Atlanta Firebirds

NT T.J. Barnes – 7a

DT Ryan Carrethers – 10

DT Davon Coleman – 7a

DE John Cominsky – 7aa

DT Kony Ealy – 10

DT Julien Laurent – 6a

DL Jonathan Ledbetter – 7aa

DT Deyon Sizer – 7aa

DE/OLB Aldon Smith – 10

DT Eddie Steele – 7d

DE Ethan Westbrooks – 9aa

Being around and seeing the consistently sloppy drunk Rob Ryan has really helped Aldon Smith know what he doesn’t want his life to turn into. With a level head, he’s done very well in Atlanta providing an explosive edge threat for them. And that is going to be big for this team. Ethan Westbrook had been their big defensive end, but he’s more of an edge setting run stopper than a pass rusher. However, it looks like rookie John Cominsky could really develop into something very good opposite Smith in pass rushing situations, especially after a strong d-league effort. Inside, the team is quite deep, but at the top it is two offseason acquisitions creating one of the best inside duos around. Kony Ealy probably won’t repeat his 16 sack season a few years ago ever again, but he’s still an explosive guy inside while Ryan Carrethers has long consistently been one of the best defensive tackles in the league. Together, those two should be force difficult for even the best offensive lines to slow down. Jonathan Ledbetter and Deyon Sizer are quality depth while Davon Coleman is still able to get the job done as well. Eddie Steele has contemplated retirement, but has decided to stick in there. He’s playing half-hearted, but he’s still able to perform.

Birmingham Predators

DE Johnny Dwight – 6a

DE Ken Ekanem – 6aa

DE Evan Foster – 6a

DT Bruce Hector – 6aa

DT DaVonte Lambert – 9aaf

DE Dean Lowry – 10

DT David Onyemata – 9aa

DE Donta Paige-Moss – 7

DE Khreem Smith – 7d

DL Muhammad Wilkerson – 9c

Birmingham’s impressive d-line was a big part of what got them a title last year and this year it might even be better. But it could also be worse in some other ways. Birmingham might want to consider a flex 3-4 defense because DaVonte Lambert, David Onyemata and Muhammad Wilkerson are all awesome players, but are all pretty much similar build, bigger 3-4 defensive ends and defensive tackles more than 4-3 defensive ends. The pass rush will come from Dean Lowry. He might not be an ideal 3-4 outside linebacker like Tim Williams is, but Williams also isn’t much of a 4-3 defensive end. The Predators just have to continue being creative with how they get their people on the field to have the most impact. Khreem Smith is showing his age and hasn’t been an answer at 4-3 defensive end opposite Lowry. Bruce Hector and Ken Ekanem would benefit from a bit more work or practice reps. They both have some potential. Donta Paige-Moss is a very reliable veteran.

Boston Dragons

DT Javon Hargrave – 9aa

NT Tomasi Laulile – 6a

NT Daniel McCullers – 8a

DT Jason Neill – 7a

NT David Parry – 8aa

DT Bobby Richardson – 7aa

DT Kevin Strong – 6aa

David Parry is consistently on the cusp of breaking into the top level of defensive linemen, but he’s still working his way there. He’s very productive though and looks to be headed toward another very good year. He’s the anchor of this d-line, even though Javon Hargrave probably is better. Parry just makes it all work on the inside. Daniel McCullers and Bobby Richardson both figure to be quite involved in the d-line rotation. Don’t be surprised if rookie Kevin Strong gets more work than veteran Jason Neill.

Buffalo Gunners

DE Freddie Bishop – 9

DL Amani Bledsoe – 6aa

DE Ryan Davis – 7

DE Devonte Fields – 6aa

DE Chuck Harris – 6aa

DE Iseoluwapo Jagede – 7aa

DT Jaleel Johnson – 7aa

DT Mike Pennel – 7

DE Karter Schult – 7aa

DT Chris Slayton – 7aa

While Freddie Bishop is the top guy for the Gunners, and still a very productive defensive end, the exciting part for the Gunners is their youth and potential. The Gunners have a ton of guys who, with just some playing time, can become very good, reliable players for a long time. They do have some veterans who contribute as well. Mike Pennel and Ryan Davie could carve out some contributing roles. Karter Schult, despite being young and talented, has mentioned he might be more interested in moving into a front office role, but at this time he’s committed to playing. Maybe that will change in the future, but he’s expressed his full on field commitment.

