Analyzing The Memphis Showboats Protected Players & UFL Draft Picks

Projecting The Memphis Showboats 50 Man UFL Roster

The Memphis Showboats were able to turn their ship around last year as an 0-3 start turned into a 5-5 season that led to them just barely missing the playoffs. They hope to keep that momentum post merger with a new head coach in John Defillipo who replaces Todd Haley.

A new coaching staff means a lot of changes and today I’d like to look at their 75 man roster to see what a 50 man roster might look like at the end of UFL camp. This is just my opinion and there’s a lot that can happen from here to the start of the season so don’t take these predictions too seriously. With that said, let’s jump in.


Staying: Case Cookus, Cole Kelley, Troy Williams

Cuts: None

It’s hard to go wrong with a quarterback room that has 3 guys that were starting in the USFL by the end of the season. Cole Kelley is the incumbent but he’s likely going to be in the back seat as fan favorite and first pick of the USFL dispersal draft Case Cookus looks to take the reins. That’s not the end of it however as they added Troy Williams in free agency after he took the Maulers to the championship last year. It wouldn’t surprise me if they used him for QB runs on top of being the backup. No cuts necessary here, they are locked and loaded.

Skill Positions

RB Kennedy Brooks, Darius Victor, Trey Williams
WR Jonathan Adams, Ryan McDaniel, Diondre Overton, Josh Vann
Slot Rashard Davis, Derrick Dillon, Vinny Papale
TE Michael Ezeike, Sage Surratt, Dominique Dafney

RB Kerrith Whyte
WR Dee Anderson, Daewood Davis
Slot Lee Morris
TE Wes Saxton, Jay Jay Wilson

On top of getting Case Cookus, the Boats went into the dispersal draft and got a new running back, receiver 1, and starting tight end in Darius Victor, Jonathan Adams, and Sage Surratt respectively. On top of that they are keeping many quality weapons from last season in McDaniel, Davis, Dillon, and Papale. They also have added some other weapons with 2 running backs in Kennedy Brooks whos spent time with Eagles and Trey Williams who was with Victor with the Generals. 2 receivers in Diondre Overton who was a Philly Star for 2 seasons and Josh Vann who was recently signed, and 2 tight ends in draft pick Michael Ezeike and former Packer Dominique Dafney. That amount of talent means there are some cuts that hurt like Lee Morris who was great for New Orleans last year or blocking tight end Jay Jay Wilson. This is one of the most exciting groups of weapons in the league which could make this Showboat offense a lot more dynamic than they have been in the past.

Offensive Line

T Jarron Jones, Darrin Paulo, Terry Poole
G Kirk Kelley, Lukayus McNeil, Terrone Prescod
C Alec Lindstrom, Jared Thomas

T Clayton Bradley, Sidney Wells
G Tyran Hunt, Chance Lytle, Leka Uhatafe
C Jordan McCray

The offensive line got a fresh coat of paint this offseason. There are still a good number of returning players in 2 time All-USFL T Jarron Jones, Lukayus McNeil, and Terrone Prescod but the group gets a face lift with additions like Darrin Paulo coming back after 2 years with the Lions, another All-USFL T in Terry Poole, an All-USFL C in Jared Thomas, and a starter for the Breakers in Kirk Kelley. That’s not even including one of the highest upside offensive lineman in the UFL with Alec Lindstrom who is an NFL caliber lineman if he can stay healthy. That means a lot of faces will be on the outs like Jordan McCray, Tyran Hunt, and Clayton Bradley alongside some offseason additions. This group rounds out an offense that has the potential to be the best in the UFL.

Defensive Line

Staying: John Atkins Sr, Connor Christian, Josiah Bronson, Dillon Faamatau, Daylon Mack

Cuts: PJ Hall, Jeremiah Valoaga

This defensive line was about to run back a top group if it wasn’t for Jordan Williams deciding to go to the CFL this offseason. Without Williams, the starters will likely be Atkins Sr, Mack, and maybe Bronson with depth in Christian and Faamatau. This leaves a defensive linemen that was an NFL draft pick in PJ Hall on the outside looking in.

Edge Rushers

Staying: Jordan Brailford, Kolin Hill, Jeff McCulloch, Greg Reaves, Max Roberts

Cuts: Kahzin Daniels, Jordan Ferguson, Tyshun Render

This is an interesting edge group for Memphis as they retained both of their edge rushers from last season in Reaves and McCulloch but added a bunch of guys that were solid Robins more than Batmans especially in the case of Brailford, Roberts, and Hill. It leads to a group of players that I like but have no idea who will pop and be the starters for. The guys on the outside really hurt for this group with Ferguson and Render being guys I could completely see landing somewhere else but there are just not enough spots available in Memphis.


Staying: Anthony Butler, Vontae Diggs, Dylan Moses, TJ Neal

Cuts: Malik Lawal, Shaheed Salmon

The backers for Memphis are solid with the 2023 starter returning in Anthony Butler and TJ Neal and 2 big additions in Dylan Moses and Vontae Diggs that I’m projecting to be the starters for the Boats. That leaves a room that lacks depth as Malik Lawal and Shaheed Salmon are both out but that might be a necessary evil on a 50 man roster.


CB Delrick Abrams Jr, DJ Daniel, Will Likely, Kyree Woods, Tye Smith
S Antonie Brooks, Jarey Elder, Christian McFarland, Lamont McPhatter II

CB TJ Green, Nehemiah Shelton, Mike Stevens
S Quinton Meeks, Antonio Reed

This secondary will have a lot of new pieces that could make this a fun room if they work out. The returning pieces are Abrams Jr and Woods who were both quality starters last year for Memphis. They then added 2 All-USFL CBs in DJ Daniel and Will Likely on top of former 5th round pick Tye Smith. Then in the safety room they added 3 guys who started games in spring football in Elder, McFarland, and the extremely underrated Antonie Brooks. This means many of the players that made up the secondary last year are out like Quinton Meeks, Nehemiah Shelton, and former 2nd round pick TJ Green. The big surprise to this room is the retirement of star safety Troy Warner who Memphis is hoping to replace this season.


Staying: K Matt Coghlin, P Matt White, LS Turner Bernard

Cuts: None

Coach Flip has decided to replace the Memphis Showboats specialists with his old specialists from the New Orleans Breakers last year. This most notably means that they are getting one of the best kickers in the USFL last season in Matt Coghlin to replace Alex Kessman.

It’s sad to see the Showboats players not get a shot but it makes this room simple to predict, they are all staying.

Final Thoughts

This Memphis Showboats team has a ton of potential especially on offense where they basically have an all star USFL cast surrounding Case Cookus. They also had the player I hated to cut the most on any team with edge rusher Jordan Ferguson on top of other guys like Nehemiah Shelton and Jay Jay Wilson. We’ll see if this team can live up to hype and can finally defeat their grim reaper in the Birmingham Stallions who are a 4-0 on the Boats dating back to their Bandit days.

What are your thoughts on the Memphis Showboats roster for the UFL season? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!