LIGHTNING DE Ranked #1 in the nation
Sports journalist Terrance Biggs, who writes for the Las Vegas Raiders, has completed his APDFL Top 50 list for the 2019 season. Sitting at the top is none other than our own defensive captain #99, Defensive End, Carlos Coler. The APDFL is one of the premiere professional development football leagues in the nation. “This is a testament to the hard work and dedication that Carlos shows every week at practice and in his leadership. He is well deserving of such an honor and to have one of our own top the best overall list is very exciting for our organization, says Tony Flot, the GM of the Lightning. Below are the Top 25 listed by Terrance Biggs per the APDFL website.
1. Carlos Coler (DL, Louisiana Lightning)
Rationale: From start to finish, no defensive lineman in the APDFL compiled a better season. Coler is not really a talk, his film and stats speak. Under those circumstances, let us look at the numbers.
69 tackles: On film, Coler shows the ability to make plays in front and the agility to funnel down the line to make stops.
20 TFL: Coler’s ability to defeat the block and break down quick enough to remain a factor against the run.
13 Sacks: Few interior linemen show the skillset to be a force against the pass.
In essence, Coler excelled from the first game to the last. Beating double teams and constant attention, Coler established himself as premier linemen. While he rarely spoke, his play screamed to anyone that witnessed it.
25. Mike Gatewood (OL, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: In Gatewood, the Dynasty enjoy a complete lineman than acquits equally versus the run and pass. Moreover, the ability to negate the bull rush helps keep the pocket clean. In addition, Gatewood’s durability never wanes during the game. Expect first quarter freshness in fourth quarter humidity.
24. LaCorey Tucker (WR, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: With 40 catches and 503 yards, Tucker easily claims this spot. More importantly, his ability to execute a full route tree gave the Dynasty the flexibility to use him in a myriad of patterns. Tucker lives to challenge corners with a quick first step.
23. Javier McGriff (WR, Georgia Cobras)
Rationale: Coupled with Lavon Downs, McGriff gives the Cobras an elite receiving corps. Averaging 17.1 yards per catch, McGriff forces defenses to account for him at all times. On any other team, McGriff assumes the lead wideout spot. However, his fits seamlessly with the Cobras.
22. Dontavious Moore (ATH, East Alabama Predators)
Rationale: How can you not place such a versatile player so high? Moore scored touchdowns passing, rushing, receiving, and picking off a pass, taking it 85-yards to the endzone. As cliché as it sounds, Moore can score from any way on the field, in any fashion. On the field, he is not a decoy, Moore is a threat.
21. Boshe Watkins (QB, P-Town Wreckaz)
Rationale: Watkins keyed the turnaround for the Wreckaz and gave them stability as a signalcaller. Among eligible passers (75 attempts), Watkins’ 58.2 percent completion percentage ranked second. More importantly, the 8.5 ypa signifies a willingness to stretch the defense.
20. Corey Wells (LB, Alabama Blackhawks)
Rationale: The unquestioned leader of the Blackhawks defense, Wells’ blend of veteran shrewdness, instincts, and timing placed him in prime position to make plays. His 63 tackles always appeared impactful, helping the Blackhawks shake early struggles. Three fumble recoveries did not hurt, either. Wells gives the Blackhawks another leader.Rarely out of position and takes smart pursuit angles.
19. Jyron Walters (QB, Crescent City Kings)
Rationale: Despite a benching, team turmoil, and a little travel roster, Walters constructed a respectable season. He ranked second in passing yards and third in touchdowns. Walters does not show apprehension in throwing the deep ball.
18. Tye Dunklin (RB, Alabama Blackhawks)
Rationale: Dunklin, despite playing in a talented backfield, caught attention. By using his explosion to bound away from defenders, he opened eyes in 2019. Dunklin gives the Blackhawk a home run threat. Not to mention, he should the requisite
17. Savon Morris (OL, Gulf Coast Gators)
Rationale: The anchor of the Gators’ line, Morris affords QB Tyrone Jones the ability to worry less about his blindside. Morris uses leverage and power to thwart wide-rushing ends. In the run game, he bears downhill on defenses. Mauler.
16. Patrick Campbell (Edge, Tuskegee Ayrmen)
Rationale: Everyone knew how Campbell would fare after leaving Prattville. Yet, no one should be surprised to see him excel. Film shows the same strength, pursuit, and ability to finish. Campbell feasted on the outside, giving the Ayrmen their best pass rusher in years.
