29 June 2021
By: Terrance Biggs
Sheboygan, WI - When deciding the order for the 2021, we take the same criteria into consideration. Nothing changes from year to year. First, quality film takes priority. No film, no list. POINT, BLANK, PERIOD! Every January, I ask teams for cooperation. Those who don't are left befuddled, as to why their players remain off the list. Nothing foggy or grainy is acceptable. Next up are statistics. Now, to be honest, certain stats and film misalign and we automatically disregard them. Lastly, who did you perform against? If you lead the league in a category but racked up monster stats versus sub-par teams, that gets taken into consideration.
With that, the following are No. 50 through No. 26 for the 2021 season.
50. Michael Braggs (WR, Steel City Raptors)
Rationale: The second Raptor on this list, Braggs averaged 25.8 yards per reception. More importantly, nineteen of his twenty-four catches occurred while facing playoff teams. Braggs posted three one-hundred yard games in 2021. If he stays in the APDFL, he will be one to watch.
49. Matthew Kelly (LB, DT, DE, FB, OL, East Alabama Predators)
Rationale: When called to play other than his customary linebacker position, Kelly excelled. When he did stay at the linebacker spot, the former Auburn product performed. While forty-six tackles may not seem like a tremendous number, film shows that Kelly missed less than a handful. Plus, seven tackles-for-loss doesn't hurt.
48. Quasi Myers (EDGE, Hubcity Hellcats)
Rationale: By tallying 14.5 sacks, Myers shocked the league with such a strong start. His blend of flexibility and a quick first step confused opponents and earned the respect of players. Myers would rank higher with promptly submitted film. Shoulder dip and incorporating a more diverse rush set will help.
47. Dustin Wood (WR, Alabama Blackhawks)
Rationale: The sure-handed Wood gave the Blackhawks a chain-mover, capable of extending drives and tiring defenses. Wood's uncanny ability to find open areas helped the Blackhawks through a successful season.
46. Marquees Parker (CB, East Alabama Predators)
Rationale: Film makes Parker's case. A feisty cover corner, Parker displays the toughness to stick his nose into the action and fight through traffic to make the stop. Two interceptions may appear mundane but the two blocked kicks and one for a touchdown earns this spot. At 22 years old, the future remains bright.
45. Javier McGriff ( WR, Unconquered Cobras)
Rationale: Outside of torching the Atlanta Tigers, McGriff posted decent numbers. The cancellations and game shifting seemed to take the Cobras' offense out of sync. Yet, Javier McGriff remains a threat for years to come.
44. Denziel Ladner (QB, Bayou Lacombe Cardinals)
Rationale: While leading the Cardinals to the top overall seed in the west, Ladner became an integral part of building a strong foundation for the Cardinals. Opponents praised his toughness in the pocket. To climb this list, he will need to work on accuracy.
43 .Chris McCray (CB, Gulf Coast Gators)
Rationale: Playing the nickel in the APDFL is quite the task. From his first game in the APDFL, McCray stepped up, snaring two picks versus the Mississippi Dynasty. Composure mixed with toughness will give the former Gator a leg up on the competition. As the Gators sunset their program, watch for McCray to evolve into a permanent fixture on the outside.
42. Russell Roberts (LB, Pike County Titans)
Rationale: The teeth of the Titans defense, saw the active 'backer make plays over the field, leading Pike to their best APDFL season so far. Roberts hits and wraps, which is what most linebackers should do. The Titans have an impact tackler at linebacker for years to come.
41. Jason Williams ( LB, East Alabama Predators)
Rationale: Double-digit tackles on stats and film that backs it up. What more can you ask for? The former Hornet breaks down and shows a proclivity for smart pursuit angles and quick hands. The question remains, how will Williams continue to add to his game.
40. Quinton Patrick (LB, Tuskegee Ayrmen)
Rationale: Not only the heart and soul of the entire defense, but the team. Opponents rave about the leadership aspect that Patrick brings to the field and the agility that belies his size. Although he plays linebacker well, the Ayrmen also deployed him in the backfield. Patrick tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns while leading the squad in tackles.