Carolina Generals

DT Josh Banks – 7aa

DT Fabion Foote – 7aa

DE Cleyon Laing – 9aa

DT Isaiah Mack – 6aa

DE Jake Metz – 8a

DE Tuzar Skipper – 6aa

DT Will Sutton – 9aa

DE Nick Usher – 7aa

One thing is for sure, Mike Singletary and Jeff Fisher will have their defense in a strong position to succeed. Cleyon Laing is still the start of this unit, though he hasn’t replicated his sack total from a few years ago since. Still, that is largely because he has been drawing a lot of double teams. Jake Metz has an opportunity to be the strong pass rusher opposite Laing but it is Will Sutton inside who is going to be a disruptive force. He has really grown into a top notch defensive tackle. They just need one or two more guys to really step up. Nick Usher is a talented young player with plenty of potential. Tuzar Skipper is a bit behind him but could play a factor on the outside as an additional pass rusher as well. Inside, along with Sutton, there is an opening, but also that means there is opportunity. Josh Banks and Fabion Foote are in a very tight competition but both should see some quality time in games. Isaiah Mack might sneak in a healthy amount of reps too.

Columbus Explorers

DT Eli Ankou – 7aa

DT Collin Bevins – 6aa

DT Jordan Bradford – 6aa

DT Quinton Dial – 8

NT Bryan Mone – 6aa

DT Pat O’Conner – 7aa

NT Olive Sagapolu – 6aa

DT Niles Scott – 6a

DT Carlos Watkins – 7aa

Quinton Dial keeps on performing at a high level despite his age. He’s looked like the undisputed leader in training camp again this year. That is both a good and bad thing. He might be looking at another good year, but one of these young guys still needs to step up. Eli Ankou, Pat O’Conner and Carlos Watkins seem like the next level of guys but few guys have really separated themselves from the others. Bryan Mone looks like he can be a big factor at the big nose tackle as he continues to develop.

Dallas Six-Shooters

DT Abdullah Anderson – 6

DE John Bowman – 9.d

DT Miles Brown – 6aa

DE Ryan Brown – 6aa

DE Jackson Jeffcoat – 7c

DE Kingsley Keke – 6aa

DE Jonathan Peterson – 7aa

DT Isaac Rochell – 6aa

DT Kevin Strong – 7aa

DT Shy Tuttle – 6aa

John Bowman once again still be the start and biggest force on the defensive line this roster has. He’s always a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, even at his age with diminishing skills. Opposite him, the Six-Shooters will really need somebody to step up. Jackson Jeffcoat shows in practice really good pass rush ability, but he has to translate that onto the field more. Jonathan Peterson has looked really good as well. Kingsley Keke will push for some reps, but probably not a starting job. Inside, there isn’t much to be overly excited about other than youth and potential. Kevin Strong might be the top guy right now, but it’s tough to say who else is standing out from the pack.

Indianapolis Speed

DE Jimmy Bean – 8aa

DE Mat Boesen – 8aa

DT Ra’Shede Hageman – 6ac

DL Kendall Langford – 8.d

DT Caraun Reid – 8aa

DT Tanzel Smart – 6aa

DE John Simon – 9

John Simon was pretty disappointing in his SFL return, managing only eight sacks. But he is still one of the most talented pass rushers in the league and he is always a threat. With Jimmy Bean and Mat Boesen both showing significant improvement from last season, that could take attention off Simon as well. The trio could be a very strong group of pass rushers for the Speed. Inside, Caraun Reid looks like he could be ready for a breakout year. He’s been around for a bit and had always shown nice potential, but he’s really put it together this year. Kendall Langford is still a quality option, but he’s taking a slight step back. Tanzel Smart is showing some nice potential.

