The inaugural season of the FOX owned United States Football League is almost upon us, kicking off with the first simulcast football game since Super Bowl I on Saturday, April 16th, 2022, as the Birmingham Stallions will face off against the New Jersey Generals on FOX and NBC. Here on Football Sapient, we have you covered with our preseason USFL power rankings.
There is tremendous intrigue surrounding Spring Football, and over the last couple of years that they’ve been able to play while avoiding COVID (the XFL in 2020, The Spring League in 2021), the television ratings and game attendance has been better than most people would have ever expected. This year, with the USFL launching from the previously formed The Spring League, fantasy football and sports gambling sites plan to cover the league very heavily.
We will be assisting you with that coverage here on Football Sapient. Let’s start with the inaugural piece – Football Sapient’s USFL Power Rankings.
Final USFL Power Rankings
The Football Sapient USFL Power Rankings takes into consideration the value of positional groups and how much that they play into an effective team. For example, the three highest valued positional groups are quarterbacks, offensive line, and defensive line. Other positional groups, such as special teams and running backs, play much smaller factors in the success of a team.
While star players certainly attract their share of attention in the rankings, the rankings focus more on the depth and overall talent in the positional group. Quarterback, for example, is more focused on the starters, but the offensive and defensive lines are much more dialed in on the overall talent at the position and how they stack against opposition.
The rankings are compiled into an “average ranking,” made up of seventeen parts, that determines the overall strength of the team.
USFL Power Rankings 8. Pittsburgh Maulers
Best Unit: Running Backs (Madre London, Garrett Groshek, Mikey Daniel)
Worst Unit: Quarterbacks (Josh Love, Kyle Lauletta)
Overall: The Pittsburgh Maulers ended up with the short end of the stick in the inaugural draft the they had to select their quarterback last, knowing that they would have a tough uphill battle to climb. They added former ELF most valuable player Madre London, who was unstoppable in the European League, to try and balance the situation and give their offense someone to lean on. Between London and the power of Groshek, the Maulers will need their running game to keep them in football games throughout the season and hope that their defense can bail them out.
Average Ranking: 6.2941
USFL Power Rankings 7. Houston Gamblers
Best Unit: Offensive Line (John Yarbrough, Nick Buchanan, Brandon Hitner)
Worst Unit: Defensive Line (Ahmad Gooden, Chris Odom, Josh Avery)
Overall: The Houston Gamblers will have their issues across the board at the different positions as well, despite having a very talented group in their offensive line. Overall, the talent and the depth isn’t there for Houston. The issues will start at the quarterback position, where the Gamblers will be relying on former Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback Clayton Thorson. Overall, Houston doesn’t look like a team that will find its way and instead will struggle through the season.
Average Ranking: 5.2353
USFL Power Rankings 6. New Jersey Generals
Best Unit: Running Backs (Mike Weber, Trey Williams, Darius Victor)
Worst Unit: Offensive Line (Calvin Ashley, Mike Brown, Terry Poole, Robert Myers)
Overall: It’s alright when you put your faith in the running back room to rely on strength for offense, but when you don’t have an offensive line to block for them, what good does it do you? That’s where the Pittsburgh offense finds itself currently, led by former spring league legend Luis Perez at the quarterback position. They have an outstanding room in Mike Weber, Trey Williams, and Darius Victor, but lack the people to win up front. The biggest issue is that while they are loaded with playmakers, the trenches on both sides of the ball is very weak, and that will be their great undoing.
Average Ranking: 5.1765
USFL Power Rankings 5. Birmingham Stallions
Best Unit: Linebackers (DeMarquis Gates, Lorenzo Burns, Scooby Wright III)
Worst Unit: Quarterbacks (Alex McGough, J’Mar Smith)
Overall: It’s such a pity that the Birmingham Stallions, who have loaded a roster very admirably and with intriguing speed across it, don’t have the quarterback position better figured out. Alex McGough will be leading this group, and they have a lot of speed everywhere – from Coastal Carolina running back CJ Marable to former Oregon standout Tony Brooks-James, there is a lot of speed on the offensive side of the ball. If this team had a better quarterback room, I think this team would be the favorite to win the east. It’s a fun roster and they will be competitive throughout the 2022 season.
Average Ranking: 4.4706
USFL Power Rankings 4. Michigan Panthers
Best Unit: Defensive Line (Jaquan Bailey, Adele Adeoye, Cavon Walker)
Worst Unit: Wide Receivers (Jeff Badet, Devin Ross, La’Michael Pettway)
Overall: The Michigan Panthers had a chance to take Jordan Ta’amu with the first overall pick of the USFL Draft, and they selected Shea Patterson, a pick that still astounds me to this very day. Regardless, the Panthers have an outstanding defense and should be able to run the ball at will with Cameron Scarlett, Reggie Corbin, and the dual threat ability of Patterson. They’re going to be very good at rushing the passer, stopping the run, but I would imagine will give up the occasional big play. If Patterson can be consistent, this is a championship team.
Average Ranking: 4.2941
USFL Power Rankings 3. New Orleans Breakers
Best Unit: Secondary (Adonis Alexander, Ike Brown, Manny Patterson, Nevelle Clark)
Worst Unit: Linebackers (Jerod Fernandez, Vontae Diggs)
Overall: While the New Orleans Breakers don’t have the most attractive quarterback room in the league, there are a lot of other intriguing aspects to this roster that landed them, surprisingly, toward the top of the league. They have the deepest and most impressive secondary, a strong defensive front, and a suitable receiver and running back group that really balance the roster well. They’re going to be ball hawks on the back end and it’s going to make the season a lot of fun as they will be competitive across the season.
Average Ranking: 4.2353
USFL Power Rankings 2. Philadelphia Stars
Best Unit: Offensive Line (Jackson Scott-Brown, Gunner Vogel, Sean Brown)
Worst Unit: Linebackers (Gabriel Sewell Jr, Te’Von Coney)
Overall: The Philadelphia Stars benefitted from a good spot in the lottery to take a good quarterback in The Spring League legend Bryan Scott, and they loaded their offense with weapons for him to utilize and protected him with arguably the best offensive line in the league. Their defensive line is strong and their secondary should be suitable, which leads me to believe that Philadelphia is the favorite to win the North. They have the highest average across the three most important positional groups (quarterback, offensive line, and defensive line). I think this team will be fierce and competitive, and they have the target on their back across the North.
Average Ranking: 3.5294
USFL Power Rankings 1. Tampa Bay Bandits
Best Unit: Quarterbacks (Jordan Ta’amu, Brady White)
Worst Unit: Running Backs (BJ Emmons, Juwan Washington)
Overall: The Tampa Bay Bandits don’t only have the best quarterback in the league in Jordan Ta’amu, but they also have the best coach in the league in Todd Hailey. It’s a very interesting roster because there is a lot of opportunity there. While they field only two running backs, it looks like wide receiver John Franklin III, a blazing fast ex-Auburn quarterback, could play some running back too. Overall, it’s the best roster in the league. The talent at the receiver position alone is enough to drive a football fanatic wild. It’s Tampa’s championship to lose at this point looking at the season ahead.
Average Ranking: 3.2353
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