Atlanta Firebirds

Cornerbacks

Aaron Berry – 7

Dante Blackmon – 6a

Brandon Boykin – 9a$f

Mike Hilton – 8aa

Nick Marshall – 8a

Safeties

SS Bobby Baker – 6af

S Demetrious Cox – 6aa

S Matt Daniels – 7a

FS Rahim Moore – 8

SS Bacarri Rambo – 9af

The Atlanta Firebirds are interesting because they have a lot of individual talent, but they ranked just 20th out of 22 teams last season in pass defense. They should be a lot better. Brandon Boykin is one of the top cornerbacks in the league and wins a lot of one-on-one outside matchups. Bacarri Rambo and Rahim Moore are a great duo at safety too, that work well pairs together. Both can get interceptions, but Rambo is a nice physical strong safety while Moore is the coverage specialists. Former Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has also done a nice job developing as a No. 2 cornerback as well. The only explanation is the depth. Aaron Berry and Matt Daniels are okay backups, but nothing special. We also have to see if Daniels’ mind is set for this season. He’s already announced that he will retire when it contract if up after this season and he will move into a coaching job he has already accepted. Second-year man Mike Hilton has played incredible well in camp. He and rookie Demetrious Cox must step up to give the Firebirds some depth in the secondary.

Birmingham Predators

Cornerbacks

Ben Benwikere – 8aa

Blake Countess – 6aaf

Chris Culliver – 8.d

Rudy Ford – 6aaf

Safeties

SS Will Allen – 7

FS Josh Evans – 8a

FS Eddie Jackson – 8aaf

FS Pat Watkins – 8.d

There is an interesting mix of youth and experience in Birmingham in the secondary. Chris Culliver and Pat Watkins are both showing their age and their diminished athleticism could be an issue for the Predators, but they also have some really good young guys who could make up for it. Eddie Jackson is a very impressive rookie who might contend to be the Defensive Rookie of the Year and Ben Benwikere is really coming into his own out at cornerback. Josh Evans was one of the Predators best defensive backs last season and has had another good training camp. The depth isn’t great, though. Will Allen is solid, but nothing special. Blake Countess and Rudy Ford are both developing but are the third and fourth cornerbacks.

Carolina Generals

Cornerbacks

Juston Burris – 8aaf

Dwayne Hollis – 7f

Titus Howard – 6a

Torez Jones – 7

Kent Richardson – 7

Carlos Rogers – 8.d

James Romain – 8

Ryan Smith – 7aaf

Jack Tocho – 7aaf

Safeties

FS Rodney Hall – 6aa

FS Kenny Ladler – 7aa

SS Bryce Peila – 8a

While Carlos Rogers and James Romain are the veteran duo that helped get the Generals the Grand Finale last year, second-year cornerback Juston Burris is ready to take over. Romain and Rogers combined for 17 pass deflections last season, but also finished first and second in tackles, respectively. That was because they did give up quite a few completions. They had moments, but were beatable. Burris, though, it young, athletic and combing into his own as a second-year player. He’s been remarkable in camp. And Ryan Smith and Jack Tocho have looked good in camp too. Smith is a second-year territorial pick who did not play much last year, but was good when he did. Tocho was Honolulu’s best defensive back in the D-League. At safety, Bryce Peila is physically limited, but the guy has never let that hurt him. He just makes plays, including making four interceptions a season ago. Kenny Ladler is the rangier free safety who is also a good player entering his prime. Carolina has a lot of good, veteran depth, including Dwayne Hollis, Torez Jones and Kent Richardson. Rodney Hall is a developmental guy who had a decent performance in the D-League.

Charleston Dragons

Cornerbacks

Adairius Barnes – 6aa

Briean Boddy-Calhoun – 7aa

Donatello Brown – 6aa

Justin Coleman – 8aa

Leonard Johnson – 7

Nickell Robey – 10

Winston Rose – 6a

Tramon Williams – 9d

Safeties

FS Jordan Dangerfield – 7aa

FS Winston Guy – 8a

SS Jayron Kearse – 7aa

SS DeShawn Shead – 10

SS Weston Steelhammer – 6aa

FS Phillip Thomas – 7

Nickell Robey and DeShawn Shead are two of the best defensive backs around. Robey is a true lock-down cornerback who swats everything away and Shead is a dangerous strong safety who both plays in the box and ended up leading his team in interceptions last year. Colin Durina has always invested heavily in his team’s secondaries, but this year the investment is remarkable and might lead to them having the best pass defense in the league. More than just Robey and Shead NFL veteran Tramon Williams comes in and while he’s in his mid-30s, he’s still extremely knowledgeable about coverages and crafty when defending. Winston Guy is also a 27, approaching 28 in April, year-old safety who pairs up well with Shead. He’s a physical guy who makes big hits over the middle. There is also some quality depth. Justin Coleman, a third-year cornerback who is starting to blossom, could start on most teams in the league. Briean Boddy-Calhoun is a talented second-year player who is starting to enter his prime and is only getting better. Leonard Johnson is a very consistent veteran reserve. Adairius Barnes and Donatello Brown show nice potential. At safety, Jayron Kearse and Jordan Dangerfield are very talented young players who could also be starting on some teams. Phillip Thomas is a very good veteran.