Jacksonville Stingrays

DE Ronheen Bingham – 6aa

DE Ronald Blair – 7aa

DT Jason Carr – 7aa

DT Poona Ford – 8aa

DE Rasheem Green – 9aa

DT Zach Kerr – 10

DE Kyle Phillips – 6aa

DE Ja’Von Rolland-Jones – 6a

For an expansion team, the Stingrays are set up very well on the defensive line. Despite a bit of a down year in Seattle, Zach Kerr is still an elite plug on the defensive line and gives the Stringrays one of the best in the league right away. Rasheem Green was an incredible pickup. As a rookie in Los Angeles a year ago he was incredible, racking up 14 sacks and 92 tackles, leading the team in both categories, as well as hurries, tackles for a loss and force fumbles. Early in his career he is showing all the makings of a true start defensive end. And then there was the addition of Poona Ford. He is another really big guy coming off a really good year in Mississippi. It is unknown why they wanted to more their leader in sacks, but it was to the Stringrays benefit they got him. That trio can be elite. Now it’s just time to figure out who the fourth guy will be. Ronald Blair is probably leading that group after a six sack season in Houston last year. He’s still a step behind the others but is a step ahead of the rest of the pack.Ronheen Bingham and Kyle Phillips are showing decent potential and could battle for a solid number of reps.

Los Angeles Avengers

DE Austin Bryant – 6aa

DT Sebastian Joseph-Day – 8aa

DE Justin Lawler – 6aa

DE Hercules Mata’afa – 6aa

DE Christian Miller – 6aa

DE Anthony Nelson – 6aa

DT Eddie Vanderdoes – 8aa

DT Adolphus Washington – 8

Sebastian Joseph-Day went from a guy who was easy to look past to a guy who is really turning heads this year. He’s been a force in training camp and might just be the best guy the rebranded Avengers have. He might not be the biggest pass rush threat, but linemen haven’t figured out many ways to slow him down. Eddie Vanderdoes is coming off a good 2019 season, in which he had eight sacks coming on the inside. Combined, those two can be a real disrupting duo. Adolphus Washington is doing what he can to keep up with those guys. And he’s doing a solid job, but he just doesn’t have the upside the other two do. But while there is a strong trio inside, outside is just a guessing game of who could be stepping up if the team decides to stick with a 4-3 defense. Nobody has really stood out for the back. Don’t be surprised if we are midway through the season and guys are still fighting to become the full-time starter.

Louisville Cougars

DT Cortez Broughton – 6aa

DE Theo Eboigbe – 6a

DT Ryan Glasgow – 8aa

DE Gabriel Knapton – 10

DT Jullian Taylor – 6aa

DE Trevon Young – 6aa

Gabriel Knapton just gets better and meaner every year. He’s a tough stud on the edge for Louisville and has been for a few years now. He’s right at the top of his game right now, and that is a good time to have Ryan Glasgow next to him. Knapton had been dealing with some youth next to him so all the attention was on him, but Glasgow is coming into this season very confident and he’s played very well throughout training camp. He’s looking to break out this year. But that really is all Louisville has on the defensive line right now. Julian Taylor and Cortez Broughton have some potential on the inside next to Glasgow, but neither is really ready to become a starter right now. Trevon Young might have to start opposite Knapton due to lack of options. He’s flashed some potential as well, but he really isn’t ready to take on a full time starting role either.

Miami Mustangs

DT Joel Heath – 8aa

DE Joe Jackson – 6aa

DE Chad Thomas – 8aa

DT Justin Vaughn – 6a

DT Ricky Walker – 6a

DE Martez Wilson – 8c

DE Johnathan Woodward – 6aa

In a new setting, entering his prime, Joel Heath could be on the brink of becoming an upper echelon defensive tackle in the SFL. He showed potential of doing so in Utah, but now at 26 years old he might be ready to take that step in Miami. Chad Thomas on the outside could be headed for a quality season as well. He was just okay as a rookie, but he’s come into this season with a good fire under him and confidence. The Mustangs will need that. Martez Wilson is still a decent edge defender, but they should be looking for a better guy outside. Thomas looks like that guy now. Jonathan Woodward has shown some nice potential, but he needs some more seasoning before he can really make an impact. Joe Jackson is another interesting prospect, but is definitely playing like a rookie. The Mustangs might be on the lookout for another defensive tackle, though. While Heath looks very good, Justin Vaughn and Ricky Walker are their other options and neither should be more than a backup at this point.

