AAF QB Draft Grades



Written By: Roy Countryman @Blitzalytics @PreacherBoyRoy

Graphics By: Robert Robinson @Blitzalytics @RobRobGraphics

Team Graphics Courtesy of Alliance of American Football


The Alliance has completed its inaugural Protect or Pick Draft, and we here at Blitzalytics would like to thank all of you folks that joined us on our live stream in conjunction with the event. We encourage you to stay tuned in to Blitzalytics for all of our AAF insights and breakdowns. Today we are going to give our QB draft day grades for each team. Without further ado...




Round 1 (Protect): Josh Johnson- San Diego State

Round 2: Mike Bercovici- Arizona State

Round 3: Philip Nelson- East Carolina

Round 4: Alex Ross- Coastal Carolina


Recap: With the first selection in the history of the AAF QB draft, the Fleet decided to protect one of their own, and for good reason. Josh Johnson has NFL experience and a tremendous skill set that will shine through in a Mike Martz/Jon Kitna style throwing offense. His experience definitely played a key role in this selection due to the start of the season being around 70 days away. There is tremendous value in being able to quickly put together a playbook that can be translated. The other 3 QBs selected all have one common denominator: they can throw on the run and get outside of the pocket. I personally like Nelson’s game the most out of the final 3 picks due to his gunslinger mentality, and that he possesses a more advanced grasp of quarterbacking inside the pocket. It would not surprise me to see Nelson take to the coaching and have the opportunity to start next year, after Johnson gets a chance to get back to the NFL.


Grade: C+


Projected Depth Chart

1. Josh Johnson

2. Philip Nelson

3. Mike Bercovici

4. Alex Ross



Round 1(Protect): Aaron Murray- Georgia

Round 2: Matt Simms- Tennessee

Round 3: Peter Pujals- Holy Cross

Round 4: Justin Holman- UCF


Recap: The combination of Brad Childress and Michael Vick decided to protect arguably the most talented QB in the draft — a wise move all the way around. But the next pick was truly a head-scratcher. Yes, Matt Simms has some NFL experience, mostly of the preseason variety, but there were a number of QBs that I felt had way more arm talent than he does. This decision surely came down to nothing more than wanting an experienced backup, which is all that Simms should be considered to be at this point. The final two QBs selected are nice projects that need time to sit and learn the small intricacies and nuances of a pro-style offense. Holman has a higher upside than does Pujals, just do to his stature and arm talent. A tremendous pick at the beginning of the draft, but a lot of questionable decisions after that.


Grade: C-


Projected Depth Chart

1. Aaron Murray

2. Matt Simms

3. Justin Holman

4. Peter Pujals




Round 1 (Protect): Troy Cook- Tennessee-Martin

Round 2: Christian Hackenberg- Penn State

Round 3: Brandon Silvers- Troy

Round 4: Zach Mettenberger- LSU


Recap: Considering the fact that Mike Singletary had to adjust on the fly by replacing his original offensive coordinator choice with a veteran NFL positional coach, this team arguably had the best overall draft. Their first choice to protect Troy Cook was a little dicey, but they must have seen some moldable qualities that they valued highly during the QB combine. Although they started off rocky, they hit a home run the rest of the way by selecting 3 of the most talented arms in the draft. They stole Mettenberger in the fourth round, and due to his NFL experience I believe he will be the clubhouse favorite to be initial the starter. But do not discount Hackenberg’s arm talent to challenge Mettenberger down the road for the starting spot. Given some time to work with the coaches in a low-pressure environment, Hackenberg could work his way back into a QB competition. Silvers is a good QB who is gritty and has an ideal skill set to be the initial backup. You can see that they will use a more pro-style offensive approach that likes to push the ball down the field using play action.


Grade: A


Projected Depth Chart

1. Zach Mettenberger

2. Brandon Silvers

3. Christian Hackenberg

4. Troy Cook



Round 1 (Protect): Dustin Vaughan- West Texas A&M

Round 2: Marquise Williams- North Carolina

Round 3: Logan Woodside- Toledo

Round 4: Dalton Sturm- UTSA


Recap: Mike Riley made some interesting decisions on draft day, including the choice to protect with their Dustin Vaughan over the likes of Luis Perez or Austin Appleby, who I feel have far more upside. Obviously, Riley values Vaughn's ability to show consistent accuracy and ball placement, as well as his ability to perform under center. I do have to give the coach credit though, because he got a nice blend of athletic, accurate, and smart QBs to complete his draft class. Williams is one of my favorites of the draft pool due to his scrambling ability, and he also possesses a strong arm and an understanding of how to work out of a pro-style offense. Sturm is an intriguing talent as well due to his ability to scan a defense and understand how to go through progressions, despite even mostly playing from the spread. Woodside has the upside of a decent backup due to his accuracy but simply cannot push the ball downfield consistently enough to be a starter.