Columbus Explorers

Cornerbacks

Zach Bowman – 9d

TJ Carrie – 8aa

Marcus Cooper – 10$f

Ken Crawley – 7aa

Justin Hardee – 6aa

Jonathan Jones – 7aa

David Rivers – 7aa

Corey Tindal – 7a

Safeties

FS Quentin Demps – 9d

FS Branden Dozier – 7a

S Kurtis Drummond – 7a

SS Marwin Evans – 6aa

FS Jameill Showers – 6aa

FS Michael Tyson – 6aa

The Columbus Explorers had the second-best pass defense in the entire league last year. Once again, it was a show of how much priority owner Colin Durina puts on his secondary, and that investment continues into the 2018 season. The Explorers dipped deep into their pockets as they issued the Designated Player Tag to Marcus Cooper. Cooper had a remarkable 18 passed defended last season. Opposing receivers had a devil of a time trying to make completions.And Zach Bowman playing opposite him, he’s older, but he’s still a great and knowledgeable coverage guy, who is also bigger and more physical at this point in his career. The shutdown trio of defensive backs in Columbus is completed by free safety Quentin Demps. Demps is another older veteran, but he’s still a great player. He’s a ball-hawk who also has 11 passes defended last season. Those numbers were down from 2016, but he’s still a good as they come. The other starting safety will be either Kurtis Drummond or Branden Dozier, both of whom played well in camp. Drummond might be the more natural strong safety. Marwin Evans, Jameill Showers and Michael Tyson all have potential and could get some snaps, but likely need one year of development before they can really step into big roles. At cornerback, TJ Carrie is a fantastic third guy behind Bowman and Cooper. He might even push ahead of Bowman with how great he’s been in camp. Ken Crawley, Jonathan Jones and David Rivers add to the great depth of talent this team has.

Dallas Six-Shooters

Cornerbacks

Kenneth Acker – 9af

DeAndre Elliott – 6aa

Ciante Evans – 7aa

LaDarius Gunter – 8aa

Mike Jenkins – 8.d

Jonathan Mincy – 7a

Horace Richardson – 6af

Safeties

SS Anthony Harris – 7aa

SS Jeff Heath – 8a

FS Neil King – 7

While the record-setting interception numbers where nowhere near what they were two years ago, the Six-Shooters have some coverage ability. Kenneth Acker is a blossoming star in the SFL. He’s done a great job taking over as the Six-Shooters top cornerback and he has a lot more help this season. LaDarius Gunter is also transforming into a top cornerback opposite him, but it’s the depth that is much greater. Veteran Mike Jenkins still has a little bit left in the tank, but it’s Ciante Evans that has stepped up nicely and looks like he could end up at the slot corner this season. Don’t sleep on Jonathan Mincy either. He’s had a nice showing at camp too. DeAndre Elliott shows promise at a developmental guy. At safety, there is much less depth, which means we may see Jenkins move back in order to mask his diminishing speed. But Jeff Heath has been pretty good for a while and had four interceptions last season. Anthony Harris has a lot of promise and could be out there starting as well.

Houston Wranglers

Cornerbacks

Tracy Belton – 7d

Alex Carter – 6aa

Aaron Grymes – 7aa

Jaylen Hill – 6aa

Loucheiz Purifoy – 7a

Safeties

SS Matt Elam – 7ac

SS Adrian McDonald – 6af

FS Dezmen Southward – 6aa

SS Orion Stewart – 6aaf

FS Major Wright – 8c

It was a rough year for the Houston Wranglers, all around. They ranked 19th in the league in pass defense last year. It’s not overly clear they have done enough to significantly improve. They will mostly be relying on young player stepping up. Aaron Grymes is the main guy they are hoping steps up. He’s a second-year player, but it is also a wonder how high his ceiling is. It’s really a low-end No. 2 cornerback right now, but might end up having to be the teams top guy. Loucheiz Purifoy was the No. 1 cornerback last year, but he was really picked on and gave up a ton of receptions. Leading the team in tackles by a large margin is not good thing. Alex Carter is a talented player plucked from an nfl practice squad, but he has yet to show it on the field. Jaylen hill is a skilled rookie who also may need a bit of time to develop. At safety, the Cougars signed Major Wright and Matt Lena with hopes of having them step in and start. Wright looks good and figures to be a solid free safety for them. Elam failed miserably in the NFL and will look to revitalize his career in Houston. Orion Stewart had a nice D-League season. Dezmen Southward is a developmental prospect.