Michigan Stags

DT Ken Bishop – 7

DT Jay Bromley – 7

DT Willie Henry – 7aa

DT Maurice Hurst – 7aa

DE Matt Judon – 10

DT Ted Laurent – 9.d

DE Josh Sweat – 6aa

DE Devin Taylor – 7

DE Chase Winovich – 8aa

It’s rather amazing how the Michigan Stags are just able to replace their top defenders with new stars. While Za’Darius Smith and Matt Judon were both mega stars leading this defense last year, Smith is off to the NFL with a huge contract. Judon clearly an elite talent, but he’s got another potential star playing opposite of him now. Rookie Chase Winovich has looked incredible in camp and has all the makings of becoming the next great Stags pass rusher. The Stags are set on the outside, and keep an eye on Josh Sweat. He’s probably not going to become a star, but he could really be a quality backup. Until then, Devin Taylor is a reliable backup. Inside is where some questions are. Ted Laurent is still a top guy, but he’s on the decline. The Stags have been waiting for Willie Henry and Maurice Hurst to blossom. This could be their year. They are entering their primes and have experience. They are looking confident. They will have a lot of help on the outside to make them better, but one or both stepping up could be huge for this unit. Ken Bishop and Jay Bromley are solit veterans, but really just best suited to be backups.

Milwaukee Warriors

DE Mike Catapano – 9

DL Matt Dickerson – 6a

DE Markus Jones – 6a

DE Shawn Lemon – 7.d

DE A.C. Leonard – 7

DT Ronald Ollie – 7aa

DE Joe Ostman – 7aa

DE Chris Peace – 7a

NT D.J. Reader – 8aa

DL Steven Richardson – 6a

Mike Catapano has long been the rock for this franchise’s defensive line. He’s as steady as they come and consistently a tough matchup for opponents who grinds his way to success. He’s ready again to lead this group. D.J. Reader has shown a lot of progress this year in camp from last year. He’s finally starting to live up to his potential. Those two are definitely the top duo on the defensive line for the Warriors, but they have some guys with nice potential and might be ready to step up too. Joe Ostman will be remembered for his lights out D-League two years ago. Last year in the SFL he was getting his feet under him. This year he’s looking very comfortable and looks ready to provide a nice pass rushing threat on the outside. Ronald Ollie is looking ready to step in at defensive tackle next to Reader. AC Leonard and Shawn Lemon will provide some quality veteran leadership. This group will get better as the year goes on.

Mississippi Gators

DT DeMarcus Christmas – 6aa

DE Hunter Dimick – 6aa

DE Gerri Green – 6aa

DT Frank Herron – 6aa

DL David Irving – 8.d

DE Eric Lee – 6a

DE Carroll Phillips – 6a

DT Sterling Shippy – 6aa

DT Bryant Turner – 7

Mississippi has to be rather disappointed with their defensive line this year. They have a bunch of guys. David Irving basically brings all the experience and he is the best guy they have, but coming from Minnesota, he’s showing why they didn’t want to keep him around. He’s not going to hurt the Gators, but it’s rough that he is going to be their best defensive linemen. Hunter Dimick and Gerry Green need to step up but neither looks ready to. Sterling Shippy and Frank Herron have potential on the inside, but neither look ready to become a starter either. DeMarcus Christmas could be the guy to breakout from the group, but he’s looking like a rookie in camp. This unit needs time more than anything. Until then, it might be veteran Bryant Turner getting a starting spot inside with David Irving, but that is a lack-luster duo with questions on the outside.

Nashville Renegades

DE Olasunkanmi Adeniyi – 6aa

DE Tobi Antigha – 10

DE Greg Hardy – 8.d

DE CeCe Jefferson – 6a

DT Hassan Ridgeway – 8aa

DE Ian Seau – 6

DT Watson Tautuiaki – 10

Tobi Antigha has become an elite pass rusher and looks to continue on after a 15 sack season a year ago. And Watson Tautuiaki continues to be a guy who despite so many perceived limitations just puts everything he has out there every time he plays and continues to make major success. Those two were never questions. The addition of Hassan Ridgeway hopes to be the long term answer at the second defensive tackle spot. Last year Nick Fairley performed very well. Ridgeway isn’t quite that level, but he’s really growing into a very good interior player. Now in Nashville and entering his prime at 25 years old, he could be ready to really break out. Greg Hardy, on the other hand, is still a quality player, but at 31-years-old he’s not what he once was and he’s not putting the effort he used to into his game. Still, he’s always a threat out on the field to beat and assault anyone who crosses him. Olasunkanmi Adeniyi is an interesting young player who has caught some eyes at times but definitely needs to develop.

