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USFL 2022: Pittsburgh Maulers Playoff Hopes On The Line, First Round Draft Pick Kyle Lauletta Released

This past weekend was week 6 of the USFL season, and the Pittsburgh Maulers needed anything but a loss to continue their journey in possibly getting a playoff spot, but are they teetering on the verge of being mathematically eliminated from any hopes of a playoff spot? Let us break down the only scenario in which the Pittsburgh Maulers could make the playoffs this season.

Major Help

After losing this past weekend’s game again, the New Orleans Breakers and the Pittsburgh Maulers will need a gift from above to get into a playoff spot but going into week 7 it isn’t 100% out of the question yet. This Sunday, the Maulers will face the red hot 6-0 Birmingham Stallions and fight to clinch the number one playoff spot, so the task will not be easy.

The remaining three games will be the most demanding ever, but if they can sweep the next three games, they could get into the playoffs in back-to-back weeks. The Maulers will face Stallions (6-0) and the Generals (5-1) and then slowly but surely turn their season around the Stars (3-3), with rumors that their QB Bryan Scott could be returning from injury.

The only scenario is that they must knock off the 6-0 Stallions this weekend and continue winning and hope that the Stars go on a losing streak. It would be a miracle, but it is not entirely impossible. After Sunday, they will be mathematically eliminated from the playoff spot, where two teams (Stallions and Generals) will have the chance to punch their tickets for a place in Canton, Ohio, for the playoffs in their respective divisions.

Maulers Release First Round Draft Pick Quarterback Kyle Lauletta

Pittsburgh Maulers have cut Kyle Lauletta, who played in four games for the Maulers with 31 completions out of 64 attempts with a 48.4% completion percentage. He threw for 269 yards, 0 touchdowns, and was sacked only three times. Shortly after announcing his release the New Jersey Generals claimed Lauletta off of waivers, this release comes after the Maulers went out and grabbed a new QB Roland Rivers III out of Slippery Rock, who will most likely be the backup for Vad Lee. Pittsburgh Maulers would sign four free agents between the 24th and 25th of May, and they are as follows.

Roster Updates

The Pittsburgh Maulers and most of the other teams this week went through roster transactions pretty early in the week, which possibly could be the make sure these players are all activated for this weekends games as we get closer and closer to the final weeks of the 2022 USFL season. Below are the four free agent signings that Maulers made this week so far.

K States James Gilbert competes against Nicholls at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan Kansas on August 31 2019

RB James Gilbert, Kansas State; 5’10, 190 Pounds, from Indianapolis, Indiana, played for Ball State for parts of four seasons. He was in the top 10 all-time in school history with 2,806 rushing yards out of 603 rushing attempts and had 30 touchdowns while adding 21 receptions for 165 yards and one touchdown as a receiver. It was not until 2019 that he would catch the attention of new K-State head coach Chris Klieman through a mutual acquaintance, and Klieman secured his services for the Wildcats. Which was a vast successful decision when Gilbert led K-State with over 141 rushes for 737 yards and six touchdowns. On the receiving side of the house, he caught six passes for 49 yards. Gilbert would finish his career 10th nationally amount active player in his career by rushing for a total of 3,543 yards and 36 touchdowns.

QB Roland Rivers III, Slippery Rock; 6’3, 230 Pounds, from Ellenwood, Georgia, started his college career at Valdosta, whereas as a freshman, he played in 10 games in 2015 and went 43 completions out of 66 attempts with a 65.1 completion rating for 548 yards, 6 touchdowns, and two interceptions. And then shared Quarterback duties in 2016, going for 123 completions out of 218 attempts with a 56.4 completion rating for 1,312 yards, 13 TDs, and 8 Interceptions in just eight games. Roland then would miss the entire 2017 season due to surgery for a torn labrum. But would then transfer to Slippery Rock following his quarterback coach, Justin Roper, as Justin took over The Rock’s offensive coordinator position.

Roland would take over after just three games, the starting position into his junior season, starting 12 games, with 198 completions out of 341 attempts with a 58.1 QB Rating, for 2,721 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions while rushing for 137 yards with 7 rushing touchdowns. He would go on into 2019, winning the Harlon Hill Trophy as the top player in Division II and earning first-team All-American honors from AP (Associated Press) and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Offensive Player of the Year. Roland set many school records completing 322 of 481 passes with a 67.0 completion rating for 4,460 yards and 52 touchdowns, throwing only 7 interceptions. He would also rush for 164 yards with 9 touchdowns. He would lead Slippery Rock deep into the playoffs for a second straight season.

Look for Roland to either be a dual-threat choice for Coach Wilson to tag team up with Lee; this could be the answer the Maulers are looking for to take a shot at ending the Stallion’s undefeated streak on Sunday.

DT Will Miles, C. Methodist, 6’6, 275 Pounds from Chicago, Illinois, played for two years at Central Methodist University, playing in 19 games, recording 56 tackles, 34 assists, and 12 sacks for 72 yards. Miles looks to bring a formidable force as a defensive tackle to help the Maulers get more sacks to prevent the offense from getting any positive yardage.

WR Jalen McCleskey, Tulane, 5’11, 165 Pounds from Knoxville, Tennessee, played his first four years of college at Oklahoma State in the BIG 12 conference playing 42 games catching 167 receptions, 1,865 yards 17 touchdowns. During his final senior year at Tulane, he would play in 13 games for 37 receptions, 581 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Jalen would get an opportunity with the New Orleans Saints as he signed a reserve/futures contract on January 18th, 2022 but then waived on May 16th; within two weeks of being waived, the USFL and the Pittsburgh Maulers contacted him to join them in Birmingham. 

With four new free-agent signings, these players bring much experience in college to the table to give Vad and now Roland some players to work with between Jalen and James; we believe due to it being early into week 7 that, all four players will be eligible and playing in game 7 this Sunday against the Birmingham Stallions. Don’t be surprised if the Maulers continue to make roster moves to freshen up their team going into the season’s final four weeks.

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