Yesterday was the Alliance of American Football’s inaugural QB draft. All eight alliance teams selected four quarterbacks from a group of former NFL guys and college quarterbacks who didn’t quite make it in the pros.
The first round was oddly formatted, with each team being allowed to “protect” a local quarterback, and not allow him into the draft pool. Four teams chose that course of action, while the remaining half of the league selected from the remaining talent pool like a normal draft.
San Diego Fleet
The Fleet kicked off the draft last night by protecting former Buccaneers quarterback Josh Johnson. Johnson, who went to the University of San Diego, bounced around the NFL for 8 years, starting five career games, all of which came in Tampa Bay. With their second pick, San Diego selected former Chargers camp arm Mike Bercovici. Bercovici was a one-year starter at Arizona State, having a good 2015 with the Sun Devils.
San Diego’s final two selections, Philip Nelson and Alex Ross, were rather uneventful. Nelson went to school at the East Carolina, and Ross, who was the AAF’s first ever Mr. Irrelevant, went to Coastal Carolina.
The Legends stayed local with their first-round choice, protecting former University of Georgia standout Aaron Murray. Murray spent two years in Kansas City after the draft, where he was coached by current Legends coach Brad Childress. None of the Legends’ later picks were anywhere near as big of names as Murray, but to be fair to them, Murray was one of the biggest names out there.
Atlanta went to the NFL ranks again with their second pick, selecting former Jets QB Matt Simms. Simms didn’t do anything in the NFL, but it’s impossible to say he doesn’t have pro football in his blood. Peter Pujals, from Holy Cross, was Atlanta’s third-round selection. Justin Holman, Atlanta’s fourth pick, was replaced by current UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton in college. He also spent last season as Johnny Manziel’s teammate with the Montreal Alouettes.
The Express made the first surprising selection of the night, choosing to protect former UT-Martin quarterback Troy Cook over Zach Mettenberger, the former Titans starter. The other uneventful pick Memphis made was former Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers, in the third round.
Mettenberger would end up on the Express, but he fell until the fourth round before coach Mike Singletary was able to scoop him up. Mettenberger also wasn’t the first former pro starter taken by Memphis. Christian Hackenberg, one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the Penn State football program, was Memphis’s second-round selection. Hackenberg is also well-known for his stint with the New York Jets, where he wasn’t able to keep his job. Yes, he got benched by the Jets. That’s hard to do.
San Antonio Commanders
The Commanders probably had the most boring draft of anyone last night. Their first selection, West Texas A&M’s Dustin Vaughan, has the most pro experience, spending two years with the Ravens practice squad. Their second-round pick, Marquise Williams, played his college ball at North Carolina, where he started ahead of current Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
Logan Woodside, formerly of Toledo, was their third-round selection. Woodside was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017 but never made a 53-man roster. Their fourth pick, Dalton Sturm, was another local guy, going to school at the University of Texas – San Antonio.
The Iron are going to be a fascinating team to watch. They were the first time not to protect a quarterback, selecting former Rams camp arm Luis Perez. Perez was one of the biggest stories on CBS’s broadcast last night, as he didn’t play football until high school. Their second pick was also talked about a ton, as they took former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims.
Sims is reunited with his former college running back Trent Richardson. The last time they played together, though Sims was on the bench, the Crimson Tide won the National Championship. Birmingham’s third selection was Scott Tolzien, who spent a large chunk of his career backing up elite NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck. He also backed up Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick throughout his seven-year NFL career.
Birmingham’s fourth pick was Scandinavian quarterback Alek Torgersen, who played his college football at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Hotshots made a splash with their first selection, taking famed Oklahoma Sooner and Texas A&M Aggie QB Trevor Knight. Knight was a former Cardinal and Falcon camp arm, but couldn’t last in the NFL for either team.
Their final three picks were, unfortunately, nowhere near as eventful as taking Knight in the first round. John Wolford, formerly of Wake Forest, was in Jets camp for a little bit. He was their second-round pick. Third-round selection Quinn McQueary played his college ball at small-town Montana Tech. Jack Heneghan, Arizona’s fourth-round pick, spent some time this offseason with the 49ers. He played college football at Dartmouth.
The Apollos opened their night taking Garrett Gilbert, formerly of Southern Methodist University. Gilbert was a sixth-round pick of the then-St. Louis Rams in 2014, before getting cut. His only active roster experience came last year with the Carolina Panthers, though he barely played.
Orlando’s second pick was former Colts quarterback Stephen Morris. Morris has also bounced around the NFL, but never got any playing time at any stop. The Apollos selected Alex Appleby, formerly of the Purdue Boilermakers and Florida Gators, with their third selection, and then former Fordham QB Kevin Anderson with their final selection.
Salt Lake Stallions
The Stallions selected a familiar name with their first selection. Josh Woodrum, who has bounced around the camps and practice squads of six different NFL teams since his days at Liberty, was Salt Lake’s top choice. Their second choice, B.J. Daniels, was the only quarterback selected last night that currently has a Super Bowl ring. He won one with the Seattle Seahawks, back when they beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
With their third pick, the Stallions selected former Arkansas Razorback Austin Allen. Allen was in camp with the Buccaneers earlier this year but didn’t make the roster. The Stallions’ fourth pick was Matt Linehan, son of current Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.