New Orleans Nightmare

DE Isaiah Buggs – 6aa

DE Darryl Cato-Bishop – 6

DE Royce LaFrance – 8aa

DT Ettore Lattanzio – 6a

NG Willie McGinnis – 8

DT Leon Orr – 7a

DT Brent Urban – 9aa

DE James Vaughters – 8aa

Brent Urban is on a mission to bounce back from a pretty disappointing 2019 season in which he managed only two sacks and 43 tackles. Don’t let those numbers fool you, he’s still one of the best defensive linemen in the league and he’s come into this season with a fire in his belly and he is in great shape. An improved performance by him will be huge because we saw Royce LaFrance really step up on the d-line last season and racke up 12 sacks while James Vaughters has eight a year ago. Those two on the outside with a determined Urban and an always steady Willie McGinnis can make up one of the best defensive lines in the league. Depth isn’t the greatest here, however. It’s a top heavy group Leon Orr is a big athlete on the inside, but they will need rookie Isaiah Buggs to step up as the third defensive end.

New York Marauders

DE Ryan Delaire – 8

DT Woodrow Hamilton – 6aa

DE Stansly Maponga – 6

DE Victor Ochi – 6a

DE Charles Omenihu – 7aa

NT Michael Pierce – 10

DT Patrick Ricard – 9aa

DE Justin Tuggle – 7

DT DeAngelo Tyson – 7.d

DE Jabar Westerman – 8a

The Marauders very well may have the best inside duo in the entire league with the huge run-stuffer Michael Pierce and the tremendously athletic Patrick Ricard. Ricard has finally pushed his way entirely into a starting job and he’s come into camp looking great and has performed very well. Pierce just continues to be a load that no one man can block by themselves. The Marauders are very committed to veteran DeAngelo Tyson. He’s a beloved locker room veteran, but he’s long removed from his days as a quality starter. Woodrow Hamilton has been a guy with potential for a few years now. It is time for him to take a step forward and become a consistent role player. The edge is a different story. The Marauders have some decent players, but overall they don’t have a very high ceiling. Jabar Westerman had a fine season, getting seven sacks in 2019, his first year in New York. but he probably won’t do too much better. Ryan Delair has consistently shown he can be a quality edge setter, but like Westerman, he’s probably at his peak. Justin Tuggle was brought in for his grit, but he’s also a limited athlete and nothing more than a quality depth player. It is up to Charles Omenihu to develop into a top pass rusher. The Marauders traded up to get him in the draft and he’s showing a lot of potential. He could be the best pass rusher on the roster by the season’s end.

Omaha Express

DE Dorance Armstrong – 8aa

DE Kwaku Boateng – 9aa

DT Jake Ceresna – 7aa

DT Jalen Jelks – 6aa

DT Micah Johnson – 7

DT Mike Klassen – 6a

DE Jonathan Kongbo – 6aa

DT Vincent Valentine – 6a

DE Odell Willis – 7.d

Kwaku Boateng is a bad man. Entering his third year, he’s looking to make a big statement that he’s ready to be now as one of the most dangerous pass rushers around. With a rising Dorance Armstrong playing opposite him, there could be some pressure and attention taking off of him to help him be even better. Inside, Jake Ceresna has done well, but he isn’t consistent at being a top guy yet. He’s slowly building to there, but he’s still a bit away. But with time, he can keep improving. Micah Johnson might have to be the fourth starter, but he hasn’t been particularly good throughout his career. He’s just more ready to start than Jalen Jelks. He’s flashed some potential but he’s quite inconsistent. Depth on the outside will consist of Jonathan Kongbo and Odell Willis. Willis is very much at the end of his career. This could be his final go. He’s definitely slowed down. Kongbo didn’t perform up to expectations in the D-League, but he’s shown flashed of his talent.

