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Pittsburgh Maulers’ Roster: USFL Draft Results, Rosters, and Roster Analysis

Pittsburgh Maulers' Roster: USFL Draft Results, Rosters, and Roster Analysis

Pittsburgh Maulers’ Roster: USFL Draft Results, Rosters, and Roster Analysis

The Pittsburgh Maulers and the other seven teams in the United States Football League have completed the 2022 Draft and filled their rosters.  Two days and thirty-five picks later, Kirby Wilson has his team ready to get to work and take the field.  The Draft took place over two days and flew at a rapid pace.  The USFL’s draft had 12 rounds in the first segment.  In these 12 rounds, we saw quarterbacks, defensive ends, offensive tackles, and cornerbacks get drafted as each round consisted of only a specified position group.  The second segment of the USFL draft consisted of wide receivers, safety, centers, guards, linebackers, kickers, punters, defensive tackles, and long snappers.

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Pittsburgh Maulers’ Roster: USFL Draft Results, Rosters, and Roster Analysis

What Kind Of Team Will Kirby Wilson Run?

We have yet to see what kind of team Kirby Wilson will run.  The running back positional coach gets his first head coaching job.  Tuesday and Wednesday he got to shape the team exactly how he wanted it through the Pittsburgh Maulers draft.  We saw every type of player taken from experienced players to ones who still have developing to do.  Wilson drafted fast guys, big guys, and all-around players.

Quarterbacks

Kyle Lauletta
Josh Love

You have to think Kyle Lauletta will be given the first crack at starting quarterback.  Lauletta was taken in the first round of the Pittsburgh Maulers draft and seventh overall.  Bouncing around in the NFL, Lauletta didn’t get many years to develop before he found himself out of the league.  He’ll look to revert to his days at Richmond where he threw for a career 10,465 yards.  That was good enough to nab him the school record.   Lauletta was a team leader with experience playing shotgun, pistol, and under center.  He’s comfortable throwing on the run and he can use his eyes to shift linebackers.

However, Lauletta will have to be on top of his game.  In the 12th round of the Pittsburgh Maulers draft, they selected Josh Love out of San Jose State.  Love threw for 7,206 yards at San Jose State and 43 touchdowns.  He was the Mountain West offensive player of the year his senior year.  Love has great footwork and steps and drives his hips with great form.  He has a sudden release that is crisp.  He’s unafraid to take shots downfield and is extremely smart.  Love was only sacked more than once in a single game twice his senior year.  He was a former walk-on who now has his opportunity to shine.

Running Backs

De’Veon Smith
Garrett Groshek

Being a running backs coach for so long I was interested to see how Wilson approached the Pittsburgh Maulers draft at the position.  While I think both of these guys will see plenty of action, I would rank De’Veon Smith as the lead back.  Smith is a big ample back who runs decisively and doesn’t dance with tacklers.  He has strong legs and will keep driving through contact.  In college, he ran for 2,225 total yards and 22 touchdowns.  Smith also has good hands for catching the ball and averaged 6.6 yards per catch in college.  Smith has bounced around leagues such as the NFL, AAF, XFL, CFL and now gets his chance to prove himself again at the professional level.

Taken one pick before Smith, Garrett Groshek could play more of a 1B to Smith’s 1A.  Groshek is a former high school quarterback who played running back at Wisconsin.  He has excellent vision and the patience to let his blocks set up for him.  One of Groshek’s strong points is his ability to pass block for a quarterback out of shotgun. He graduated from Wisconsin in 2020 working his way from a walk-on to a two-year starter.  Groshek finished his career with 1,216 yards and is a blue-collar running back that should fit perfectly into Wilson’s scheme.

Wide Receivers

Branden Mack
Jeffrey Thomas
Bailey Gaither
Tre Walker
Delvon Hardaway

The Pittsburgh Maulers Draft started with pure speed. While Jeff Thomas had some issues in Miami with a suspension, he is a fast football player who can make big plays out of small catches. Thomas spent at the New England Patriots training camp but was eventually cut during final roster cuts. He’s explosive and will make huge plays on the field.  The Maulers followed that selection by selecting Bailey Gaither, another speedy wide receiver. In college, fifty percent of his touchdowns were on plays of 40 yards or more.  He’s an athletic pass catcher who should excel in the X or Z positions.  We wrote about another speedster, Delvon Hardaway, in SGPN’s wide receiver positional preview. He’s a speedy guy who had an injury in college set him back.  Last seen with the Aviators in TSL football, Hardaway will look to make the most of his next chance.

