Major League Football is one step closer to its targeted spring launch, with training camp rosters in place following last week’s player draft.
Eight MLFB franchises drafted 70 players apiece, most of whom are recent college products that have competed in NFL training camps.
The eight cities will be announced in the days following Super Bowl 50, as will the league schedule and further details about venues, tickets, etc. MLFB is structured to complement the NFL, playing a spring-summer schedule, and will compete in cities that do not have pro franchises. MLFB games will be televised on ASN and livestreamed on americansportsnet.com.
Though the franchises haven’t been announced, last week’s four-day draft provided clues about potential locations. Each team drafted one designated franchise player first. The league then held a 40-round territorial draft that consisted of players with ties to geographic regions.
For instance, coach Chris Miller’s team consists of players from the Northwest and West Coast. Galen Hall’s squad has a heavy Florida school presence. Ted Cottrell’s and Wayne “Buddy” Geis’ teams are packed with players from the Southeast, while Larry Kirksey’s team carries players mostly from the upper Midwest. Robert Ford’s territorial picks were players with Texas school ties, and Charlie Collins’ team has players from Utah, Arizona and the Rocky Mountain region. Dave Campo’s team has a Midwestern presence.
Following the territorial draft, the final 29 rounds were free and open. Coaches could select players from any region.
Five of the eight teams chose quarterbacks as their franchise players, but the importance of line play was reflected in the early rounds of the territorial draft. Sixty-two of the first 160 players drafted were offensive or defensive linemen.
Geis, a longtime offensive coach in college and the pros, took former Ole Miss defensive end Emmanuel Stephens as his franchise player. Stephens was one of six defensive linemen in the team’s first 17 picks, along with former Kentucky standout Donte Rumph. Rumph lived in a tent outside Atlanta’s training facility after the Falcons released him in 2014 to demonstrate his commitment to the team and to pro football.
Kirksey used five of his first eight picks on offense, drafting former Central Michigan star and Canadian Football League quarterback Dan LeFevour as his franchise player. He chose former Ohio State products Marcus Hall, an offensive lineman, and running backs Felix Joyner and Jordan Hall. Kirksey’s team drafted seven defensive linemen among the first 20 picks.
After Miller drafted former Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas as his franchise player, five of his next 10 picks were on offensive linemen and receivers, including former Ducks Mark Asper and Rahsaan Vaughn.
Hall drafted former South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia as his franchise player, then used his next two picks on defensive linemen Darious Cummings and Damien Jacobs, close friends and teammates at Florida.
Above: Donte Rumph of Kentucky, who lived in a tent outside the Atlanta Falcons’ facility to prove his commitment to the team and to football after being released in 2014, was drafted by Buddy Geis’s team in Major League Football. (Courtesy Andy Lyons/Getty Images)