The National Arena League (NAL) is getting closer and closer to being ready to start their second season. That also means that all of the teams in the league are finalizing rosters, starting training camps, and preparing for the season. Let’s dive into what the 2018 Lehigh Valley Steelhawks season will be like and what to expect from this team.
2018 Lehigh Valley Steelhawks look to improve on tough 2017 season
Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Roster
|2018 Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Roster|
|OL||Robert Reed Jr.*|
* – Player has arena experience; ** – Player has played for Lehigh Valley in previous years
Just like the Columbus Lions, the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks are starting over when it comes to their team. The Steelhawks have 31 players. Of those 31 players, 15 have played arena or indoor football before. Five of those 15 are returning to Lehigh Valley from last year or previous years. Putting it in percentages, 48% of their team has arena experience. 16% of the roster has been with Lehigh Valley before.
What to expect during the 2018 Season
The reigning MVP of the 2017 NAL season has accepted a spot in the Arena Football League after their deal with the Collective Bargaining Agreement took place.
When it comes to the receivers, it is hard to tell who is going to be the star of the show. New receivers are normally quietly the best, meaning that they aren’t really known but perform well and make a name for themselves. With Smith getting 4,000 yards this season, the receivers will easily have multiple touchdown games.
Wide Receiver Greg Betterson will have a seven or eight touchdown season. Donovan Campbell is one of the 16 players to have arena experience, so he should be able to be at the top of the receiving list. He should be able to get 600-800 yards this season with close to eight or 10 touchdowns.
Fullback Undra Hendrix was a monster with the High Country Grizzlies last year. He should be able to find tons of success under his new team by rushing for over 450 yards and get close to 20 touchdowns. He will for sure find the end zone when the ball is placed inside the five yard line.
The defensive linemen are mostly new, so there’s nothing much to expect. Eric Ducksworth is the only defensive lineman who played with the Steelhawks before, so he should be able to lead this team and show them how things are done. With the sport being arena football, there will always be quarterback rushes and sacks. This defense will put up multiple sacks in the season and could be the number one ranked defensive line if they can prove that they can rush the quarterback a lot.
Two of the four linebackers have played for the Steelhawks before. Tim Hume and Joe Koonce will cause a lot of issues for their opposing quarterbacks. The Mac Linebacker will also help the defensive linemen out by being an extra person to block.
There aren’t very many defensive backs on the Steelhawks roster. Perhaps they are going to sign more from player tryouts? Nobody knows except the owner and the coach of the team. What they do have so far are pretty talented players. Brandon Fuentes and Svante Davenport both played in the NAL last year and had lots of success. With the Steelhawks defense being worked on, they could be some of the most dangerous defensive backs in the league. The defensive backs as a whole should find one or two interceptions per game on average.
Kicker Spencer Hotaline is coming off of a nice season last year. With a solid team and consistent scoring, Rutherford will have many opportunities to rack up points for himself and his team. With many extra points and deuces, Rutherford should be able to stay near the top of the leaderboard for kickers in points.
The team looks like they will be able to take the number three or number four spot in the league. They can’t be third or fourth if they don’t work on signing defensive backs. That is the thing the Steelhawks need to worry about. Offenses will get touchdown after touchdown if the other defenses don’thave anybody to cover the receivers. Right now, with this roster, Lehigh Valley will most likely finish the season in the number four spot.