39. Darius Gillette (EDGE, Georgia Thrashers)
Rationale: Overcoming a debilitating injury to finish with eleven sacks and sixteen tackles-for-loss speaks volumes. Although blessed with athletic talent, Gillette flourishes in the cerebral aspect of football with a sixth sense for running lanes and quarterback drop-back depth. Without equivocation, the smartest player in the APDFL.
38. DeMarquis Matthews (CB, Pike County Titans)
Rationale: Matthews flashes ball skills as he ranked second in the league in interceptions. As he continues his trajectory upwards, he will need to tighten up the tackling aspect of his game. Granted, he may not be the largest defender, but the Titans' CB shows the will to get dirty.
37. Purnell Green (OL, Gulf Coast Gators)
Rationale: One of the most underrated players in the league, the long-armed Green used a combination of a quick punch and nastiness to play to the echo of the whistle. Wherever he lands, Green brings a plug-and-play, day one starter anywhere on the line.
36. Tye Dunklin (RB, Alabama Blackhawks)
Rationale: Pound for pound, the toughest running back in the APDFL. Despite his frame, Dunklin shows extraordinary contact balance, quick feet and explosion. In a crowded backfield, he managed to find the end zone eight times.
35. Tris Stephens (OL/DL, Crescent City Kings)
Rationale: One of the Kings' 26, the veteran lineman played on both sides of the ball, giving the Kings the requisite toughness to play what amounts to ironman football, securing a championship in the process. Stephens, when playing on either side of the ball, displays the ability to change the landscape of the line of scrimmage.
34. Rico Ruffin (S, Gulf Coast Gators)
Rationale: The legendary safety rides into the sunset on the back of four interceptions and the knowledge that he left the game, better than he found it. Ruffin's vision and anticipation placed him in favorable spots to make the play and helped the offense with field position.
33. Marquavious Favors (ATH, Metro Atlanta Horsemen)
Rationale: When the Horsemen needed someone to step in at quarterback, they turned to the play-maker. Favors made the most of his opportunity. Adapting to quarterback isn't the easiest chore for anyone, yet don't expect Favors to stay at thirty-three, as his stock continues to rise. Favors plays with his heart on his sleeve, through good and bad.
32.Chris Mccarroll (OL, Alabama Blackhawks)
Rationale: A true technician, gifted with hand placement and timing, Mccarroll never receives the acclaim for his toughness. He battles nose tackles with sustained fight and will give them all they want over four quarters.
31.Roderick Turner (CB, Alabama Blackhawks)
Rationale: Few players improved as much as Turner, who led the league with nine interceptions. Simply, Turner made the most of quarterbacks picking on him. Those numbers rise and his ranking will as well with another breakout season.
30. Tommy Neely (QB, Steel City Raptors)
Rationale: As the season wore on, Neely's completion percentage and yards per attempt improved. That means that he became comfortable in the pocket and developed a rhythm. Now playing with the Peach State Cats, if Neely returns, he will be a highly-sough passer, if he doesn't return to the Raptors.
29. Ezra Robinson (EDGE, Gulf Coast Gators)
Rationale: Despite his loquacious personality, Robinson became the ultimate team player in 2021. The Gators, deep along the line, rotated the pass rusher among other talented players. Yet, Robinson still disrupted the passing game and played in coverage. Using freakish bend and agility, he wins with angles and knowledge.
28. Martin Rolland (LB, Metro Atlanta Horsemen)
Rationale: Rowland uses a combination of "see ball, hit ball" and instinct to locate and smash ball carriers. Staying behind his pad level to deliver a jarring hit. Never out of control, Rolland measures his approach before contact. The eleven tackles versus the Alabama Blackhawks caught the leagues attention.
27.Lavon Downs (WR, Unconquered Cobras)
Rationale: Cashing in six scores on twenty-three passes, Downs exemplifies a veteran that does more playing than talking. When he gets the ball in stride, few corners will catch him. On top of that, he will win a jump ball situation with ease.
26. Sammy Johnson (WR, Georgia Thrashers)
Rationale: Blessed with a condor-like catch radius and quick leaping ability, Johnson shows no signs of surrendering ground to cornerbacks. Johnson shows the long speed to run away from defenders with the ball. While he appears to be heading to free safety next season, Johnson could easily walk back to the offensive side of the ball.