15. Shaun Jones (ATH, Crescent City Kings)
Rationale: Occasionally playing both sides of the ball makes someone a two-way player. However, Jones would play offensive line, then turn right around to play defense. Finishing fourth with 66 tackles, Jones added 11 TFL and 6 sacks, he earned this spot due to production, and an insane will to compete.
14. Rico Ruffin (DB, Gulf Coast Gators)
Rationale: Ruffin’s seven interceptions and ability to close on the ball spurred a Gators secondary that limited opponents. More importantly, his awareness and presence of mind helped the Gators’ secondary markedly improve in 2019. Versatile and excellent feel for the game.
13. Harry Burke (LB, Alabama Tigers)
Rationale: With 86 tackles, Burke claims this spot. Add in a league-leading 21 TFL, 4 forced fumbles, and 5.5 sacks, Burke easily climbs into thirteen. On top of that, his film shows a player in on a plethora of plays. If he plays in 2019 with this production, a Top 10 spot is not out of the question.
12. Roderick Gladney (OL, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: The unquestioned leader and highest ranked offensive lineman on the list, Gladney will attack defenders’ weakness. If they rely on one particular move, he will counter and take that away. The ability of the Dynasty to move the ball, partially rests on his ability to dominate his opponent. Gladney fights from snap to whistle, never giving ground to any defender.
11. Joseph Weathersby (DB, Louisiana Lightning)
Rationale: Based on production alone, Weathersby earns this spot. With three pick-sixes and three forced fumble, Weathersby finds the ball in various ways. Additionally, he showed a knack for blitzing, notching 1.5 sacks and four TFL.
10. Lavon Downs (WR, Georgia Cobras)
Rationale: No wideout enjoyed a better season than Downs. If you solely focus on the film, Downs’ production becomes evident. He fights for every route. More importantly, Downs earned the trust of his quarterback. Hands down, the best wideout during the 2019 season.
9. Amos Tatum (DB, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: Tatum’s film supersedes any stats. From the snap, he attempts to manhandle the wideout. However, he possesses closing skill. More importantly, Amos interjects himself in the run game, as he sifts through the wash and locates the receiver. Ball skills, timing, and physicality remain his calling cards.
8. Louis Ellis (DL, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: If he doesn’t miss time with injury, Ellis jumps into the Top 5. Why? With game-altering disruptions, Ellis crushes the pocket, forcing the play o the outside. Single blocking him is risky at best. Running up the middle remains futile. Despite his injury, Ellis finished seventh in sacks (8).
7. Justin Robinson (ATH, Alabama Blackhawks)
Rationale: Although Robinson found his way to the Blackhawks, his overall influence on the game did not change. On defense, he continued to impact games. Thirteen sacks and twenty tackles for loss allowed Robinson and the Blackhawks to make a lengthy postseason run. Despite operating away from his beloved 4-3 defense, Robinson still managed to assert his will on the opposition.
6. LeSteven Jackson (ATH, Mississippi Dynasty)
Rationale: No other player affects the mood of his entire team more. When you play the film of Jackson, focus on his team, look at their level of play. While the Dynasty operates as well-oiled machine, Jackson is the engine. At quarterback, he enjoyed an almost 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio. In addition, Jackson lined up at running back. Added another championship, still young enough to add more..
5. Jarod Lewis (RB, Georgia Cobras)
Rationale: Leading the league in rushing yards, Lewis 7.1 yards per attempts screams playmaker. With that said, he fought for extra yards, running around and occasionally through weak arm tackles. Lewis, confounded defenses with speed, agility and the burst to score at any time. At 25, Lewis could maintain this spot for the foreseeable future.
4. Tyrone Jones (QB, Gulf Coast Gators)
Rationale: Last year, Jones tallied outrageous numbers in Pensacola. This year, Jones honed his passing and changed his approach slightly. Completing 50.9 percent of his passes and a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Moreover, Jones added 559 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground during the regular season.
3. Eugene Robinson (Edge, Gulf Coast Gators)
Rationale: With 20.5 regular season sacks and more in the playoffs, Robinson entrenched himself as an elite rusher. Despite weighing less than the average pass rusher weighs, he excelled in his role, terrorizing left tackles and making life miserable for quarterbacks.
2. Dion Graham (QB, Georgia Cobras)
Rationale: Graham’s prodigious passing led the Cobras to within one score of toppling the Dynasty. Throughout the 2019 campaign, he managed to improve with each game. When the Cobras faced seemingly insurmountable odds versus both the Blackhawks and Dynasty, Graham kept pressing. Granted, they fell short versus the Dynasty, but no one thought the Cobras would play so close. Add in a 59.9 percent completion percentage and the Cobras under Graham served notice.