Iowa Threshers

Cornerbacks

Alan Ball – 7

Pierre Desir – 8aac

Desmond King – 7aaf

Tyler Patmon – 8aa

Cody Riggs – 6a

Marcus Rios – 7aa

Safeties

SS Ken Fontenette – 8.d

SS Shiloh Keo – 7

FS Kai Nacua – 7aa

FS Fish Smithson – 6aa

It was a decent surprise that the Raptors let Pierre Desir walk after he seemed to finally get his feet under his and got his career going with their organization last year. But that decision was the Threshers’ gain as they got to scoop him up in free agency. He’s always been a talented player with nice size. Now he’s starting to play up to the potential. With Tyler Patmon, an expansion pick from Memphis, the Threshers have a pretty good cornerback duo. Rookies Desmond King and Marcus Rios also show a lot of potential and make for a quality quartet. Alan Ball got picked on in Louisville as the Cougars has the second worst pass defense in the league in 2017. He doesn’t look any bit better in this year’s camp with a new team. At safety, Ken Fontenette is a good veteran. He’s slowing down but still can hold his own. Kai Nacua is a very talented rookie out of BYU who has the ability to get make plays on the ball and like Rios, had a fantastic showing in the D-League. Shiloh Keo is a solid veteran backup. Fish Smithson has some potential but needs a lot of time to develop.

Los Angeles Stars

Cornerbacks

Jamal Agnew – 6aa

Xavier Coleman – 6aa

Justin Gilbert – 7aac

John Green – 6aa

Fabian Moreau – 7aaf

Kevon Seymour – 6aaf

Josh Shaw – 7aa

Safeties

SS Craig Butler – 7

FS Taylor Loffler – 7aa

FS Brian Poole – 9aa

FS Maurice Smith – 6aa

The Stars have a lot of turnover in their secondary this season, but one guy returning is Brian Poole, the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Last year’s first round draft pick had 65 tackles and led the team with four interceptions and nine pass deflections. He’s looking tremendous again in this year’s camp. The rest of the unit has question marks around it though, especially after Jordan Poyer left for the NFL. Justin Gilbert came over from the NFL. He was a former first round draft pick, but a terrible bust. He was okay in the first, but could be better. Fabien Moreau, though is a very talented rookie with a lot of hype around him. He’s look very good in camp and could challenge for the top spot, though he may be better suited to be No. 2 cornerback right away. Josh Shaw is also a rising cornerback who provides nice depth to the position. Jamal Agnew, Xavier Coleman, John Green and Kevon Seymour show flashes. Back at safety along with Poole, Taylor Loffler is a solid veteran who keeps getting better while Craig Butler is a consistent veteran backup. Maurice Smith is a sixth round pick who flashes potential, and was okay in the D-League, but has a lot of room for improvement.

Louisville Cougars

Cornerbacks

Martel Durant – 6a

Rod Issac – 7

Des Lawrence – 7aa

Joe Powell – 7a

Kalan Reed – 6aa

Safeties

SS Kavon Frazier – 7aa

SS Josh Harvey-Clemons – 7aaf

SS Ashely Lowery – 7af

SS Taylor Mays – 8c$

The Cougars has the worst pass defense in the league last year. They haven’t made a ton of big changes to fix it, but they do have mostly different group to work with, so maybe there is a chance they improve. Taylor Mays is the big-money addition, acquired through a trade with Omaha. He was not worth the contract in Omaha, which is why they shipped him out of town quickly, but he will give them a nice veteran presence and a leader who does know how to get the job down. But the Cougars need other guys to develop quickly. Des Lawrence is a talented rookie prospect who performed quite well in the D-League. He might end up as a starter right away. That’s not the best option, but it’s better than Rod Issac and Joe Powell, who we know struggled as starters last season. Both guys are still decent, though, and could contribute as veteran backups. Kalan Reed has performed well in training camp, though he is fairly raw. Kavon Frazier and Ashely Lowery were on the team last season. They each had two interceptions and could be headed for bigger roles with some other guys out of the way and a year under their belts. Josh Harvey-Clemons performed pretty well in the D-League and is also in the competition with the those two.

Memphis Bombers

Cornerbacks

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu – 8a

Mike Harris – 7

Dominique Hatfield – 6aa

Stanley Jean-Baptiste – 7aa

Cameron Sutton – 7aaf

Safeties

FS Treston Decoud – 7aa

SS Duke Ihenacho – 8a$

FS Antoine Pruneau – 7a

FS Derron Smith – 7aa

Last year this team had a sneaky good pass defense, but it is also fair to think that their dominant pass rush that totaled 42 sacks made their defensive backs look better than they are. That doesn’t mean they don’t have some good players, but nobody really stands out in their secondary. Duke Ihenacho does bring a nice veteran presence, which should be demanded considering his contract. He’s the big man in the secondary at safety. He hits guy over the middle and sets the tone of the unit. But after him it’s a bunch of guys who are still trying to live up to their potential. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Stanley Jean-Baptiste are both very experiences cornerbacks at this point, but both still have room to grow. They will make plays on the ball, but without Sam Shields there anymore, one of them needs to prove they can go up against an opposing team’s No. 1 receiver. Mike Harris is a good veteran, but just a backup. Rookie Cameron Sutton should easily surpass him on the depth chart as a top three guy. He’s a very, very talented guy who honestly may eventually become their No. 1 cornerback. He just needs a little time to prove it. Dominique Hatfield had a good D-League season but is a developmental prospect. At safety, next to Ihenacho, Derron Smith figures to start for a third-straight season since being a first round draft pick. He has great ability, but it’s time for him to step up and show it this year. If he can’t, Treston Decoud is coming off a very nice D-League season and training camp and could push him. Antoine Pruneau is a solid backup.