It wasn’t all speed in the Pittsburgh Maulers Draft, however.  Drafted in the third round of wide receivers, Brenden Mack, is 6-5.  Mack is an excellent route runner who possesses elite size and will be a big red zone target.  He is the tallest receiver on the Maulers.  Drafted in the last round of wide receivers, Tre Walker from San Jose St. joins the Pittsburgh Maulers’ roster.  He spent time on the Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2021 before getting cut.  Walker has a deep threat who can open the field and plays similar to former Bill’s receiver, John Brown.

Tight End

Matt Seybert

It won’t be hard to project the starting tight end as there was only one taken in the Pittsburgh Maulers draft.  The tight end who played college ball at Michigan State, Matt Seybert was drafted in the tight end round of the draft.  Seybert most recently spent time on the Los Angeles Chargers in 2021 before being cut after roster cuts. Prior to the Chargers, Seybert had success in The Spring League on the Conquerors.  Seybert is a big guy who is not only a redzone target but can block linebackers.  This will help in what I expect to be a run-heavy offense.

Offensive Line

Starts:
(OT) Isaiah Battle
(G) Vadal Alexander
(C) Nico Falah
(G) Josh Dietzen
(OT)Chidi Okeke

Depth:
(OT) Charles Baldwin
(C) Brayden Patton
(LS)  Mitchell Fraboni

My first impression of the Pittsburgh Maulers’ offensive tackles on the roster post-draft is that they are massive dudes.  One of the guys I believe will be a starting tackle, Isaiah Battle out of Clemson, stands 6-7 and 310 pounds.  He’s known for his length and athleticism and was the number 36 lineman in the nation coming into college.  He was drafted in the Rams in the 5th but never got the opportunity to start.

The other tackle looks like it may go to Chidi Okeke, a 6-5, 315-pound player out of Tennessee State.  Okeke was a 5-star prospect that originally went to LSU but transferred out due to lack of playing time.  He possesses excellent body strength and can jump set quickly.  Lastly, 6-5, 305-pound Charles Baldwin out of Youngstown State.  Baldwin is another very strong, athletic tight end who bounced around Alabama, Kansas, and finally Youngstown.  I think he’ll benefit from some development before he’s fully ready to start.

The interior linemen of the Pittsburgh Maulers draft aren’t small either and are a strength of this roster.  Starting guard Vadal Alexander stands 6-5, 326 pounds.  He was originally selected by the Raiders in the 7th round of the 2016 draft.  Alexander possesses natural power and the size to overwhelm defensive linemen.  On the other side, guard Josh Dietzen also stands 6-5.  He plays wide as a run blocker, furthering my hunch that this line is built to run behind.  Starting center Nico Falah out of USC was most recently seen on the Raiders practice squad in 2021.  He’s also spent time on the Jets, Broncos, and Titans.  At 6’4, Falah rounds out the massive offensive line.

Also drafted, 6-4 center Brayden Patton out of Northern Illinois, was most recently seen in the 2022 Hula Bowl.  He’ll look to make the most of this professional opportunity and develop into a starter.  And the last Pittsburgh Maulers Draft pick, long snapper Mitchell Fraboni out of Arizona State.

Defensive Line

Starters:
(DE) – Carlo Kemp
(DT) – Olive Sagapolu
(DT) – Boogie Roberts
(DE) – Eric Assoua

Depth:
(DE) – Nasir Player
(DT) – Jeremiah Pharms Jr.