Orlando Rockets

DE Tashawn Bower – 7aa

DE Jonathan Bullard – 8aa

DT Albert Huggins – 6aa

DE Charleston Hughes – 8.d

DE Willie Jefferson – 10

DE Cordarro Law – 7

DT Mike Moore – 7a

DT Jamiyus Pittman – 6a

DT Almondo Sewell – 10

DE Michael Wakefield – 6a

DT Dylan Wynn – 8a

Willie Jefferson and Charleston Hughes are both coming off 14 sacks seasons. However, they are trending in different directions. Hughes continues to impress everybody even at 36 years old. He’s slowed down a bit this year in camp, but he looked to be a bit slower last year and still had 14 sacks. Jefferson is at the peak of his prime right now and figures to have another big year in 2020. And then there is the perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate Almondo Sewell. He’s routinely listed among the very best defensive tackles in the league and is just as monstrous as he always has been. Dylan Wynn has been a nice surprise in training camp so far and looks ready to step up his game. Tashawn Bower might force himself into a bigger role on the edge. Honestly, it wouldn’t be shocking if by the end of the season if he’s starting and getting more snaps than Hughes. The Rockets as always have a bevvy of depth. Cordarrow Law, Mike Moore and Albert Huggins can all make an impact in some way this year.

Philadelphia Bulldogs

DE Duke Ejiofor – 8aa

DT Tyler Lancaster – 6aa

DT Kevin Givens – 6aa

DE Marcus Martin – 6a

DE Shareef Miller – 6aa

DE Carl Nassib – 9aa

DE Shawn Oakman – 7

DE Kene Onyeka – 7a

DE Joe Sykes – 6a

NG Terrance Taylor – 7

DE/DT Anthony Zettel – 9aa

The Bulldogs have some serious talent on the defensive line. Added to the already rock star duo of Carl Nassib and Anthony Zettel is Duke Ejiofor. He had a tremendous rookie year in Houston but now he’s a huge addition for the Bulldogs and is coming into his second season looking even better than last season. As Nassib and Zettel are comfortably entering their primes, that trio can be a deadly force for the bulldogs. Terrance Taylor is getting up there in age but was really good last season and is likely going to keep his starting spot at defensive tackle. Age is starting to catch up to him but Tyler Lancaster and Kevin Givens both show potential, but just aren’t ready to jump him on the depth chart yet. Shareef Miller and Kene Onyeka have some potential as defensive end. Onyeka is probably going to mix it up with Shawn Oakman as the top rotational guys on the edge.

Pittsburgh Forge

DT Sheldon Day – 7aa

DT Davon Godchaux – 9aa

DE Da’Shawn Hand – 7aa

DT Johnathan Hankins – 9aa

DT Joey Mbu – 7

DT Casey Sayles – 7

DT Sealver Siliga 7.d

DT Jerel Worthy – 7a

Davon Godchaux and Johnathan Hankins are looking great out there on the practice field. Both are set to be forces to be recon with and the Forge have long been missing a strong defensive line presence. With Godchaux’ development and Hankins’ addition, the Forge could have a top flight duo. Sheldon Day is a quality young player with plenty of potential as well. The Forge generally go with a three-man front, so expect that trio to be out there the most, but in pass rushing situations, Da’Shawn Hand really should be expected to be utilized. He’s another big guy, but he’s pretty explosive. Jerel Worthy should slot in somewhere in the rotation too. He’s showing improvement and might finally be putting his potential together with his athleticism.

Sacramento Bandits

DT Patrick Choudja – 7aa

DT Jared Crick – 8

DL Zack Evans – 8a

DE Damontre Moore – 7aa

DE Bunmi Rotimi – 6a

DT Cam Thomas – 8

DE Jamaal Westerman – 8.d

Zack Evans had his chances in New York but never quite seemed to put it all together. But he’s looking fresh and excited in Sacramento for a new opportunity. He’s still capable of getting the job done and could finally have his breakout season. He is in very high spirits and it has translated on the field so far in camp. Jamaal Westerman is well past his prime. He’s still capable of making an impact but he’s slowed down as a pass rusher a long way. He’s mostly using his craft to set the edge now. Damontre Moore has been around for quite some time, but hasn’t quite figured things out yet. Still, though, he shows good flashes. Patrick Choudja is an interesting run-stuffing prospect but really needs time to grow. Jared Crick has yet another opportunity in the SFL. He hasn’t taken advantage of any of them yet but he continues to come back because he clearly has some ability. But expecting him to be more than he is now would be silly. Big Cam Thomas might get some playing time just based on his size making him a worthy run-stuffer. Bunmi Rotimi needs to develop before he can be put into a significant role. Expect Rod Marinelli to get more out of this group than any others probably would.