Michigan Stags

Cornerbacks

Charles Gaines – 10f

Cre’veon LeBlanc – 7aa

Tony Lippett – 9aaf

Leodis McKelvin – 8.d

Lenzy Pipkins – 6aa

Zack Sanchez – 6aa

Channing Stribling – 6aaf

Safeties

SS Clayton Geathers – 9aa

FS DeAndre Houston-Carson – 7aa

S Montae Nicholson – 7aaf

FS Jarrod Wilson – 7aaf

What else is a surprise — the Michigan Stags have maybe one of the deepest and most talented secondaries in the league, and this is a team that traded John Ojo, a perennial All-SFL cornerback. The reason the Stags were able to make that move was because of the continues rise of the 25-year-olds Charles Gaines and Tony Lippett. Gaines has proven he is among the very elite in the league, but Lippett is in his third year and if he wasn’t offered his chance to start then their might have been a big issue. He’s been a slot corner for them, and he’s dominated. In camp, he looks like he might be the most athletic and gifted defensive back in their entire secondary. But with Ojo out and Lippett moving up a spot on the depth chart, the Stags did not want to just see a significant drop off with their third cornerback. They signed NFL veteran Leodis McKelvin. He’s 32-years-old and slowing down, but will provide a very nice presence in the secondary while another younger guy develops this season. Cre’Veon LeBlanc looks like he could be the guy to eventually take over. Lenzy Pipkins, Zach Sanchez and Channing Stribling are all showing nice potential. At safety, Clayton Geathers is among the best in the league too. The second safety spot will be up for battle between three very talented young players in second-year player Jarrod WIlson and DeAndre Houston-Carson and rookie first round draft pick Montae Nicholson.

Minnesota Freeze

Cornerbacks

Terrell Chestnut – 6a

Patrick Levels – 7aa

Arthur Maulet – 6aa

Eric Murray – 6aaf

Jalen Myrick – 6aaf

Cord Parks – 7

Shaquille Richardson – 7aa

Safeties

SS Clayton Fejedelem – 7aa

FS Miles Killebrew – 7aa

S Robenson Therezie – 7a

SS Damarius Travis – 6af

Losing both Malcolm Butler and Micah Hyde is a really tough one for the Minnesota Freeze. They didn’t have too many real bright spots last season. Butler and Hyde were two of the very best around. Now, it’s a muddled up group of young guys that needs to see somebody step up. The previous short-lived ownership group did at least invest well in safety, spending early draft picks on Clayton Fejedelem and Miles Killebrew. Fejedelem and Killebrew (no, not an Abercrombie and Fitch rival company) both have nice potential to become solid starters. This, their second season, could be where they start to take the positive steps forward. Robenson Therezie has been around for a few years and has yet to take the necessary steps forward. It is likely he is just going to be a backup. At cornerback, the unlikely man Patrick Levels has stood out the most. He played very well in the D-League and got interest from a few teams before ultimately being retained by the Minnesota Freeze ownership group. However, it may not be the best thing that he’s the top guy in camp. Cord Park is a veteran who does provide consistency. Shaquille Richardson, is a nice CFL addition who also had interest from teams trying to get him to return to the NFL. He’s only 25-years-old and may take off if given a starting job. Arthur Maulet, Eric Murray (not Iowa and LA’s owner) and Jaylen Marks are developing prospects, though one of two of them will have to likely step up into a decent sized-role right away.

Mississippi Cottonmouths

Cornerbacks

Jayron Hosley – 7a

Derrick Jones – 6aaf

Captain Munnerlyn – 10$f

Ryan Phillips – 6a

Safeties

FS Rickey Jefferson – 6a

FS Lorenzo Jerome – 6a

SS Jadar Johnson – 6a

FS Brandian Ross – 8$

FS AJ Stamps – 6a

Mississippi wanted at least one big-ticket player in their secondary in their first season. Captain Munnerlyn made a ton of sense. Their owner knew Munnerlyn’s ability in New Orleans, needed to clear cap space and had no doubt he’d get him in the expansion draft. It was a great move and already the Cottonmouths have a guy selling a ton of jerseys and a player they can build their secondary around. But they may have stolen a second nice building block in Brandian Ross. Ross was a good player in Columbus but his contract also led to his departure. With an open payroll, the Cottonmouths got another really good player in their secondary they can rely on. They will lead a pretty young group otherwise, a group that is needs to develop more. Jayron Hosley never got off the ground in Pittsburgh. He was another expansion draft pick. With a season to develop, Hosley is playing much better and could be in ready for a much bigger role. Derrick Jones isn’t ready for that yet. The team also doesn’t have a ton of depth at cornerback with Ryan Phillips as the fourth guy. He should only see the field in emergency situations until he develops over a few year period.