Grade: B-


Projected Depth Chart

1. Marquise Williams

2. Dustin Vaughan

3. Dalton Sturm

4. Logan Woodside



Round 1 (Pick): Luis Perez-Texas A&M- Commerce

Round 2: Blake Sims- Alabama

Round 3: Scott Tolzien- Wisconsin

Round 4: Alek Torgersen- Pennsylvania


Recap: Tim Lewis came away in the first round with one of the greatest underdog stories in this draft. Perez is a good athlete that is raw in all the small intricacies of the position but possesses tremendous upside. They went for the hometown kid in Sims in the second round, which I see as more of a ticket attraction than the best QB available. I believe you may see some trick plays at hand, a la Saints style with Taysom Hill. They hit the jackpot in the third round due to the tremendous amount of experience that Tolzien has from backing up for multiple years in the NFL. Torgersen, or more affectionately known as “The Norwegian Nightmare,” is a fun project due to his ability to get the ball out quickly and his understanding of how to manipulate DB’s. Great job of mixing high upside players with players with a lot of experience.


Grade: B+


Projected Depth Chart

1. Luis Perez

2. Scott Tolzien

3. Blake Sims

4. Alek Torgersen



Round 1 (Pick): Trevor Knight- Texas A&M

Round 2: John Wolford- Wake Forest

Round 3: Quinn McQueary- Montana Tech

Round 4: Jack Heneghan- Dartmouth


Recap: I absolutely love and respect Arizona’s GM, Phil Savage, and his ability to evaluate prospects, but I think the combo of Neuheisel and Freeze may have sold him on finding a QB to fit in their system rather than based on upside of arm talent. You can obviously see with these picks that they will be running a spread system that utilizes a bunch of RPO’s and maximizes the athleticism of the QB position. Knight is a QB that is a rugged runner but lacks a lot of refinement in the passing department. He got some exposure in the NFL during the preseason and seemed to learn a little of what it takes to succeed from the likes of Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan. He should also be a factor in the 2-point conversions after scoring due to his running abilities. McQueary has the highest upside of all the QBs taken due to his ability to throw the ball to all three levels of the field with accuracy and touch, as well as his good elusiveness. Henegan is a spread QB that throws with good touch and accuracy, but is not the best athlete in space. Wolford is also a spread style QB that has an average all-around skill set. A lot of darts thrown at a board, just not sure any will be bullseyes.


Grade:D+


Projected Depth Chart

1. Trevor Knight

2. Quinn McQueary

3. John Wolford

4. Jack Heneghan



Round 1 (Pick): Garrett Gilbert- SMU

Round 2: Stephen Morris- Miami(Fl.)

Round 3: Austin Appleby- Florida (Purdue Transfer)

Round 4: Kevin Anderson- Fordham


Recap: The Ole’ Ball Coach has done it again, coming up with a tremendous crop of QB talent that he can be quite happy about. He picked his starter in the first round in Gilbert, who was very impressive while playing for the Carolina Panthers this preseason. Gilbert showed off great arm talent and an ability to throw into tight windows. He has experience running a spread system as well, as he was tutored by one of the best in June Jones while at SMU. Not only did the Apollos get one of the best arms in the first round, but they hit on back-to-back rounds with two more of the most talented QB’s in the pool. Morris had a decorated career at Miami as a strong-armed thrower who could roll outside of the pocket, and also showed some real flashes while playing for the Colts. Appleby is a huge kid at 6’5” and has tremendous arm talent, plus athleticism to break the pocket and scramble for big gains. Their last pick is an energizer bunny of a spread QB that only has a middle of the road arm strength, but overall is an intriguing lottery ticket.


Grade: A+


Projected Depth Chart

1. Garrett Gilbert

2. Stephen Morris

3. Austin Appleby

4. Kevin Anderson




Round 1(Pick): Josh Woodrum- Liberty

Round 2: B.J. Daniels- USF

Round 3: Austin Allen- Arkansas

Round 4: Matt Linehan- Idaho


Recap: Dennis Erickson had a decent draft overall and went with an interesting blend of QB’s with differing styles of play. Their first round pick was a home run. Woodrum excels in all the areas of play that identify with an Erickson-style offense, and he is great at standing tall, scanning the field, and delivering accurately. Daniels was an interesting pick due to his outstanding athleticism outside of the pocket, but fits with his arm strength and ability to drive the ball consistently in the intermediate and deep parts of the field. Allen is squarely in the backup conversation given his tons of college experience and well-rounded skill set without any standout traits. Linehan is a lean-bodied QB who struggles with his footwork, leading to him having serious accuracy woes. Overall great pick at first with some experience, and questionable picks towards the end.


Grade: B-


Projected Depth Chart

1. Josh Woodrum

2. Austin Allen

3. B.J. Daniels

4. Matt Linehan


*A sidebar for all AAF readers — it was not announced what will become of the QB’s that were not selected during the draft. They are under contract with the AAF and we are all curious to see if they can be signed to any of the 8 teams as an undrafted free agent. We will keep our ears open, and keep you informed of any updates on this matter.

Most of the AAF teams will be hosting a mini-camp in mid-December, and then will be going through a full-blown training camp. The next notable date to keep in mind is January 30th, 2019. That is when all AAF roster will have to be pared down to the 52 player limit.


The AAF QB Draft was an outstanding success. Stay tuned to Blitzalytics, as we will have continued coverage of all things AAF, including write-ups on the offensive lines and defensive players.

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