San Antonio Marshalls

DE Alex Bazzie – 8a

DT Andrew Billings – 9aa

DE Ja’Gared Davis – 9a

DE Carl Granderson – 7aa

DT Dante Hibbert – 6aa

DT Darius Latham – 9

DE Alex Okafor – 9a

The Marshalls are loaded with talent on the defensive line. They are deep and have plenty of top stars. Andrew Billings has been getting better and better each season. Bob Stoops instructed his defense focus on getting him in the best position possible to make the biggest impact. He’s a disruptive force and has been taking over in practices. Darius Latham had a disappointing 2019 season, but looks to be re-invigorated this year with all the talent surrounding him on the defense. He and Billings are going to be a force. But the talent is across the entire line. Alex Okafor has steadily been one of the most dangerous edge defenders in the league and he’s looking to keep going strong. Ja’Gared Davis is looking very dangerous as a pass rusher and could lead the team. Alex Bazzie is another dangerous pass rusher who has to figure in on this defense in a significant role. Carl Granderson has tremendous talent and is chomping at the bit to carve out a role for himself too. It’s a good problem to have, but the question might be how the defense will get everybody involved.

San Diego Diablos

DT Michael Bennett – 7aa

DE Justin Capicciotti – 10

DT Christian Covington – 9aa

DE Kevin Dodd – 7ac

DT Matt Elam – 6a

DL Christian LaCouture – 6a

DT Gerald Willis – 6aa

DE Deatrich Wise, Jr. – 8aa

Justin Capicciotti had been showing his potential, but last year he broke out in incredible fashion, racking up an incredible 17 sacks and 80 tackles. He’s at his very best and he’s been great this training camp. He’s helped make Deatrich Wise better as well, but Wise is also improving on his own with just added reps and experience. Together, he expects to be a strong duo once again while inside, Christian Covington is really stepping up well and is playing at a high level right now. Michael Bennett is outperforming the other interior defensive lineman for the second defensive tackle spot, but Gerald Willis is showing very nice potential.

Seattle Orcas

NT Greg Gaines – 7aa

DE Brady Lyons – 6aa

DE Romeo Okwara – 9aa

DE Darius Philon – 8aa

DT Michael Sanelli – 6aa

DE Dante Sawyer – 6aa

DT Destiny Vaeao – 7aa

DT Joe Vellano – 8.d

The Orcas defensive line looks quite different without Zach Kerr of the ageless veteran Khreem Smith, but they still have a lot of talent. Now, the d-line belongs to Romeo Okwara. He got the expensive tag to stay in Seattle and he is ready to take over. He’s been great in camp and is showing great burst off the edge. Darius Philon actually out-performed Okwara last year and looks to be headed for another quality season too opposite him. The depth isn’t quite there like usual, but Brad Lyons and Dante Sawyer have down solid potential to become quality third and fourth pass rush options. Inside, replacing Kerr is going to be very tough to do, but don’t be surprised if rookie Greg Gaines wins that job. Joe Vellano is a quality veteran, but he’s on the decline. He can still contribute but Gaines is getting better each practice. Destiny Vaeao is another quality young player with potential, and he does have more experience than Gaines. He could make it an interesting battle. Michael Sanelli has potential but is quite a bit behind the others.

St. Louis Stallions

DT Josh Augusta – 7aa

DT Terry Beckner – 6a

DE Marcell Frazier – 6a

DT Marcus Hardison – 7ac

DL Ziggy Hood – 8.d

DL Karl Klug – 7a

DE Dawuane Smoot – 8aa

DE Max Valles – 8aa

DE Terence Waugh – 6aa

St. Louis has some nice talent and potential on the defensive line. Max Valles has taken his starting opportunity in St. Louis and has run with it. He’s blossomed in the expanded role and had double-digit sacks last year and is building on it this year already. He and Dawuane Smoot are growing together at the same time. That duo has nice potential to be very solid starters and pass rushers. Inside, Josh Augusta was a tremendous surprise last year. Nobody really expected much from him going into last season but he finished the year with six sacks. He might have overachieved a bit, but he’s definitely getting better. That is good too, because Ziggy Hood is starting to show his age and Karl Klug has only been decent in his return to the SFL. Marcus Hardison hasn’t quite lived up to the hype either. But the thing about those three veterans is they do have some value as veterans who can contribute behind two budding stars like SMoot and Valles. Those three will mix it up in between those guys along with Augusta. Terence Waugh has shown nice potential on the outside.

