw the ball 50 times completing 32 attempts, only one touchdown but the 3 interceptions thrown played a major role in the lost. Star running back Nick Jones did not get the amount of touches he was expecting to start the season. With only 10 attempts and 20 yards plus the team being behind the whole game led the decrease in work load.
Julio Bock (100) was award the offensive player of the game ending the game with 325 yard and two touchdowns. RB Jeffery Dominguez (99) will be out 1-2 weeks with a broken finger. Rookie John Gaston (89) took on the bulk of the carries with 15, only getting 13 yards but does get his first CFA touchdown. Houston was the more composed team on this day these two teams meet again in week 12, a home game for the Devils.
In week 2 the Sun Devils will take on the Portland Reavers (0-1) who lost to the Arizona Viper week 1, 42-28. Quarterback Alfredo Wilke (99) will be another tough matchup for this defense along with Earnest Lowe (100). The reviver caught 7 passes for 194 yard 3 touchdowns, but it wasn't enough to overcome the 21-0 first quarter deficit the Vipers put them in. South Beach will have to keep this duo in check if they expect to walk out with a win.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
- Wisconsin Warharks take the top spot in the power rankings. Week 2 matchup BATTLE OF THE HAWKS! Jersey Bayhawks come to town for playoff rematch. - Willard Unger (MIN) and Carlos Lawless (WTX) lead the League MVP race, both throwing for 5 TD in first games. Numbers White (NY) only defensive player on list. - Mexico City players complain Wranglers play dirty for wins. - Berlin looks to tie 2035 win total against worst team, Cincinnati in week 2.