New Orleans Nightmare

Cornerbacks

Josh Johnson – 6a

Keenan Lewis – 8

DJ Moore – 8

Rashard Robinson – 7aaf

Geoff Tisdale – 8

Ronnie Yell – 7aa

Safeties

SS Deon Bush – 8aa

SS Kyries Hebert – 7df

FS TJ Lee – 7a

FS Jalen Mills – 8aaf

It’s going to be an interesting debate the New Orleans coaching staff will have this year. Will they stick with the veterans Keenan Lewis, DJ Moore and Geoff Tisdale, who are not great, but won’t hurt the team, or will they turn things over to their two talented younger guys Rashard Robinson and Ronnie Yell, who may make some mistakes but have way more upside. They should all contribute in some way regardless, but they will have to decide if Robinson and Yell, who has been stood out the most in camp, should be tested against the top guy right away. At safety, Deon Bush is coming of a great rookie season and is ready for an even bigger second season. Jalen Mills is also a very talented player looking to step up even more. He should unseat the 37-year-old wonder Kyries Hebert as a starter. Hebert is still able to play good ball, but he is slowing down. TJ Lee is also a solid player who can contribute.

New York Marauders

Cornerbacks

Ishmael Adams – 6aa

Courtney Bridget – 7a

Josh Hawkins – 7aa

Chandler Fenner – 7a

John Ojo – 10

Tye Smith – 8aa

DJ White – 7aa

Safeties

SS Will Hill – 8a

FS Derrick Kindred – 8aa

FS Gerod Holliman – 7a

FS Tedric Thompson – 6aa

The Marauders quietly had one of the very best pass defenses last season, rankings fourth in the league before they turned it over to all their rookies. They still finished ninth overall, and that experience should pay some dividends to their younger guys, but it also has to because the veterans they were leaning on — Cary Williams and Justin King — are both gone. But they did bring in another veteran, two-time All-SFL cornerback John Ojo, though a trade with the Michigan Stags. Ojo is among the very best in the league at cornerback and should really help keep the position a strong one for the Marauders. Tye Smith had a very impressive second season with 79 tackles, and team-best 11 pass deflections and three interceptions. He looks ready to take over full time in the second starting spot. Courtney Bridget ended up being a really nice pickup for an eighth round pick last season, contributing well, but DJ White and Josh Hawkins have both taken positive steps forward after getting more time at the end of the last year and working hard in this year’s camp. After White got some chances to start he had three interceptions down the stretch of the season. Hawkins is coming along a bit slower, but still is a well-regarded player they drafted. Chandler Fenner is a quality CFL veteran. Him potentially being the sixth guy shows the depth of the unit. Ishmael Adams was the team’s final draft pick and performed quite well in the D-League, leading the secondary of the championship team’s defense. He’s short and raw, but could stick around because of the added ability to contribute as a receiver and return man. At safety, the Marauders are led by veteran Will Hill. He had a nice showing after coming over from the NFL, trying to revitalize his career after some controversies with PEDs. He was a stable safety for them and ended the year with 68 tackles, two interceptions and five passes defended. Derrick Kindred was mixed in as a starter as a rookie. He has separated himself from Gerod Holliman this camp, though Holliman is coming off his best year as a pro in 2017. Tedric Thompson is an interesting developmental safety who is still a bit away from really contributing at a high level.

Omaha Express

Cornerbacks

Sherrod Baltimore – 7a

Anthony Brown – 8aa

Tyquan Glass – 6aa

Greg Henderson – 7a

Jovon Johnson – 7

Joshua Mitchell – 6af

Rico Murray – 8

Mohammad Seisay – 7af

Safeties

SS Nate Gerry – 6aaf

SS Thomas Gordon – 7a

FS TJ Heath – 6a

FS Arthur Hobbs – 7f

Veterans Alfonzo Dennard and Taylor Mays are gone and in town now it’s a bunch of young and unproven guys who will try to transform the 17th-ranked pass defense. There are a couple of veterans around. Jovon Johnson and Rico Murray both have a lot of experience and are steady players. Murray was a very nice CFL addition this offseason who has performed so well in camp he will probably start at cornerback. But Anthony Brown has been the star of the preseason. Last year’s second round draft pick had a decent rookie season, but this year he’s taken a major step forward and should make a lot more plays on the ball while it’s in the air instead of making reactive tackles after the catch. Mohammad Seisay was a star at Nebraska but hasn’t gotten his footing as a pro. He’s headed back to Nebraska with the Express hoping to finally get things going. Greg Henderson and Sherrod Baltimore are also CFL additions who will be competing for time against Seisay. At safety, there are way more questions. Thomas Gordon and Nate Gerry show the most potential, but neither are particularly ready for big roles and could be exposed in the secondary. Arthur Hobbs is likely past the point of being a reliable starter but can still be a solid veteran out there.

