16. Monarchs (2.4) As bad as this team is, I think there are a few things to feel good about. It’s boring but the Monarchs had one of the best offensive lines last year. They have a young secondary that has potential and as dumb of a trade as it was, having Montrell Lansanah should help this team out quite a bit. If Donavan Rhodes hits his potential, he has the O-line to have a very good season. Other than that, there isn’t much to look forward to and this will be the worst team once again.
15. Tigers (2.5) It’s a real shame how the draft went for the Tigers. They had a chance to get their franchise QB but instead they ended up with a talented but less important Jaco Goliath at a position that they didn’t really need. Beyond that, there isn’t a ton to get excited about. Their defense is below average with decent potential to do some good things. Joey Lott is one of the bright spots on the team and him with young Hunter Rosen could be some good weapons. Billy Johnson may be the biggest question mark of the bunch having no expectations for this season. As much as I want to speak Rob Slater into the Orange and Black, I do wanna see if Billy Johnson can be a starter in this league. Regardless of who the QB is, Unless it’s Jabre Jackson, this team isn’t even sniffing the playoffs.
14. Condors (2.6) The Condors are a year or two away from being competitive. They will live and die by Chase McCoy and as many have pointed out, he hasn’t really lived up to expectations. With Giguere and Caulcrick, he should be able to give the Condors a solid season again. Their offense is passable, but their main problem this year will be on defense. They have one of the worst front sevens in the league and their Secondary won’t be able to bail them out. The only people I trust on Defense are Ray-Ray Franklin and Adrian Dodge and even Dodge could have been a one year wonder. The Condors once again will only get as far as McCoy can drag them and as we have seen, that isn’t very far.
13. Desperadoes (3.0) The Desperadoes aren’t in a great situation for now or the future. They are aging in most of their positions including O-Line, DB and LB which are their best position groups except RB. Obviously with Te’Veon Hall in the locker room, they are set as long as they can hold onto him but beyond that, what do they really have that will keep teams up at night? Cecil Austin is good but without a talented QB, where is he? Kevin Crockett has potential but he still has a long way to go before he is a Quality QB. They are missing Ethan King a lot in that secondary and the Chester Brace pick isn’t looking too hot at the moment. I would be very surprised if Austin turns out to be a playoff team.
12. Diablos (3.1) The Diablos have some great positions and some really bad positions. They come in with one of the top O-Lines led by Dillian Rollins and Davasia Cleveland. They also have a pretty good receiving core and a secondary with a lot of potential (hello Jacolby Haskins). They also still have Aaron Pritchett and although he has taken a step back is still a good option to have. The big problem is that it doesn’t look promising in the backfield and at LB. While he is very young and has some speed to him, I’m not betting on Madison Axel as an every-down back. The Biggest game changer will be the Defensive line with the addition of Timothy Staton along with William Yost having another year of growth there could be something there. There are a couple of bright spots but I would not bet on the Diablos.
11. Wizards (3.2) The Marzards are a solid team that have a chance to be really good this year. I gave them Very high marks on their LBs and Secondary Lead by Levi Mack and Sito Torres. They have Cornell Mickens in the backfield which is a great start and along with a very solid Tyler Agramonte and last year's breakout Sean Acosta, they should have a good offense as well. Their main problem will be along their offensive and defensive line but even still, they might be just good enough to win. The averages hurt their team but they should be good if everything holds.
10. Lancers (3.5) The next 3 Teams have the same raking so I let myself pick between them. The Lancers have disappointed hard in the past and this last year while impressing a little bit but ended horribly. They don’t really have a weakness but it's simply getting the most out of the talent they have. Trey Maison, Risean Gary, and Colt Cruise haven’t lived up to the hype but if they are coached right, they could be a great threat. Cason Fine is amazing and Cole McAnnaly and Sean Carter at S it’s a good enough defense. The main thing is Coach Rieger making use of the guys that he has.
9. Shamrocks (3.5) The Shams are a bit top heavy but they should be a good team. Tom Wilson and Lester Gadsen are elite and should dominate the offense. I’m very high on Dominick Moore and Joqua Snow as a duo this year and Craig Chapman and Stephen Dailey fill out a pretty good defense. Their biggest weakness is the O-Line but Tom can escape a weak pocket. Their receivers are young but they need to start getting better if they wanna compete. The Shams will be in the hunt this year but it is yet to be seen if they can get in there.
8. Barons (3.5) The Barons have been talked up by their Coach all offseason and I think they will be alright. Kenny Steele has all the talent in the world. Joe Johnson, Amari Manuel and Patrick Bain together should be one of the best in the game. They have a lot of solid defensive talents and now that they have added Ethan King, it better be one of the best in the game. Ryan Brinker is the big question mark. If he is able to run the offense, he should be able to get this team to the playoffs.
