It’s been known since late February that former University of Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson was drafted by the Michigan Panthers with the first overall pick in the USFL Draft.
Only recently, however, did the USFL finally reveal complete rosters for the eight-team professional football league that kicks off with a game between the New Jersey Generals and Birmingham Stallions on April 16. The Panthers play the next day against the Houston Gamblers to begin their season. All regular season games for the entire league will be played in Birmingham, Alabama.
FanDuel Michigan and BetRivers have odds of +450 on the Panthers winning the 2022 USFL championship. It’s the best odds among the teams heading into the reboot of a league that originally played during the 1980s. FanDuel also has odds of +450 on the Tampa Bay Bandits winning it all, while BetRivers has odds of +500 on Tampa Bay and the New Orleans Breakers.
How the sportsbooks account for the Panthers being the team most likely to end up claiming the league championship isn’t clear, especially when team rosters only became known a few weeks ago.
Yet, Patterson, who passed for 8,800 yards and 68 TDs over his time at Michigan and Ole Miss, and the rest of Panthers are projected to be playing in the USFL title game scheduled to take place on July 3 at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
Obviously, the Panthers becoming champions is going to require more than just Patterson being a one-man show on a team where the average age of the players is 25.6 years old and the average player size is 6-foot-1, 242.2 pounds.
Here’s a look at the Panthers’ roster by position.
Patterson, who played his last two collegiate seasons at Michigan (2018-19), was the first overall selection in the USFL draft. You don’t have to wonder who will be standing behind center when the Panthers offense takes the field for the first time. He’s the starter and figures as one of the most recognized players in the spring league. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder is looking to make the most of this opportunity to show that he’s a more than capable QB.
Former Memphis standout Paxton Lynch (6-7, 245) was drafted to serve as Patterson’s backup. Lynch, who was drafted by the NFL’s Denver Broncos in 2016, put up prolific passing numbers while in college, totaling nearly 9,000 yards to go along with 59 TDs. He seems like a solid No. 2 who could step right in if needed.
“Paxton is just looking for the right opportunity,” Panthers coach Jeff Fisher said in a video interview posted on the team’s website. “Paxton’s skill set is certainly different from Shea’s, so we may use them both.”
— Michigan Panthers (@USFLPanthers) April 3, 2022
Michigan grabbed former Indiana standout running back Stevie Scott III (6-1, 225) with its second pick in the draft. Scott was a battering ram in a Hoosiers uniform, rushing for more than 2,500 yards and 30 TDs during three seasons at Indiana. Reggie Corbin (5-9, 205) played at Illinois and Cameron Scarlett (6-0, 220) played at Stanford, two programs that traditionally like to lean on running the football.
Wide receiver/tight end
Quincy Adeboyejo (6-3, 185), Lance Lenoir (6-0, 207), Ray Bolden (5-9, 165), Jeff Badet (5-11, 183), and Devin Ross (5-9, 181) make up the wide receivers group. Adeboyejo, an Ole Miss product, is projected as the Panthers’ top wideout. He spent a brief amount of time in a few NFL camps since 2017, but much of his pro experience has been on practice squads and he’s been sidelined with injuries.
Connor Davis (6-8, 260), Joey Magnifico (6-4, 245), La’Michael Pettway (6-2, 219), and Marcus Baugh (6-4, 240) make up the tight ends. It’s a group that seems suited more for blocking than pass catching.
Sean Pollard (6-5, 322), Teton Saltes (6-5, 300), Tejan Koroma (6-1, 290), Keith Williams (6-7, 290), Cordel Iwuagwu (6-3, 309), and Daishawn Dixon (6-4, 331) provide plenty of heft up front to protect Patterson in the pocket and provide running lanes.
Kyshonn Tyson (6-4, 280), T.J. Carter (6-3, 279), and Jaquan Bailey (6-1, 281) make up the short list of linemen on the defensive side of the football for the Panthers.
Adewale Adeoye (6-4, 270), Chase DeMoor (6-5, 250), Cavon Walker (6-2, 275), Frank Ginda (6-0, 236), Justin Lorenz Hughes (6-1, 229), Tre’ Threat (6-2, 260), Terry Myrick (5-11, 225), and Taiwan Jones (6-3, 249) make up the group of pass rushers and run stoppers. Myrick, an Eastern Michigan product, and Jones, a former Michigan State standout, are projected as leaders for the group.
Joseph Putu (6-2, 195), Jameson Houston (5-11, 200), Tino Ellis (6-1, 194), Warren Saba (5-9, 193), Dominique Martin (5-10, 180), Sean Williams (6-1, 215), Orion Stewart (6-0, 205), and Kieron Williams (6-1, 195) make up the depth chart for the Panthers secondary.
Former San Jose State punter Michael Carrizosa (5-9, 225) has been assigned the punting duties while Shane Griffin (6-4, 253), of West Chester University, is listed as the long snapper. In a league where two-point conversion tries are encouraged, the Panthers don’t list a kicker on the roster.
Photo: John Heider/USA TODAY