Orlando Rockets

Cornerbacks

Elie Bouka – 7aa

Jacque Bryant – 6aaf

Michael Davis – 6aa

Jacoby Glenn – 6af

Andre Hal – 8aa

Richard Leonard – 8af

Demetrius McCray – 8a

Kenny Moore II – 7aa

Marcus Roberson – 7af

Safeties

FS Andrew Adams – 7aa

S Brandon Alexander – 7af

FS Adrian Amos – 8aa

SS Kentrell Brice – 7aa

FS Dexter McCoil – 8aa

Orlando’s secondary is typically a collection of good players, none of whom are usually stars, but it’s deep and full of solid players. This year is no different. It’s a strong group of guys with no holes anywhere. Andre Hal and Demetrius McCray are two good starters returning from last year’s team, but watch out for Richard Leonard. The CFL signing has been great and could challenge both for a starting spot. Regardless, though, they will all see a lot of time out on the field. Kenny Moore II and rookie Elie Brooks are very talented players fighting for the fourth spot at cornerback. Marcus Roberson is the sixth guy. That just shows how deep it is when a player with five pass deflections and 40 tackles might be the sixth-best cornerback right now. At safety, veteran Dexter McCoil is always a reliable player for the Rockets, entering his fifth season with the team and having earned himself a nice new deal. Adrian Amos is an athletic freak. He needs to step up a little more than he has so far early in his career, but the ability is definitely there. Andrew Adams and Kentrell Brice are also talented players who are stepping up. Brandon Alexander adds to the tremendous depth.

Philadelphia Bulldogs

Cornerbacks

Brandon Browner – 9df

Nate Hairston – 7aaf

Deiondre Hall – 6aa

Justin King – 8.df

Harlan Miller – 6aa

Greg Reid – 7

Tavon Young – 9aaf

Safeties

SS Antonio Allen – 9$

DB Anthony Cioffi – 7aa

SS Rayshawn Jenkins – 7aa

FS Dwight Lowery – 7

FS Sonie Varmah – 6a

SS Dorian Williams – 6aa

Philadelphia’s secondary wasn’t a strength of their championship team, but it also wasn’t a weakness. This year, however, it might be a big strength of the team. Legendary cornerback Clevan Thomas retired after winning his first career championship at the age of 38. But while he saw his career wind down, we saw the amazing ascension of Tavon Young. As a rookie, Young was incredible, leading his team with 12 pass deflections while racking up 76 tackles. Now, as just a second-year player, he looks like he might already be one of the best cornerbacks in the league. He’s a star, but he also has a lot of help around him at cornerback. The team stole NFL veteran Brandon Browner off the free agent market. He’s no longer the dominant guy he once was, but he’s still tremendous and with Young, makes for the most physical duo in the league. Justin King also returned to Philadelphia. Is he a bit salty that his long-time team didn’t want to keep him last year and won a title without him? A bit, but it’s also his fuel to help the Bulldogs repeat. Nate Hairston is a talented young player who is on the rise. Harlan Miller and Deiondre Hall are showing nice potential. Hall played exceptionally well in the D-League. At safety, Antonio Allen is a one of the better guys around and entering his sixth season with the team. The loss of Jahleel Addae leaves a massive hole at free safety. Of all the guys out there, D-League signing Anthony Cioffi has looked the most impressive. Fourth round draft pick Rayshawn Jenkins is more of an in-the-box type of guy, but has looked pretty good as well.

Pittsburgh Forge

Cornerbacks

Tommie Campbell – 7

Rasul Douglas – 7aa

Lafayette Pitts – 6aaf

Cassius Vaughn – 8

Daryl Worley – 8aa

Safeties

SS K.J. Dillon – 6a

SS Harold Jones-Quartey – 7a

S Xavier Woods – 7aa

The Forge disappointingly had the worst pass defense in the league last year. They didn’t do much at all to fix the problem either, but they have seen some individual improvements out of some players. In particular, Daryl Worley is better after a rookie season in which he got picked on a bit. Cassius Vaughn is a football veteran out there, who can hold up as the second cornerback, but the team is very pleased with rookie Rasul Douglas, who might toppled Vaughn for a starting job. Tommie Campbell had to play more than he should have last season. He’s an alright backup but nothing more. Safety is a major concern. Xavier Woods is a talented first round draft pick, but second-year safety Harold Jones-Quartey is nothing special. KJ Dillon is a very, very, saw prospect.

San Antonio Marshalls

Cornerbacks

Crezdon Butler – 7

De’Vante Harris – 6aaf

Jeremy Kellem – 8a

Cole Luke – 6aa

Justin Rogers – 7

Josh Victorian – 7

Corey White – 8aa

Brandon Williams – 7aaf

Safeties

SS Jamal Carter – 6aa

FS Thomas Decoud – 8.d$f

S Corey Moore – 7aa

SS William Moore – 8.d

Last year the Marshalls had a bend-but-don’t-break pass defense. They ranked 18th in the league in yards allowed but did not give up many passing touchdowns. In order to help fix that, the Marshalls went brought in a lot of good veterans. While Jeremy Kellem and Corey White are the top two guys and both were on last year’s team, Crezdon Butler, Justin Rogers and Josh Victorian are three reliable and consistent veterans who will give a toughness to their defense. Brandon Williams is a talented second-year player who is stepping up well. De’Vante Harris and Cole Luke both have potential, but are less inconsistent than the veterans they added. At safety, the Marshalls have two older guys running out there. Thomas DeCoud has been with the team for now four seasons and they have former NFL player Williams Moore coming back too. It’s not going to be an athletic pair, but they know what they are doing, but Corey Moore has stepped up after not playing much last year. He could challenge for a much bigger role.

