San Diego Diablos
QB: Kellen Moore [13]
RB: Alex Collins [7]
WR: Brandon Thompkins [4], Aaron Dobson [8], Rod Windsor [12], Leonard Hankerson [14]
OT: TJ Clemmings [1]
OG: Conner McGovern [6]
C: Alex Mateas [10]
DT: Michael Bennett [3], Christian Covington [9]
CB: Jordan Lucas [2]
S: James Sample [5]
P: Lachlan Edwards [11]

The Diablos hit on just about every year in this expansion draft, with the lone exception at linebacker. With the very first pick, though, they made it a point to work on their offensive line. TJ Clemmings has always been a great prospect. The key now it having him take that next step after two years of playing fairly mediocre football. But he is still young and capable with a very high ceiling. A bit later in the draft they added two more pieces, with guard Conner McGovern and center Alex Mateas. Neither played last year for their respective teams, but both have potential and the Diablos have set the left side of their offensive line.

To line up behind them the team took veteran quarterback Kellen Moore, who has a lot of history in this league as a starting quarterback. Moore may never return to his 2013 All-League form again, but he might be the perfect stop-gap quarterback for this young expansion team while they get other pieces in place.

Behind him, Alex Collins is a promising running back with great cutting moves and explosiveness who just did not get much of an opportunity in Houston behind Paul Perkins. Collins will join a loaded backfield with rookie territorial pick Donniell Pumphrey and veteran Dexter McCluster. This team seems like they just want to run the ball as much as possible in their first season.

And they may have to until their wide receivers start progressing. Remember how the Diablos focused on potential more than guys who were proven? Neither Brandon Thompkins nor Aaron Dobson have done too much in this league, but both have potential and could be good. They did hedge their bets a little with veteran Rod Windsor, who at 32-years-old is still coming off a pretty productive season. Leonard Hankerson might be in line for an early opportunity on this team as well.

Defensively, the team picked two defensive backs in their first five picks, going with Jordan Lucas in the second round and James Sample in the fifth. But like their two defensive linemen that they picked – Michael Bennett and Christian Covington – and like most of the rest of their picks, they were picked on their potential.

Clearly, San Diego has no problem long playing their build. It’s just going to take time to get them all where they need to be.

Iowa Threshers
QB: Kevin Glenn [9]
RB: Alfred Morris [1], Ross Scheuerman [17], John White [19]
WR: Ryan Grant [6]
OT: Cyrus Kouandjio [5], L’Adrian Waddle [8]
OG: Alvin Bailey [14], Jamil Douglas [10]
DE: Farrington Huguenin [11], Jonathan Massaquoi [16], Matt Conrath [18]
DT: Darius Kilgo [13]
OLB: Cory Greenwood [3], Brian Brikowski [15]
MLB: Steven Daniels [7]
CB: Tyler Patmon [2], Cody Riggs [12]
S: Shiloh Keo [14]

While San Diego might be long playing their build, Iowa wants to win now, going mostly with older veterans who have years or proving themselves already behind them. The most telling selection for that was the ninth round selection of Kevin Glenn. Iowa has boasted about rookie territorial pick CJ Beathard, but while he may be the future, Glenn could be the now after a throwing 12 touchdowns and only four interceptions in a good second half of the season comeback stint in Omaha.

Even more telling is that they too proven linemen to stand in front, with tackles Cyrus Kouandjio, La’Adrian Waddle and guard Alvin Bailey. Jamil Douglas is an unknown, but could fit in there too.

Iowa certainly turned some heads with their first round pick and the second overall pick when they selected Alfred Morris. This is an expansion team rebuilding around an old running back who is clearly far past his prime, but they still committed to adding veteran running backs even after him with the selections of Ross Scheuerman and John White. They did not focus much on wide receiver, only taking Ryan Grant at the position in the sixth round. All he had last year was two catches for Michigan.

Defense was a bigger focus and again, they went with experience over potential. Tyler Patmon is only 26 years old still, but certainly has proven himself for a long time in this league. He can be a great anchor to their secondary while later round picks Cody Riggs and Shiloh Keo continue their growth.

Third round pick Cory Greenwood had a very productive 2017 season with Louisville, racking up 58 tackles. He should be the anchor of the linebacking corp. right away while Steven Daniels and Brian Brikowski fill in until they develop better options.

