top of page
  • Writer's pictureAce

Ace's Gamblers 2023 Draft Strategy

The USFL draft in 2023 has more unknowns than knowns as of right now. One thing that we definitely do know, is that it is important! The league is growing and with that is larger rosters and more interest in the league from players. There is absolutely no shortage of talent out there for every league, but as of now, it seems the USFL will be getting some of the top young players. We know that the free agency is wide open currently, and there is no restriction on players being able to join teams. The way free agency has happened, it is safe to say that the draft will consist of fresh players straight out of college who know that they are not going in the NFL draft.


Before we talk team needs, lets talk draft order.

The Gamblers are presumably 3rd pick in each round which is a strong advantage for a few reasons. The most obvious reason is that we will get the 3rd best player in the draft if picked correctly. The second reason is that most teams in this league have lost a decent amount of key starters in this offseason to the NFL and other endeavors. The playing field has leveled in this way, which means that the draft is the best way to gain the upper hand over the teams that had better records. To do this, we have to address team needs, so what are the Gambler's?


OFFENSE


3. Wide Receiver

We have some massively talented receivers on the roster in Teo Redding and Jojo Ward, but they have lost Isaiah Zuber to the Las Vegas Raiders. He was the go to 50/50 ball receiver. While I think Redding could step up and fill that role and newly signed Joshua Moore is pure raw talent, there is no clear WR2. Deontez Alexander was recently signed, and is a big physical receiver that could play the outside, but why not give him some fresh competition?


2. Offensive Line

Offensive line is arguably the most overlooked and important aspect of every offense. The Gamblers OL was not bad last season especially in the early half of the season when most struggled only allowing 4 sacks on Thorson. Where they lacked was later on in the season when Bahar took over for Thorson, allowing 14 sacks to Bahar. Most of the OL from season one of the USFL seem to be coming back as of now, but I am always a fan of adding depth to the OL. I would not be upset if in some of the earlier rounds of the draft the Gamblers grabbed a talented division 2 guard or tackle to train up.


1. Quarterback

If you don't agree with our biggest offensive need being QB, then you didn't watch the Gamblers last season. I was the biggest Clayton Thorson supporter, but I can't confidently say that he is the answer. Kenji Bahar showed some promise at the end of the season, but only threw for 2 touchdowns in about 3 full games. The Gamblers have too much talent to not take a shot at a high upside QB. Maybe even one off my top 5 list!



DEFENSE


3. Defensive Tackle

The Gamblers defensive line was by far the best part of the team. The DL had 22 sacks and constant pressure on the opposing QB. The problem is that a decent amount of the DL moved to NFL rosters after the season. Domenique Davis and reigning DPOTY Chris Odom are onto bigger and better things, and Thomasi Laulile voided his contract when he was signed by the 49ers. Somehow no NFL team snatched up DE Ahmad Gooden after a great season with 47 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. Gooden along with returning DE DreQuan Brown, have the outside edges as good as covered. The hole in the DL now lies directly in the middle. Laulile and Davis were a large part of the success against the run and they could both be gone. Dion Novil is a new addition that will help in that area, but the Gamblers could definitely use some reinforcements in the trenches.


2. Corner

You might be thinking, "but Ace, Will Likely was one of the best corners in the league?" He definitely was, and there is a decent chance he is back with the Gamblers next season, but that does not change the fact that Jamar Summers was hurt half the season and may follow DC Tim Lewis to... the other league. Nazir Streater was added as a free agent and is a playmaker much like Will Likely which is a huge help. If the Gamblers could just get one more corner that has more size for taller WR matchups, then there would be no such thing as a mismatch on this defense.


1. Linebacker

The Gamblers had my favorite group of linebackers in season 1, and while I am heavily biased, the numbers back it up. Payne led the league in tackles, and Northrup in intensity. Donald Payne has said he wouldn't be back, Azeem Victor was released midseason, and Reggie Northrup has shifted his focus entirely back to his MMA career. Add this to the fear that Beniquez Brown could leave to follow Tim Lewis, and we have could have zero returning linebackers. The Gamblers recently added Brandon Payer out of CSU Pueblo, but he will need a supporting cast in this second act. I would be ecstatic if the Gamblers grab a fast, hard hitting linebacker in the first or second round to fill the void that Payne would leave.


Now you have seen my opinion on where the Gamblers will need to add fresh talent, what are your biggest team need lists? Join the official USFL discord and let me know what you think about my article, and your ideas on how to improve it!




1 Comment


Texas Pete
Texas Pete
Sep 16, 2022

I think that Clayton Thorson has extremely high potential. He grew throughout the season as he gained confidence and the team started to meld. None of our losses that I can recall was due to his leadership on the field. To get a really good team in any league, you need the same group of guys to play together over a few seasons to meld. I hope Thorson is not relegated to the sidelines.

Like
bottom of page