San Diego Diablos

Cornerbacks

Devon Edwards – 6aa

Damontae Kazee – 6aaf

Jordan Lucas – 6aa

Brad Watson – 7aa

Marquez White – 6aa

Safeties

FS Dylan Haines – 6aa

FS Trent Matthews – 6aa

SS Leo Musso – 7aa

SS James Sample – 7aa

SS Jordan Sterns – 6aa

San Diego is making a long play with their team and the secondary is no different. The Diablos have a lot of young talent. They have a lot of promising guys, but don’t expect them to all reach their potential right away. The only two players who have any SFL experience are Jordan Lucas and James Sample, and neither have played much and neither stand out much in camp. The top guys actually look like the D-League signings they have made. Brad Watson and Leo Musso were very good players for the Virginia Beach Breakers. Watson, a Wake Forest graduate, had made a lot of plays swatting balls away both in college and in the D-League. Musso proved in the D-League that he can be a good all-around player. He’s a big bruising tackler and is a solid coverage guy. Sample wasn’t bad with the Los Angeles Stars last season, and should be better this year. Trent Matthews, Jordan Sterns and Dylan Haines are all a short step being Musso and Sample, but have potential. While Watson might end up as a starter, Lucas, Marquez White, Damontae Kazee and Devon Edwards are all fighting for the second spot. None of them have stood out yet. This will be determined by the best performer in the preseason.

Seattle Orcas

Cornerbacks

Greg Ducre – 7af

EJ Gaines – 9aaf

Ed Gainey – 8

Fred Obi – 7a

Rayshaun Kizer – 8.d

Jonathan Rose – 7a

Bryan Walker – 6a

Safeties

SS Tunde Adeleke – 7aa

FS Tashaun Gipson – 10$f

FS Shalon Luani – 6aaf

SS Donte Whitner – 9d

As always, the Seattle Orcas have a dominant secondary, and they should be great again even without AJ Bouye and Tony Jefferson, who cashed in big with NFL contracts. Those two were two of the best in the game, but the Orcas don’t need to allow just a ridiculously low 165 passing yards per game to be the best team around. Sure, they are big hits, but there is plenty of talent left for this secondary to still be great. Designated Player Tashaun Gipson might just be the very best safety in the entire league and anchors the unit. Donte Whitner is older and far past his prime, but coming over from Washington, he’s still showing he’s got plenty of ability to play football as a hard-hitting tone-setter. EJ Gaines had a great season last year too. His numbers looks just like the numbers Bouye had and he’s shown in camp be can be a great No. 1 cornerback. Rayshaun Kizer and Ed Gainey are very good veterans who will provide quality depth. Kizer was tremendous last year and led the team with three interceptions. He’s starting to slow down, but he’s still a reliable and consistent player. Tunde Adeleke is a very interesting prospect who can play a bunch of different spots in the secondary. He had a very good D-League season. Fred Obi, Greg Ducre and Jonathan Rose are amazing depth for the team.

St. Louis Stallions

Cornerbacks

Trey Caldwell – 6a

Dylan Newcomb – 6a

Aarion Penton – 6af

Damian Swann – 7a

Safeties

SS Kevin Berg – 6a

S Chuck Clark – 7aa

FS LaRoche Jackson – 7

SS Ray Vinopal – 6a

FS Jack Young – 6a

There shouldn’t be high expectations at all for St. Louis’ secondary. Chuck Clark has been the only one who looks ready to be a contributor. Clark is a very versatile defensive back out of Virginia Tech. He’s very crafty and disciplined and might even compete for an All-Rookie team pick. But he won’t have much help at all. Damien Swann completed a little bit in Orlando, but doesn’t have a particularly high ceiling. LaRoche Jackson is a good veteran, but at 33-years-old he’s not going to provide much as a starter. St. Louis had a lot of guys who look like backups and fringe players, but they will have to make the team and start. Dylan Newcomb, Kevin Berg and Jack Young are all local small-school guys, but they didn’t show anything in the D-League that showed they should really be hanging around in the SFL for long. Aarion Penton was the best of the group to play in the D-League but might only play out of necessesity.

