It’s here! The season is just a few days away, and the teams have cut their rosters down to the final 52. I thought it would be about time to do an in-depth roster analysis and some predictions. I will be going position by position and introducing you to all the 52 players on the roster. I’ve found the most interesting stories and comebacks just by doing a little digging.
Quarterbacks have already been posted so now it’s on to the running back room in Birmingham. Barring any last minute free agent pickups, I expect this is how the depth chart will end up for The Iron!
Trent Richardson is probably the most recognizable name on this roster as he was the 3rd overall pick by the Cleveland Browns during the 2012 NFL draft. After a few years, he’s here now. Humble and hungry. He was dominant in college. Just look at these accolades:
Career highlights and awards
2× BCS National Champion (2009, 2011)
Unanimous All-American (2011)
Doak Walker Award (2011)
SEC Offensive Player of the Year (2011)
2× First-team All-SEC (2010, 2011)
SEC Champion (2009)
SEC All-Freshman Team (2009)
He the first player on the roster so far with NFL game experience, rushing for 2,038 career yards (which crushes Tom Brady’s career yardage by over 1,000, just saying), and 17 touchdowns over four seasons. I expect him to make significant strides and become a dominant back in the AAF.
His scouting report is solid. Here’s what I’ve gathered about his game:
Runs hard through contact
Solid pass protection
Ideal size and build.
Needs to work on vision to work in a zone scheme.
Injury history might have affected his speed.
Coming out of the draft, his comparison was Adrian Peterson with their game-breaking speed, size, and strength. He received a grade of 93.5 on NFL.com, labeling him as a once-in-a-lifetime player. I still think he can be that player. He’s dedicated and ready to make an impact.
Ty Isaac has had quite a journey so far to get a job in professional football. It could almost be a movie. I probably couldn’t tell it better than the Chicago Tribune. (https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-spt-michigan-ty-isaac-joliet-catholic-20171116-story.html) but here’s a quote from it that stuck with me:
“It’s probably harder to be a neurosurgeon than a football player, but I’ve never heard anyone tell a neurosurgeon, ‘You better have a backup plan,'” Isaac said. “So my attitude is go be all-in, go be a surgeon. That’s how I’m treating football.”
That sounds like determination to me.
Isaac was a beast in high school. Most players on here were, but Issac was on another level. In the Illinois 5A State Championship, he rushed for 515 yards and five touchdowns. That’s in a state championship! His play in college was solid, but due to family reason and the Michigan system he played in, he fell through the cracks. He went undrafted in 2018 and is only 24, so he can still develop into a very good running back for the Iron. He’s a good in-between the tackles runner, who might not have elite speed but I bet he’ll be a consistent RB two. He was the most impressive running back during the preseason game as well.
The Mississippi State website has LaDarius Perkins as one of the most versatile players in school history. He finished fourth all-time in all-purpose yards. He’s since become a journay man playing for seven teams in five different leagues, including the AAF. He played eight games in the CFL with 85 carries for 365 yards and 1 TD, with 22 receptions for 157 yards and 1 TD, and 3 Kickoff Returns for 103 yards. Not bad. I think he’s a good early down back right now, with good hands and consistent running.
Here are some highlights from a scouting report I dug up on Perkins:
Acceleration: Gets to his top speed very quickly which helps when running in between the tackles.
Vision: A very smart runner. I’d say his smarts rival Pittsburgh Steeler star Le’Veon Bell. He has great hesitation and patient as a runner. He can find a hole and make one juke and cut and fly through the hole.
Receiver: Great hands. Could help him become a Three-Down back.
Top Speed: Will get chased down, and doesn’t have the best game speed.
Pass Protection: The only thing stopping him from being an every-down back. He’ll get beat by experienced AAF pass rushers.
If Perkins puts it all together, watch out. He could see one of the best, well-rounded back in the league.
— Birmingham Iron (@aafiron) January 17, 2019
There’s not much online about Brandon Ross. He’s a speed back who had an outstanding YPC his senior year (6.39) for Maryland. He’s Maryland’s 4th All-Time rusher. He was signed by the Vikings coming out of college. He’s 26. He was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in his senior season. That’s all I could find.
I think this group is led by a very solid veteran RB with two very underrated backups. I’m particularly fond of LaDarius Perkins. I think he could be an unexpected contributor this season. However, They are both well-rounded can make some plays out of the backfield. The regular season will be the best indicator for all four backs, so time will tell if I’m right at all.
Some fun statistics so far:
Heisman Winners: 1 (D2 but still counts)
National Championships: 3
All Americans: 3
Highest Draft Pick: 3rd Overall
NFL Games played: 46
NFL Passing Yards:0
NFL Rushing Yards: 2,032
NFL Receiving Yards: 912
NFL Touchdowns: 19
NFL Tackles: 1 – Apparently, Trent Richardson has a tackle.
NFL Interceptions: 0
Players Analyzed 7/52