The Alliance of American Football held an eight-team “protect or pick” quarterback draft Monday night and there were plenty of CFL connections.
First overall pick Josh Johnson was on and off neg lists over the last few years but is not currently property of any CFL team.
“There were a couple teams that worked Johnson out in the past, but the interest to come over the border was minimal as he wants to get back into the NFL where he’s played since 2008,” a CFL personnel man said.
Second overall pick Aaron Murray used to be on the Toronto Argonauts negotiation list, although he made it known he was never going to play the three-down game and since been taken off. Trevor Knight (No. 6) is owned by the Montreal Alouettes. Garret Gilbert (No. 7) was property of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but removed when it was clear he was going to play in the AAF.
In the second round, Mike Bercovici (No. 9) is on the Montreal Alouettes neg list. Blake Sims (No. 10) began his pro football career with the Argos before the Riders picked him up during the 2015 season. He was let go by the Riders in December that year without seeing any game action.
John Wolford (No. 11) resides on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ list. Stephen Morris’ rights (No. 12) were owned by the B.C. Lions. B.J. Daniels (No. 14) didn’t make it out of Saskatchewan’s training camp in 2018 after being a seventh-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and bouncing around six NFL teams. Christian Hackenberg (No. 15) is on the Edmonton Eskimos negotiation list while Marquise Williams (No. 16) spent two seasons with the Riders.
The Ottawa Redblacks have dibs on third-rounder Logan Woodside (No. 17). Same for Brandon Silvers (No. 18) and the Calgary Stampeders. Austin Allen (No. 19) belongs to the Alouettes. Philip Nelson (No. 24) couldn’t make the Winnipeg Blue Bombers active roster cut before the 2018 regular season began.
Fourth-round choice Matt Linehan (No. 27) used to be owned by the Redblacks. The last pick, Alex Ross played four games for the B.C. Lions in 2017 and one for the Bombers in 2018 but was released in September by the club.
A vast majority of Alliance players at all positions will be allocated to one of the eight teams – Memphis, San Antonio, Orlando, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Birmingham and Arizona – based on his college or pro team.
With the QBs, there’s an added element.
“We said originally that the first round would consist of everyone picking a protected player allocated to them by college or pro affiliation,” says league co-founder Bill Polian, a Pro Football Hall of Fame executive. “The general managers said they would rather have the option to pick someone else if they don’t have a guy they really believe in to protect. And we said OK.”
That meant the first of the four rounds of the QB draft consisted of some teams protecting players, which were announced beforehand. Then the actual draft where GMs did not protect a quarterback chose from the remaining pool of available passers regardless of their region. No trades were allowed. There were 56 quarterbacks at an AAF training camp last week in San Antonio and 32 were chosen.
“Many of the quarterbacks drafted by the AAF have either already gone through the CFL or been worked out by franchises north of the border and deemed not a fit for the Canadian style of game,” a CFL general manager said.
“And the others are more big-bodied quarterbacks fit for the NFL game.”
The new league begins to play the weekend after the Super Bowl.
- San Diego Fleet: Josh Johnson (protected)
- Atlanta Legends: Aaron Murray (protected)
- Memphis Express: Troy Cook (protected)
- San Antonio Commanders: Dustin Vaughan (protected)
- Birmingham Iron: Luis Perez
- Arizona Hotshots: Trevor Knight
- Orlando Apollos: Garrett Gilbert
- Salt Lake Stallions: Josh Woodrum
- San Diego Fleet: Mike Bercovici
- Birmingham Iron: Blake Sims
- Arizona Hotshots: John Wolford
- Orlando Apollos: Stephen Morris
- Atlanta Legends: Matt Simms
- Salt Lake Stallions: B.J. Daniels
- Memphis Express: Christian Hackenberg
- San Antonio Commanders: Marquise Williams
- San Antonio Commanders: Logan Woodside
- Memphis Express: Brandon Silvers
- Salt Lake Stallions: Austin Allen
- Atlanta Legends: Peter Pujals
- Orlando Apollos: Austin Appleby
- Arizona Hotshots: Quinn McQueary
- Birmingham Iron: Scott Tolzien
- San Diego Fleet: Philip Nelson
- San Antonio Commanders: Dalton Sturm
- Memphis Express: Zach Mettenberger
- Salt Lake Stallions: Matt Linehan
- Atlanta Legends: Justin Holman
- Orlando Apollos: Kevin Anderson
- Arizona Hotshots: Jack Heneghan
- Birmingham Iron: Alek Torgersen
- San Diego Fleet: Alex Ross
– with AP files