Utah Raptors

DT Mic’hael Brooks – 8a

DE Kylie Fitts – 7aa

DE Teddy Jennings – 9.d

DE Bronson Kaufusi – 7aa

DE Corbin Kaufusi – 6aa

DE Ifeadi Odengibo – 8aa

DL Tenny Palepoi – 6a

DT Claude Pelon – 7a

DT Grover Stewart – 7aa

DT Jake Thomas – 7

When the Raptors had the opportunity to bring in the 2017 Defensive PLayer of the Year, they took it in a hurry. Jennings probably isn’t going to be the Defensive Player of the Year again, but he’s still an elite defensive player capable of making a major impact in a game. Before Jennings was recently acquired the Raptors seemed ready to go with Ifeadi Odengibo and Kylie Fitts as their starting defensive end duo. Odengibo absolutely seems ready to break out as a very good pass rusher in this league. He did a great job, racking up eight last season. It is his time to shine in Utah. Kylie Fitts, however, wasn’t quite ready. He played okay last year, but he’s taking a bit longer than expected to come around. That isn’t something to worry about, it’s just something to be patient with and adding Jennings allowed them to be patient. Fitts will still be involved in the defense, but he can come in situationally and continue to improve his game. The Kaufusi brothers are both very good athletes but they are quite raw. Both could find ways on the field but the elder Bronson is definitely a step ahead of the rookie Corbin. Inside, Mic’hael Brooks is a guy the owner of this team loves and he is a very welcome addition from Iowa, where he performed very well a year ago. Grover Stewart has played very well in training camp and appears ready to step into a much bigger role as a starter. Claude Pelon and Jake Thomas figure to battle it out for the spot as the third defensive tackle in the rotation.

Virginia Admirals

DE Bryan Cox, Jr. – 7aa

DE Michael Dogbe – 6aa

DE Folorunso Fatukasi – 7aa

DE Earl Okine – 6a

DE Cedric Reed – 7a

DT Armon Watts – 6aa

DE Oshane Ximines – 7aa

Virginia’s defensive line will go through some obvious growing pains, but when they aren’t making mistakes of inexperience, they will be making players because they are talented. The Admirals have quite a few good, young defensive linemen. Right now, while Bryan Cox Jr. and Folorunso Fatukasi have the experience, rookie Oshane Ximines might be the best of the young trio. He’s definitely the best pass rusher. As he develops he can become a strong edge threat and disruptive player for the Admirals. The more time he gets the better it will be for everyone. Armon Watts is the only natural interior linemen the Admirals have. The good thing is he’s been solid and has shown nice potential, but he’s very raw. Michael Dogbe is in a similar position but on the edge, has potential but is very raw. The Admirals should be targeting another defensive tackle before the season starts.

Washington Wave

DE Bo Banner – 6a

DE Frank Beltre – 8

DE Matthieu Betts – 7aa

DE Trent Corney – 7

DT Will Geary – 7aa

DT Quinton Jefferson – 8aa

DE Ivan McLennan – 6aa

DE Yannick Ngakoue – 10

DT Kingsley Opara – 7aa

DT Dontavius Russell – 7aa

Yannick Ngakoue has always been regarded as one of the brightest young defensive stars. Now, he’s ready to become one of the elite defensive players in the league. He’s been just unstoppable in training camp and his explosiveness and athleticism might be second to none in the entire league. Along with the tremendous improvement of Quinton Jefferson, the Wave have two of the best defensive linemen around. But the Wave have a load of talent up front to go with those guys. Kingsley Opara and Will Geary are steadily improving while Frank Beltre is just his solid self. Rookies Matthieu Betts and Dontavius Russell show very nice potential as well and could push for some reps this year. Ivan McLennan is getting some seasoning and that experience might pay off. He’s just working hard to keep improving.

SFL Top 5 DL

1. DE Matt Judon (Michigan Stags)
2. DE Yannick Ngakoue (Washington Wave)
3. DT Almondo Sewell (Orlando Rockets)
4. DE Justin Capicciotti (San Diego Diablos)
5. NT Michael Pierce (New York Marauders)

By the Numbers:
Total DL: 257
10 Rating: 14 (5.5%)
9 Rating: 27 (10.5%)
8 Rating: 46 (17.9%)
7 Rating: 80 (31.1%)
6 Rating: 90 (35.0%)