After analyzing the teams of the Brazil’s National Superliga, Magnum Nascimento of the Brazilian American football website 100jardas.com.br, has ranked the 10 Americans players who have had the greatest impact for their teams so far in the 2016 season.
10 – Jonathan Smith (Ufersa Petroleiros)
Jonathan Smith is 28 and is an athletic quarterback with an incredibly strong arm, who gains many yards with his legs. Despite having average mechanics, his long passes are usually accurate, although his short passing game is not quite at the same level . However, with the good defense of the Petroleiros and with the help of his fellow countryman Ray Bradley, he could lead his team to the playoffs for the first time in their history.
Strengths – A lot of power and velocity in his deep passes, as well as leg speed and strength for gaining extra yards.
Weaknesses – Short passing game.
Reprinted by permission.
9 – Brian Gessel (America Bulls Potiguares)
The America Bulls QB arrived just before his debut and demonstrated his importance to the team immediately, leading them to their first win at home. Gessel was already familiar with the team (played for the Bulls in 2013) and is a mobile quarterback, which gives him more time to make plays and makes him a dual threat for defenses. His short passes leave a little to be desired and he does not have perfect aim, but he is the offensive key to the team and can throw across his body when moving.
Strengths – Agility and passing on the move.
Weaknesses – short passes and restlessness in the pocket.
8 – Malcolm Gasque (São Paulo Storm)
The running back from the São Paulo Storm who won the Portuguese championship with the Lisbon Devils, has already been in the state capital for some time and has shown that he was a good addition to the team. With Gasque in good form, coupled with the other quality running backs of the Storm, this promises to be one of the best backfields in Brazil.
Strengths – Speed.
Weaknesses – runs very high and holds the ball too far away from the body, increasing the risk of fumbles.
7 – Sanchez Holder (Recife Pirates)
He is the “Little Flea” of the Pirates. He plays with huge intensity. Despite the fact that the Pirates offensive line struggled in the opener against crosstown rivals the Mariners, the Pirates did not surrender a tackle for loss thanks to his speed and his work in the backfield. He really resembles a flea and if the Pirates can manage to improve their offensive line play, Sanchez will make life miserable for anyone in front of him.
Strengths – Speed.
Weaknesses – Power.
6 – Drew Banks (Coritiba Crocodiles)
Banks is perhaps the greatest double threat in the league. He can play QB, or as WR as he did in his two years with the Mariners. Although his passing game is not the best, he can make plays with his legs and loves making big plays. He proved as a WR that he has elusive speed and when he changes direction he can leave any Brazilian defender in the dust. If he were only playing WR he would be in the top 3 list, but as a QB, he falls a bit. However, playing for a top team like the Crocodiles and having the chance to play WR as well, this could be a memorable year for him and the team.
Strengths – Speed, broken plays and receiving
Weaknesses – Short passes out a few meters and the long passes too.
5 – KC Frost (Flamengo Football)
Frost is an old acquaintance of Brazilians, having lived here for many years and has been on two national championship teams. Although he can struggle in certain situations, the intensity of his game is something out of the ordinary. He has a very strong arm and is extremely fast, opening holes in the defense he can create massive damage with his legs. He often rushes to get out of the pocket, gaining extra yardage easily.
Strengths – speed, mobility, calm in the pocket and long passes.
Weaknesses – Short passing and footwork are details that should be improved.
4 – Drew Hill (Timbo Rex)
He returned to Brazil after winning the Brazilian championship. He played the first half of the year in Europe. Hill is back with Timbo with his precise passing, his outstanding leadership and his incredible dedication to the game. A player who is American, but who, within 4 months of being in Brazil, was already speaking Portuguese, he is a dual threat quarterback for the Rex making the team’s offense even more deadly.
Strengths – Footwork, passing and reading defenses.
Weaknesses – ***
3 – Alex Niznak (Recife Mariners)
He is a true quarterback, and in Brazil that puts him ahead of many other players. Niznak played his opening game a day after arriving in the country, but showed a high level of preparedness missing very few things in the playbook. He changed the dynamics of the game. Despite not having practiced with his teammates, he put the ball where it needed to be, with great mobility, he was always in the right position to pass. He threads the needle with his passes and always on the chest of the receiver.This is an American who will definitely shine in Brazil.
Strengths – Moves extremely well inside the pocket, excellent mobility and reads defenses well
Weaknesses – ***
2 – Alex Allen (Vila Velha Tritões)
In his second year with the Tritões, Alex “Train” Allen usually rushes for an average of 200 yards per game, regardless of the opponent. Last season, he ran for touchdowns, returned kicks for touchdowns and threw TD passes. He is very strong physically and has excellent backfield mobility, which greatly complicates the work of the opposing DL. With his ball control, he seems to sense every opening on the field, each gap that will open. Allen is a playmaker like few who have played in Brazil, in addition to being a leader on the field.
Strengths – Gap reading, mobility and reception.
Weaknesses – ***.
1 – Brandon Watkins (Cuaibá Arsenal)
Brandon “The Rocket” Watkins is 23, 200 lbs and 5’9″ tall and was born in Detroit, Michigan (USA). His sporting life began in the 7th grade, with football and track and field and later with rugby. Watkins went on to play football for Notre Dame University.
As he showed in his first game in the Superliga, he can play running back, wide receiver, safety, returner and still be able to play quarterback. It is very difficult to find such a complete player and the quality of his game can really make a difference, so he will be valuable for the Arsenal during the season.
Strengths – speed, athleticism and experience in various positions.
Weaknesses – ***.