Utah Raptors

Cornerbacks

Emanuel Davis – 8

Alfonzo Dennard – 8

Corn Elder – 6aai

Abdul Kanneh – 8

Sam Shields – 8

Josh Thomas – 7

Nick VanHoose – 6a

Jamar Wall – 8

Safeties

FS John Boyett – 7a

SS Sergio Brown – 8

SS Jeremy Cash – 6aa

FS Adrian Colbert – 7aa

FS Maurice Leggett – 8

SS Will Parks – 7aa

What do you make of a group of above average cornerbacks who don’t have much upside? It seems like it might be okay, but being just okay isn’t really something to be happy with. The Raptors won’t be exposed in the secondary, but they also won’t shut teams down either. Last season Emanuel Davis and Abdul Kanneh were the team’s starting cornerbacks to open the season. After some just alright outings, the team brought in Jamar Wall, and he wasn’t much better, just good. This offseason, the Raptors signed SFL veterans Alfonzo Dennard and Sam Shields to give the secondary a boost, but neither are providing much of a boost, just more of the same. The good part is that if there are injuries it’s not like the team will suffer much of a drop off with five guys who are pretty much the same. Josh Thomas was the slot corner in New York when they won their title. He’s attempting and SFL comeback, but looks like he’s lost a step. Rookie Corn Elder is massively talented, but must stay healthy. He’s had serious knee problems throughout his career. If anybody can break through the group of corners, it’s him. His upside is great. At safety, Maurice Leggett was like David and Kanneh last year, good but nothing special. The team mixed in John Boyett, who occasionally made some big plays, but hasn’t stepped forward too much. Draft pick Adrian Colbert does have nice potential at free safety. He might be able to break into a nice role. At strong safety, Will Parks was named the future last year. He didn’t quite live up to those huge expectations last year. The team signed veteran Sergio Brown and he’s played well. Hopefully that battle will get the best out of both players. Jeremy Cash was acquired in part of a trade and has potential, but needs to develop a bit.

Washington Wave

Cornerbacks

Maurice Canady – 6aaf

Chris Cook – 7f

Alvin Hill – 6aaf

Will Likely – 6aaf

Chris Randle – 8

Josh Wilson – 8f

Safeties

FS Matthias Farley – 7aa

SS Dashon Goldson – 8

SS Jacob Hagen – 6a

FS David Jones – 7c

FS Courtney Stephen – 8

SS Dondre Wright – 7a

Josh Wilson and Dashon Goldson are still hanging around and showing they can still play football at a pretty high level. They are seasoned veterans who lead the Wave, but this year’s depth is much greater than it was last season. CFL signing Chris Randle very well may start this season at cornerback opposite Wilson. Together they are a solid veteran duo who won’t make many mistakes that will cost the team. Courtney Stephen also joined the Wave in the middle of last season and played well safety. He has played well again in camp and figures to start again, but watch out for Matthias Farley and Dondre Wright stepping up. Farley only saw a little bit of time as a seventh round draft pick last year, but he’s made some very nice steps forward. Wright is another CFL addition you is just getting into his prime. Wilson and Randle likely don’t have to worry about their starting jobs this year, but the Wave have some interesting young developing players behind them. Maurice Canady is a very smart cornerback who looks a lot better coming into his second season. Maryland stars Alvin Hill and Will Likely both performed quite well in the D-League, showing some nice promise. Chris Cook is a solid veteran, but is far from where he was during his peak. Still, he’s a solid backup option.

SFL Top 5 CBs

1. Marcus Cooper, Columbus Explorers

He got a huge offer from the NFL and owner Colin Durina had no choice but to open up his checkbook, pay the man huge money and slap on the Designated Player Tag. He’s worth it. Cooper just turned 28-years-old, is in his prime and is a nightmare for opposing receivers.

2. Captain Munnerlyn, Mississippi Cottonmouths

What a great star to get for your new expansion team, Captain Munnerlyn is a good as they come. He’s only 5-foot-9, but that makes him a deceptive too because quarterbacks might things they can attack him, but then he leaps up and make huge plays.

3. Nickell Robey, Charleston Dragons

Nickell Robey is only 26-years-old and has been one of the best cornerbacks in the league for a while. He’s only getting better and is there to lead the Charleston pass defense. Like Captain Munnerlyn, Robey understands how to use his small stature to his advantage. He’s deceptive, but makes quarterbacks pay.

4. John Ojo, New York Marauders

Michigan had a bevy of talent in their secondary and decided to move John Ojo. He wasn’t even on the trade block for an hour before the Marauders jumped at the opportunity to get him. He’s been one of the best in the league for a while, an All-SFL cornerback the past two years.

5. Charles Gaines, Michigan Stags

The rise of Charles Gaines was one of the reasons the Stags were not afraid to move John Ojo. The 25-year-old has proven to be just as great and can take on all of the top receivers.

SFL Top 5 Ss

1. Tashaun Gipson, Seattle Orcas

The league’s first-ever Designated Player didn’t slow down one bit after getting his massive payday. Instead, he led perhaps the greatest pass defense the league has ever seen in Seattle last season.

2. Quintin Demps, Columbus Explorers

Even at his age, Quintin Demps is still a ball-hawking safety who gets all over the field and makes big plays. He’s been a staple for the Explorers defense and looks to continue that this season at 32-years-old.

3. Antonio Allen, Philadelphia Bulldogs

Quietly blossoming into one of the best safeties in the league, Antonio Allen played a huge part in the Bulldogs championship last year, anchoring their secondary. He’s not flashy, just very, very effective.

4. Clayton Geathers, Michigan Stags

It’s hard to pick who the best Stags defensive back is, but that is because they are all great. They are loaded and Clayton Geathers is another one of their incredibly talented and athletic players who make up one of the very best secondaries in the league.

5. Bacarri Rambo, Atlanta Firebirds

He hits hard and sets the tone for the Firebirds defense. Bacarri Rambo stepped up even more last year as a guy who can make more plays on the ball while in the air. He led the team in pass deflections and interceptions last season.

By The Numbers
Total DBs: 284
10 Rating: 7 (2.5%)
9 Rating: 14 (5.0%)
8 Rating: 61 (21.5%)
7 Rating: 114 (40.0%)
6 Rating: 88 (31.0%)