Charlie Enders, Team Saint John’s Sucks
Offense: George Stubbs, Christian Johnson, Jeff Loskorn, Dylan Freechild, Simon Montague, Phil Murray, Jacob Janin
Defense: Kevin Underhill, Will Neff, Eric Johnson, Martin Cochran, Cody Bjorklund, Jacob Anderson, Jack McShane
Subs: Aaron Honn, Jon Levy
At a glance, the casual observer would think that I set out to draft as many NexGen players as possible. And true, I do have a lot of current and former NexGen players (six of my players were on the first iteration of NexGen, two on the second, and four on the third), which makes my team one of youngest in the draft. However, my team is also incredibly athletic, and their youth would pay off dividends in a regular tournament format, whereas older teams are much more likely to get injured and deplete the already small teams. All of this NexGen talent also means that my team will have fantabulous chemistry. Sprinkled in with the new, shiny NexGen players are some weathered veterans, some players who (I feel) are some of the smartest in the game. Overall, my team is about speed, and to that end, The United States. As Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “America is all about speed – hot, nasty, badass speed”. And with that I issue a challenge: I dare any team to say they are faster than mine (And back it up. Saying it isn’t very difficult.)
Round 1 Pick (#3 Overall): George Stubbs, Ironside
George Stubbs is one of, if not the best overall players in the game today. If I had the #2 pick I might have still selected him over Gibson. His combination of speed, throws, and decision making are fantastic, but Stubbs is also an incredible leader. His steady presence can make the difference in a tournament or a single game. Plus, his flick huck is ridiculous, and he aint bad at defense neither.
Round 2 (#14): Dylan Freechild, Rhino
Perhaps possessing the fastest first step in Ultimate, Freechild is practically unguardable from the handler position. He’s a master at using misdirection, and with the disc in his hands is a threat from anywhere on the field. He’s also a fantastic handler defender, face-guarding and using his physicality to force teams into bad decisions. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen it, watch this.
Round 3 (#19): Simon Montague, Sub Zero
Breaks, breaks, and more breaks. Montague’s height and length allow him to have ridiculous release points and throw whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He was the driving force in the CUT and NexGen offenses this past year, dominating touches and racking up assists. Plus this.
Round 4 (#30) Will Neff, Ironside
Realizing I needed to take a few non-NexGen players, I selected Neff. My third Callahan winner selected, Neff is Ironside’s best defensive player and one of the best in the game. He’s a big guy, often guarding the opposing team’s biggest threat and shutting them down. Did I mention he won the Callahan?
Round 5 (#35) Eric Johnson, Johnny Bravo
I wanted as many dynamic D-line players as possible, and EJ fits the bill. EJ is another NexGen stud and now starts on Johnny Bravo’s D-line. A former D-III soccer star, he is a dominant athlete and a fantastic handler defender who isn’t afraid to lay out.
Round 6 (#46) Christian Johnson, Ring of Fire
I might have taken him a little early, but Christian Johnson was on my must-draft list from the beginning. He’s also almost certainly going to be a Callahan nominee this year, and for good reason. Johnson has played with Ring for a few years now, and has all the offensive tools to dominate defenses at any level of the game.
Round 7 (#51) Jeff Loskorn, Doublewide
Loskorn is the key cog in the well-oiled machine that is Doublewide’s offense. The lefty mainly acts as a center handler, but just as often cuts deep (that’s him skying at 1:50). He is an extremely versatile veteran and an essential part of my team.
Round 8 Pick (#62) Kevin Underhill, Furious George
Underhill is fast becoming (if he hasn’t already) the best player on Furious George. All I need for evidence is the 2013 U23 Final, where he threw pinpoint hucks in heavy wind from all over the field. Sadly, there’s no video for him – I recommend buying the NexGen package and watching the game.
Round 9 Pick (#67) Martin Cochran, Revolver
How did he fall all the way to the ninth round?! Cochran has been Revolver’s defensive stopper for years, and for good reason. He brings an intensity to each game that is practically unparalleled. Often taking the opposing team’s best player, spectacular layout Ds are the norm with him.
Round 10 Pick (#78) Cody Bjorklund, Rhino
At this point I realized that I hadn’t taken a NexGen player in a few rounds, and needed to rectify that. This time I went with Rhino’s Bjorklund. Known for his hammer and his stout physique, Bjorklund is an extremely diverse player. He plays great defense (as evident by his 2011 Callahan video) but he also is a very smart offensive cutter. Although he isn’t the tallest, he is fantastic at using his muscular frame to box out bigger defenders.
Round 11 Pick (#83) Jacob Anderson, Doublewide
I wanted my D-line to be big and intimidating. Anderson is big and intimidating. Although he might be more known as being the guy that Freechild got his spectacular layout D on, he’s an extremely talented player. He’s a Doublewide D staple and was instrumental in their 2012 championship run.
Round 12 Pick (#94) Phil Murray, Sockeye
I needed an offensive cutter, and Murray fit that description nicely. A product of the Sockeye system, he excels at moving the disc quickly as well as cutting deep. He also led the 2011 NexGen tour in Patagonia Play of the Games, with three (one of which can be found here).
Round 13 Pick (#99) Jack McShane, Johnny Bravo
I knew McShane would be overlooked by the other morons in this draft, and thus held off on drafting as long as I could. McShane is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated players in Ultimate. He is the definition of the cliché “he doesn’t always make the flashiest plays, but boy is he consistent!” A Bravo captain this past year, McShane also brings his great leadership skills to any team he is a part of.
Round 14 Pick (#110) Jacob Janin, Rhino
MORE NEXGEN PLAYERS. The Janimal can jump out of the proverbial building, and is fast. Really fast. He also has fantastic chemistry with Freechild, as they’ve played together since high school.
Round 15 Pick (#115) Jon Levy, Revolver
While Levy is excellent at a great many ultimate-related things, he has made a name for himself by excelling at handler defense. He has a fantastic mark (see the first point of the 2011 USAU Club Nationals Final) and rarely gets beat upline, two attributes that frustrate opposing handlers to no end.
Round 16 Pick (#30) Aaron Honn, Oregon Ego
Honn is my wildcard. He’s the youngest player on my team, and with that youth comes some inexperience. But he makes up for that inexperience with his dominant athleticism. Honn is a big boy and has been skyin’ fools since his days at South Eugene High School. His athleticism makes him extremely versatile; he’s a threat on both O and D.
The way I see this extremely fast, young line playing out: Montague and Loskorn as the primary handlers, usually looking for Stubbs with the first cut. Once Stubbs gets the disc, he has four potential targets that are almost certainly going to be faster than their defenders. Montague, Stubbs, Freechild, and Murray were all on NexGen 1.0, and can use the chemistry they developed with each other to the opposition’s despair. This line could also be fantastic at running a Sockeye-style offense. On NexGen 3.0, Montague and Freechild were absolutely unstoppable paired together, using give and go’s and high release breaks to eat up large chunks of yardage. Their combination was especially dangerous near the endzone, an area where Freechild is typically impossible to guard anyway.
This line is big and scary. Cochran, Neff, and Anderson are all huge guys, making them all great deep defenders, able to make a play on most discs even if they don’t have the best position. Johnson and Bjorklund will layout for anything in their general area, plus they have the NexGen 1.0 connection. And Underhill and McShane are extremely capable defenders who will provide steady, smart handling on a turn, looking for any of their tantalizing deep cutters.