On the defensive line, Iowa took three defensive ends, with Jonathan Massaquoi being the most proven, but Farrington Huguenin and Matt Conrath can be very good depth guys. Defensive tackle Darius Kilgo is probably somebody they could have passed on, but he’s just a body to add to the roster at the position.

Mississippi Cottonmouths
QB: Joe Callahan [13]
RB: DeAngelo Williams [3], Zac Stacy [12]
WR: Riley Cooper [6], Mario Manningham [10]
TE: Casey Pierce [14]
OT: Derek Sherrod [1]
OG: Mackenzy Bernadeau [7]
C: Andy Gallik [4], Peter Konz [17]
DE: Michael Sam [8], Mike Neal [9]
OLB: Carl Bradford [11]
CB: Captain Munnerlyn [2], Jayron Hosley [15]
S: Brandian Ross [5], AJ Stamps [16]

Of all the expansion drafts, it’s impossible not to be most impressed with Mississippi’s. In their draft they loaded their offensive line with experienced starting offensive linemen, such a premium for success in this league. Derek Sherrod may not be the best left tackle, but he is certainly reliable and was a worthy first round expansion draft pick. Andy Gallik, Peter Konz and Mackenzy Bernadeau are in the same vein, none of them are elite, but certainly none of them are bad at all.

But the huge grab of this draft was Captain Munnerlyn in the draft. Munnerlyn is easily one of the very best cornerbacks and overall players in this league and gives the Cottonmouths a big star to build around right away. Brandian Ross is also an experience safety who can help anchor the unit while Jayron Hosley and AJ Stamps provide solid depth to the position. Carl Bradford is a very, very solid linebacker as well who gives them another reliable starter right away.

While Michael Sam and Mike Neal don’t necessarily dominate rushing the passer, they are quite a good duo to start out with. Neal had 19 plays in the backfield last season (4 sacks, 11 hurries, 4 tackles for a loss).

Offensively the team loaded up on veterans as well. Riley Cooper and Mario Manningham didn’t do terribly much last year, but both are proven professionals who can be reliable when given opportunities. The same could be said for DeAngelo Williams, though age for the running back does have to start being a concern. They hedge their bets a bit with Zacy Stacy, though. Still, neither should be particularly explosive, but reliability is key for expansion teams.

The one spot where the Cottonmouths did go with youth and potential was at quarterback. Joe Callahan was the No. 2 overall rookie pick just a season ago by the Omaha Express expansion franchise, but they questionably never gave him an opportunity. Mississippi stole the young prospect in the 13th round of the draft and he should contend for that starting job right away.

St. Louis Stallions
RB: Marcus Murphy [3]
WR: Rashad Green [6], Lucky Whitehead [9], Mitch Matthews [15]
TE: Mychol Pruitt [14]
OT: Corey Robinson [1]
OG: Jamon Meredith [4]
DE: Max Valles [11]
DT: Marcus Hardison [5], Joey Sykes [13]
OLB: John Timu [7]
MLB: Blair Smith [17]
CB: Damian Swann [2], Trey Caldwell [12]
S: LaRoche Jackson [10], Ray Vinopal [16]

Well, one thing the Stallions won’t have to worry about is if they have a return man. Hey, special teams can be a huge part of the game too; Carolina won a playoff game because of their special teams. Just two years after being a first round draft pick and a few weeks after tying the SFL record for four punt returns for touchdowns, it was crazy to see Rashad Green be put up for the expansion draft, but the Stallions certainly are happy to have him. Lucky Whitehead was replace last season as Dallas’ kick returner, but two years ago he was very good at it. That duo will really help St. Louis.

But it’s hard to tell exactly what their biggest strength coming out of the expansion draft is, and that is a very good thing. Jamon Meredith was a big contract, but is a stud guard. He and first round expansion pick Corey Robinson should anchor the left side of their offensive line.

Their secondary also got a nice mix of veterans and young prospects to fill in all the way around.

The defensive line has a lot of potential too. New York admitted their regret for letting Max Valles go. He was very productive as a rookie before being misused last year. He should have a very good bounce back year as the lead pass rusher in St. Louis. Marcus Hardison and Joey Sykes are two guys the Stallions like, but both have something to prove.

Blair Smith can be a solid starter until they get something better to replace him in the middle of the defense. Look, it’s an expansion team. It’s not going to be perfect right away but the more solid players they have the better.

Marcus Murphy, Mitch Mathews and MyCole Pruitt are three guys who will be given opportunities, it’s just up to them to take advantage of it.