The inaugural Upstate Flag League draft went off Sunday at Wicked in Clifton Park.
The early draft order may have been a little confusing to some going Polk High (1), Polk High (2), CTS Spartans (3), Punishers (4), Onslaught Nation (5), Punishers (6), CTS Spartans (7), Polk High (8), Polk High (9). Onslaught was wheeling and dealing Sunday but that's not why they only had 1 pick in the top 10 while Polk High walked away with 4 of the top 10 picks in the draft. The reason for the uneven early pick count was that we allowed teams to start with up to 3 core players which counted as the early round picks. Polk High only had one core player and Onslaught maxed out at 3. The other two teams had two core players each. In addition to that we were doing a snake draft and Polk High drew the first pick in the draft.
It was no surprise to anyone that Salih Banks went #1 overall and for the most part the first couple of rounds went as expected. It was a minor surprise to see the top combine performer Tysheem Morris drop to the Punishers at #4, but it's not like he fell to the 5th round. I know Punishers coach Brad Lafountain was very happy to be able to snatch him up there as he mentioned prior to the draft to me that he was hoping to get him. Polk High, coached by Nick Mustico, managed to walk away with a stable of athletes from the top 10 picks after Banks adding John Koch (TE/DE/LB/P) at #2 overall then Vonzel Legall (RB/CB), former Stony Brook lax player, at #8 and Marcus Stanford (WR/S) at #9.
The Constable Tree Service Spartans went with the safe pick round one plucking the best available, and top three feet, offensive lineman in Jeremy Hatter. Hatter will likely be in the running for the offensive lineman of the year and $350 cash prize from Capital District Lawn Care provided he stays healthy and makes most of the games.
Onslaught had to wait until the first pick of round two to make their first choice but made a great pick snatching up WR/S Matt Callahan to add to an already dangerous core including coach EJ Hakala & CJ Tarver. Callahan may be old as dirt but he still make plays. I don't know what kind of defenses teams are going to run to slow down the Onslaught attack but it will be interesting to see what they can figure out.
The steal of the draft might have come in the 7th round when Polk High swooped in and scooped up 6' 2" former D2 WR Joshua Fortner who also posted the third best 40 time at our combine.
Perhaps the most exciting moments of the draft came when Onslaught Nation coach EJ Hakala pulled off not one, not two, but three draft day trades. First he traded a 6th and 7th round pick to Polk High for 4th round pick Ricky Roark (WR/CB). Towards the end of the draft Onslaught sent their 9th and 10th round picks to the Punishers for 7th round pick Brandon Izzo (WR/S). Finally, coach Hakala somehow convinced coach Nick Mustico of Polk high to give up his 6th round pick Michael Byerwalters for a guy who he just got to sign up after the draft was over, Kevin Fahrenkopf! Maybe EJ should be a salesman if he isn't already.
Our sideline reporter and Multimedia Director Cailin Burke will be releasing a short video covering some highlights from draft day. If you weren't signed up and would like to play this season, there's still time. We have 15 open roster spots that will be filled with our supplemental draft. Players who are interested should create an account at upstateflagleague.com, register for the combine and pay the $50 deposit to become eligible for the supplemental draft. Supplemental draft players will compete in a scrimmage on Saturday, September 9th where coaches can watch to see who they want to add to their teams. Undrafted players will receive a full refund.
A round robin scrimmage will give coaches an opportunity to see what free agents have to offer.
The draft and season have been pushed back one week.
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