The Pittsburgh Maulers Draft seemed to be looking for experience on the defensive line.  Out of Michigan, the first defensive end was Carlo Kemp.  Kemp utilizes his strong arms to shed blocks and excels in both pass and run defenses.  He was a four-year letterman who was voted team captain twice by his teammates.  On the other side is Eric Assoua out of Western Michigan.  Assoua is also a four-year varsity letterman who has excellent speed for his size.  He played in 46 games for Western Michigan, totaling 10 sacks, 17.5 tackles for losses, 5 forced fumbles, and 97 tackles. Behind them is Nasir Player out of East Tennessee State who I think will be subbed in often.  Another four-year starter, Player finished college with 182 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles.

For the interior of the Pittsburgh Maulers Draft, they started with Olive Sagapolu out of Wisconsin.  Sagapolu is very athletic for his size and possesses what is referred to as a tree stump run stopper. He’s also very well-liked by all of his teammates.  Next is Boogie Roberts out of San Jose State who is a true nose tackle who excels at pass rushing.  Last but not least, Jeremiah Pharms Jr. is a defensive tackle out of Friends College who could develop into being a monster on the line.

Linebackers

(OLB) Tyson Graham
(ILB) Ej Ejiya
(OLB) Kahva Tezino

(OLB) Malcolm Howard

The Pittsburgh Maulers draft went to find athletes who could fly on the field as they filled the roster.  The first that fits that profile is Tyson Graham out of South Dakota University.  Graham was formerly a safety who transitioned to outside linebacker.  He possesses the speed and size to play sideline to sideline.  Playing the other outside linebacker position, Kahva Tezino out of San Diego State is an excellent run-stopping linebacker.  Playing behind them, Malcolm Howard out of Central Oklahoma sits at a perfect spot to continue development and work up to a starter.  All three of these guys can fly to the ball and cut runners on the outside.

Playing in the middle, Ej Ejiya out of North Texas will lead these linebackers.  Eijya looks to make plays on every snap and is quick on the field.  He’s also quick to make decisions and has great instincts.  Ejiya is a very strong competitor and will look to elevate his play even more at the professional level.

Defensive Backs

(CB) Ajene Harris
(CB) Terrell Bonds
(S) Arnold Tarpley
(S) Bryce Torneden
(CB) Prince Robinson
(CB) Jaylon McClain-Sapp


The Pittsburgh Maulers draft in a roster in the defensive backfield that consisted of players who were fast and hard hitters.  USC standout Ajene Harris is a versatile athletic cornerback with great instincts.  He was a quarterback in high school and came to USC as a wide receiver before transitioning to cornerback.  He may also line up in the nickel spot.  Out of his 5 interceptions, he returned 2 for touchdowns as well as had 2 forced fumbles.  Next, Terrell Bonds out of Tennessee State is another player with elite speed.  He most recently played for the Memphis Express in the AAF where he had 14 tackles and a blocked punt for a touchdown.

Rounding out the cornerback position was Prince Robinson out of Tarleton St.  He’s 6-0, 190 pounds, and has great ball prediction.  He’s a former wide receiver and has soft hands and a nose for the ball and attacks as a hitter.  He had seven touchdowns between defense and special teams in college.  Last but not least, Jaylon McClain-Sapp out of Marshall.  He has a 41-inch vertical leap and explosive acceleration.  He can keep up with all wide receivers and swarms on top of routes.

In the safety position, Arnold Tarpley out of Vanderbilt.  Tarpley is a long, athletic safety who can hit hard.  Behind him Bryce Torneden, out of Kansas.  He had 161 tackles in college and is a great run-stopping safety.  He rounds out a defensive backfield that flies fast and hits hard.

Kicker/Punter

Due to the Pittsburgh Maulers draft team moving up for some comp picks they opted to pass on both a kicker and a passer.  Within the draft, you could select a comp pick at the end of any round, as long as you agreed to give up a future pick.  Pittsburgh used one of their comp picks to select center Brayden Patton.

Overall, the Pittsburgh Maulers draft formed their roster to be a run-heavy offense with some speedy wide receivers and a couple of big red zone targets.  On defense, they look big and mean in the trenches and fast and hard-hitting behind.

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Born and raised in Iowa, Justin Mark is an avid Chicago Bears fan. He is a self-published author and loves writing almost as much as he loves sports. He lives in the small town of Winterset, IA with his wife and their dog and cat. He is enjoys being part of the #degen nation that is of The Sports Gambling Podcast Network.

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