7. Crusaders (3.7) The Cru have basically the same ideals as far as winning is concerned. Give the Ben Wakefield the ball and don't look back. Elijah Bentley and Alex Colt are a good duo and Vondray Bryson is decent enough to get the job done. Not to mention they have a solid O-Line that give that extra second you need on those deep bombs. The Defense is solid at best but they have couple good players that might be able to get them by. Wilcox and Bacon are a great duo and AJ Bowen was a great pick in a spot they really needed.
6. Elks (3.8)
Top O-Line. Darius Martin. 2 things that the Elks have that are hard to come by. Ty Johnson and Antuan Buck are two scary dudes at LB and Garrison Ash is a Top 5 RFL no doubt. They don't have a ton of talent on the D-Line or at WR but if young players like Eli Payne and Roy Kincade can step up in a big spot, they could be very scary. Kyle Bane has shown that he is good enough to win in the playoffs but this team is probably not the T-Birds of old so he also needs to step up his game. Watch out for the Elks if Bane gets a hot start.
5. Gunners (3.8)
While they are getting a pretty generic logo, the Gunners are far from generic. Jabre Jackson can cover a lot of problem spot on an offense and make it really great. Ronnie Nickens still might have some potential so if they can get something out of him, they could have a 2-headed monster out of the backfield. Carlton Scruggs will make his debut in the league and with DeAndre Cayion make some of Jabre's best weapons ever. And while the front seven leaves a lot to be desired, they still have a very good DB core and O-Line. This might be Jabre's best team in the RFL so I'm expecting big things.
4. Snowhawks (4.0) The Snowhawks are going to surprise a lot of people next year because of how their season went last year but lets not forget how good this team is. Joe Guidugli, DJ Scott, Carus Currie, and Keelan Linton are still on this offense and are set up to have great years. And let’s not forget about the future star that can be rolled out at any time by the name of Jacob McDonald. And a solid O-Line completes this offense that should do a lot of great things this year. As far as the defense goes, I’m a little worried about the front seven but if Coach O’Brien can scheme it right, he can get the most of this group. And with one of the top secondaries in the game with Victor Sills and Casey Lott as the cornerstones, they should be able to cover some holes. This team will be competitive and might even turn out to be championship material.
3. Steamers (4.0)
The Steamers are one of the most exciting young teams in the game. They have some of the scariest weapons in the RFL and if they avoid the injury bug, they should be fighting for a championship. No matter what you think of his “INTs problem”, Reed Wagoner is an elite QB that will make you pay more times than none. Romeo Jackson and Eric Reese are incredible and if Miles Kerrigan can stay healthy, they will be as scary as anyone. Their Defense has only gotten stronger with Monsieur Chappell in the back end and the continued growth of the pieces they brought in last year. It’s the absolute best but it should be good. The Steamers should be able to beat anyone if things go their way and I’m not even being paid to say that.
2. Thunderbirds (4.0)
The Thunderbirds are in prime form. The Red Wall in Toronto is thriving and may even be better than it was before. This defensive line was already one of the best in the game and now they have added Rashard Sippio to the locker room, who is a pretty great rotational pick if you ask me. The Drafting of Eric Stoughter allows Derek Gonzalez to move to Safety and make one of the scariest secondaries in the game. And you have 2 of the top LBs in the game and you have a very scary core. So how is this team only 3. Well they don’t have a go to option in the passing game. Rookie Dean Staley will be forced into the starting line up and it’s far too early for that. Leonard Corbin might be able to make stars out of this crew but I would be scared. They have a strong core of RBs and we will get to see if General and McDaniels are system players. If the offense can hold up their side of the bargain, this team will be dominant but I just don’t see it yet.
1. Explorers (4.4)
Before you call me a homer, take a look at the roster that the Explorers have put together. Are there questions? Of course but while the other teams at the top of the list have obvious possible weaknesses, I don’t see it on this team. Worrell might be considered a weakness by some just looking at his performance in the championship game but he had a great year last year that was soured by one game. Biggest game of his life yes but one game nonetheless. And with a whole year of CJ Robinson (hopefully), This offense could be even better. There is so much young talent on the offense it is actually ridiculous. And the defense is just as good. They had three D-Lineman over 10 sacks (one over 20) and add to that an uber talented secondary and you once again have one of the best defenses in the league. This is the team to beat in the NRC in my eyes.
What did you think of the list. Stay tuned for articles like this one telling you what you need to know about the RFL.