The USFL’s season is approaching quickly! With training camps in full swing, some notable transactions, and the inaugural game set to kick off in less than 2 weeks, it’s a good time to do one last power rankings before things get rolling.
While there hasn’t been a drastic change in the rankings since after the supplemental draft, a few notable adds/drops have shifted things slightly.
1. Tampa Bay Bandits (Previous Rank: 1)
The Bandits remain atop the power rankings heading into week 1 despite losing their most experienced receiver in Eli Rogers and a few other quality players.
While Rogers is gone, The Bandits are still a high-powered offense with plenty of weapons for their quarterback Jordan Ta’amu. Additionally, the team’s brought in former NFL and CFL wide receiver Rashard Davis to help fill Rogers’ place.
Rashard Davis has spent time on the practice squads of the NFL’s Eagles, Raiders, Chiefs, and Titans. He’s also spent time on the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ active roster in the CFL and was drafted by the XFL’s DC Defenders, although he did not officially sign with the team.
Other players added by Tampa Bay are Zac Dawe and Jalen Booth. Dawe is a defensive end who played 3 seasons at BYU, totaling 81 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 13.5 tackles for loss in that time. The other addition for the Bandits is offensive tackle Jalen Booth, who should do an excellent job bolstering the offensive line at 6’4″ and 375 pounds.
- WR – Rashard Davis
- DE – Zac Dawe
- OT – Jalen Booth
- WR – Eli Rogers
- DE – Adam Shuler
- OT – Tyler Catalina
2. Pittsburgh Maulers (Previous Rank: 2)
The Maulers are still sitting in the number 2 spot heading into week 1 despite losing one of their running backs in De’veon Smith, who was expected to take a large portion of the carries on this run-heavy team. However, they’ve replaced Smith with another back who’s more than capable in Madre London.
London is an experienced running back out of the University of Tennessee, who most recently dominated the European League of Football‘s (ELF) inaugural season. He’d win the league’s MVP award, was named an ELF All-Star, and was named to American Football International’s 2021 All-Europe First Team as the top running back in Europe. In 10 games with the Cologne Centurions, London took 303 rushing attempts for 2,177 yards (7.2 YPA) and 23 touchdowns, averaging 217.7 yards per game, with his longest run of the season coming on an 86 yard scoring play. London’s also had stints in The Spring League and Fan Controlled Football before getting involved with the ELF.
Other players signed by the Maulers are 6’5″ 310-pound offensive tackles Justin Evan and former Carolina Panthers fullback Mikey Daniel. It’s becoming quite clear the Maulers want to run the ball and don’t care who knows. The way Kirby Wilson’s built up this team, it sure seems like they’ll be able to do it.
- RB – Madre London
- OT – Justin Evans
- FB – Mikey Daniel
- RB – De’Veon Smith
Did Not Report:
- OT – Isaiah Battle
- RB – Winston Dimel
3. New Orleans Breakers (Previous Rank: 3)
The Breakers stay in the number 3 spot after adding a few nice pieces to their defensive backfield and bolstering their offensive line.
The most significant loss for the Breakers may be cornerback Derrick Jones, who was drafted by the team without informing the USFL of his contract with the CFL’s Stampeders. Jones denied he’d committed to the Stampeders and the Breakers released him on April 1, 2022.
Jones’ replacement will be cornerback Nevelle Clarke, who played college ball at Central Florida and played in the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl. Clarke’s also spent time with the Minnesota Vikings but injured his foot in training camp and was later released. Most recently, Clarke spent time with The Spring League’s Generals.
Another new face will join Clarke in the defensive backfield, former XFL Los Angeles Wildcat cornerback Mike Stevens. While Jones will likely be more heavily leaned on, Stevens should not be overlooked as a quality slot corner.
The Breakers also added Kai Absheer, a 6’4″ 335-pound offensive tackle out of Florida International. Absheer allowed only 1 sack during his senior season and should be a nice addition to New Orleans’ already good offensive line.
- CB – Nevelle Clarke
- OT – Kai Absheer
- OG – Brandon Rolfe
- CB – Mike Stevens
- CB – Derrick Jones
- OLB – Diondre Wallace
Did Not Report:
- OT – Donnell Greene
4. Philadelphia Stars (Previous Rank: 4)
The Stars remain seated in the 4th ranked spot heading into week 1 despite losing Safety Jack Tocho, who was expected to be an impact player for Philly.
Tocho’s replacement will be Safety Evan Worthington out of Colorado, who’s spent some time in NFL training camps. Worthington is a taller cornerback at 6’2″ and a versatile safety who can also play in the slot. He ended his college career with 167 tackles, 15 pass deflections, and 4 interceptions in 36 games (15 starts). Most recently, Worthington spent time with The Spring League’s Generals for their 2021 season.
