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Defensive Back Pickups Fit the Pressure Mauler Mold

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Pressure wins. It is a clear statement that holds true in any form of football. Canada, Arena, Spring, College or Pro, this statement holds true. The Maulers love pressure. Pressure isn't just on the defensive line or a player blitzing, the pressure can be man to man on a wideout. Making it difficult matters, and the Maulers lived on that statement last season. The Maulers bought in two new DBs, Eric Burrell and Caleb Ham, showing just how important that statement is for the Maulers.



Caleb Ham hails from Central Georgia on the 5A level. If you follow Georgia High School football, you know that it is a big deal. The competition is tough, and the talent oozes out of the Peach State. No better example is the first overall picks in the last two NFL drafts that hailed from Georgia in Trevor Lawrence and Travon Walker. That is the pedigree of upbringing that Caleb Ham comes from.


After high school, Ham committed to Fordham over Morgan State. And at Fordham, he shined. He played all four seasons, and was instrumental in the defensive backfield all of those seasons. Ham made the game winning tackle vs FBS Army early on in his career, and just built from there. Every big game in his collegiate career, Ham made plays and just shines. His biggest accolade was being named All-Patriot First teamer in his junior year which led him to an opportunity in Canada. While he did not have a ton of playing time in Canada outside one season and bouncing around quite a bit, the talent is there.


Coach Horton used the word “versatile” when describing Caleb Ham, and that is obvious. He can line up on the outside, line up in the slot, and loves to be involved in the box. Ham had some kick returns in college which shows he has explosive speed as well, and can be trusted to make the right move. Kick returners are fast, of course, but one of the most misunderstood skills that a returner needs is judgment and football IQ. Ham exemplifies both of these intangible skills.



The position that Ham excels at the most is safety. The 6-1 defensive back has the instincts needed to excel in Horton’s defensive scheme. He can play in the box, and has longer than average arms to make plays. He loves to come up and make get involved, which fits the safety mold the Maulers clearly look for (i.e. Bryce Tornedon and Arnold Tarpley). Look forward to seeing Caleb Ham make plays like the two aforementioned stars.


Another addition that needs to be highlighted is Eric Burrell out of Wisconsin. The Maryland native loves to be used in multiple facets of the game, and watching any film, Burrell’s football instincts stand out. Burrell started 26 games (essentially 2 full seasons) at Wisconsin, so he has played big time college football. He caused fumbles, made interceptions, and knew where to be at the right time.



Burrell spent some time with the New Orleans Saints, and sits on that cusp of NFL player. He may be undersized from the eyes of scouts, but the intangibles are there. He went undrafted after leaving Wisconsin, but as we see in a lot of pandemic aged players, measurements were drafted over some that could flat out play. The Maulers give Burrell the chance to play competitive football and create great tape at the professional level. DC Horton uses his safety as the “QB of the defense”, which fits Burrell’s persona. Graduating from Wisconsin with a Masters degree in policy analysis and educational leadership, his thought process could be vital for the Maulers defense. With great instincts and analysis of the game, he could process at a different speed than others. The addition of Burrell into the USFL will show that this is a home run type of pickup.


The first few moves by the Maulers defense show that the Orange and Purple Army will keep hammering their persona home. The defense starts with pressure. Caleb Ham and Eric Burrell are the type of pressure players that strive in this defensive scheme.


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