Philly also added another quality tight end to the mix, in former TCU standout Pro Wells. Wells played 3 seasons at TCU and totaled 32 receptions for 403 yards and 9 touchdowns in 26 games (6 starts). Initially, it was reported tight end Bug Howard did not report to training camp, but a later report confirmed Howard did arrive in Birmingham and is with the team. With the addition of Wells, the Stars appear to have the league’s best tight end room on paper.
- S – Evan Worthington
- TE – Pro Wells
- OT – Mike Rodriguez
- OLB – Solomon Wise
Did Not Report:
- S – Jack Tocho
5. New Jersey Generals (Previous Rank: 7)
The Generals are the first team on the list to have actually moved since last time and take the number 5 spot after a few very nice additions.
The biggest loss for the Generals appears to be quarterback Ben Holmes, who was released a few days ago after breaking a toe in practice. It’s not currently clear if Holmes will return to the USFL once he’s healed in roughly 5-6 weeks. However, Holmes’ replacement is more than qualified to fill in and, honestly, might be a better option anyways. Ben Holmes will be replaced by quarterback Luiz Perez, who’s spent time with the NFL’s Rams, Eagles, and Lions, as well as the AAF’s Birmingham Iron, the XFL’s LA Wildcats and New York Guardians, and The Spring League’s Jousters. Most recently, Perez led The Spring League’s Jousters in 2021, where his team made it to the league’s championship game. Unfortunately, they’d lose 26-23 against TSL Lineman.
Cam Echols-Luper, is another quality addition for the Generals, a versatile wide receiver who’s gained experience playing a handful of different positions, including quarterback and running back at times. With rules like the double-forward pass and smaller roster sizes, a swiss army knife such as Cam Echols-Luper could quickly become an asset to Mike Riley’s offense.
Other additions include tight end Woody Brandom and defensive end Deyon Sizer. Brandom is 6’5″, 260-pounds, and a capable blocking and receiving tight end out of Sam Houston State. In his final 2 years of college, he recorded 37 receptions for 419 yards and 1 touchdown in 31 games (20 starts). Most recently, Brandom spent time with TSL Aviators for their 2021 season.
Deyon Sizer is a defensive end out of Colorado State who’s spent the past 3 seasons bouncing on and off the Denver Broncos practice squad. Sizer only appeared in 1 game for the Broncos and recorded only 1 assisted tackle. He ended his college career with 138 total tackles and 10 sacks in 41 games.
- QB – Luis Perez
- WR – Cam Echols-Luper
- TE – Woody Brandom
- DE – Deyon Sizer
- QB – Ben Holmes
- WR – Christopher Platt Jr
- TE – Carson Williams
- DE – Malik Hamner
6. Birmingham Stallions (Previous Rank: 5)
The Stallions get bumped down a spot heading into week 1 after some nice moves made by the Generals. Only one roster move occurred for the Stallions this week, with the team releasing defensive tackle Haston Adams and adding his replacement, Jordan Thompson.
Jordan Thompson is a 6’3″ and 292-pound defensive tackle out of Northwestern who’s spent a bit of time with the San Francisco 49ers and XFL’s Seattle Dragons. While in college, he started in 35 consecutive games until missing the Holiday Bowl with an injury. In that time, Thompson made himself known as a key part of TCU’s run defense, ending his college career with 91 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks in 50 games (36 starts).
While he didn’t earn any playing time with the 49ers, Thompson did play in all 5 (starting 4) of the XFL’s games in 2020 and recorded 14 total tackles and 1 sack.
- DT – Jordan Thompson
- DT – Haston Adams
7. Michigan Panthers (Previous Rank: 6)
The Panthers get bumped down a spot in the rankings after minimal roster movement, along with some nice additions by the Generals that moved them up the board.
The largest addition for the Panthers appears to be defensive tackle Walter Palmore out of Missouri, who’s gained experience with the NFL’s Texans, Cowboys, Seahawks, Panthers, and the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks. In his 2 seasons at Missouri, Palmore played in 22 games (13 starts) and totaled 44 tackles and 1 sack. Additionally, Palmore’s only appeared in 1 NFL game and 1 XFL game but underperformed in those opportunities.
The other addition for the Panthers is offensive guard Cordel Iwuagwu out of TCU, who’ll replace Marquell Harrell after he didn’t report to camp. Iwaugwu spent some time on NFL practice squads, including the Houston Texans in 2020 and the Cleveland Browns in 2021.
- DT – Walter Palmore
- OG – Cordel Iwuagwu
- OLB – Tre’ Threat
Did Not Report:
- OG – Marquel Harrell
8. Houston Gamblers (Previous Rank: 8)
The Gamblers remain at the bottom of the rankings heading into week 1 as they haven’t made any moves and have the most question marks around their head coach, quarterback, and supporting cast.
It surprised me the Gamblers didn’t make any adds/drops this last week, considering they have what seems to be one of the weaker teams on paper. I guess Kevin Sumlin’s feeling confident with what he has, so we’ll see how that works out for him.