NFL News & Analysis

Every USFL team's highest-graded players heading into Week 8

2R4KFPN CANTON, OH - MAY 28: New Jersey Generals line up against the Michigan Panthers during a USFL game on May 28, 2023 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

PFF has you covered for all offseason leagues, in addition to grades and analysis for the NFL and college football. We'll be diving into every USFL team's highest-graded players each week. Let's get into the numbers ahead of Week 8, including some notes from this past weekend's games.

Be sure to also check out our XFL highest-graded players.

Week 7 Notes

• Showboats EDGE Greg Reaves racked up eight quarterback pressures and now leads the league (31) in the category.

• Stallions EDGE Dondrea Tillman made five run stops, tied for the most on the week.

• Maulers QB Troy Williams, despite his team's loss, put together his highest-graded outing of the season (77.3 game grade).

• Panthers C Noah Johnson earned a positive grade on six of his 14 run-blocking snaps en route to a 93.0 such grade — the best mark of the week among offensive linemen.

The highest-graded play of the week again belongs to Showboats WR Derrick Dillon, this time for a game-winning, catch-and-run touchdown reception.

Birmingham Stallions

  1. EDGE Dondrea Tillman (89.5)
  2. QB Alex McGough (87.6)
  3. DI Jordan Thompson (80.3)
  4. LB Quentin Poling (80.1)
  5. DI Khalil Davis (79.8)

It's easy to look at sack totals and judge a pass rusher's effectiveness, but that doesn't tell the full story. Dondrea Tillman has racked up 15 pressures over the past two weeks, only one of which was a sack, to pair with a 24.6% pass-rush win rate. Both are top-five marks among edge rushers over the span.

A leader in the USFL MVP race as things stand, Alex McGough improved upon his league-low turnover-worthy play rate in Week 7, which is now down to 1.4%. His best pass of the week, one that was charted as a big-time throw, was a well-placed touchdown toss to tight end Jace Sternberger.

Houston Gamblers

  1. WR Justin Hall (85.4)
  2. RB Mark Thompson (83.6)
  3. CB Nick Grant (77.3)
  4. S Dayan Lake (72.0)
  5. S Manny Bunch (71.8)

Justin Hall brought in only two of his six targets for 19 yards in Week 7, but he remains the USFL's top-graded wide receiver. While he no longer leads the league in receiving yards, his 2.29 yards-per-route figure still tops the charts at the position.

Following a season-high 79.5 game grade in Week 7, Nick Grant returns to this list for the first time since Week 2. He let up just eight yards on five targets into his coverage this past week, making two stops (a tackle that leads to an offensive failure) to boot.

Memphis Showboats

  1. S Kyree Woods (92.0)
  2. EDGE Jeff McCulloch (84.0)
  3. DI John Atkins (83.3)
  4. WR Vinny Papale (81.3)
  5. EDGE Greg Reaves (80.3)

Kyree Woods' streak of 80.0-plus game grades came to an end in Week 7, although he still recorded an above-average 71.2 mark. That allows him to hold on to his title as the USFL's highest-graded player overall. For the season, he has allowed 13 catches on 20 targets for 80 yards, with no touchdowns, two interceptions and two forced incompletions. Woods will not play in Week 8, according to USFL Newsroom's James Larsen.

It took five weeks for Vinny Papale to find the end zone this season, and now he has done so in two straight games. His raw stats remain underwhelming, but a peek behind the curtain reveals that he leads all USFL wide receivers in contested catches (seven) and ranks second in yards per route (2.10).

Michigan Panthers

  1. EDGE Breeland Speaks (88.2)
  2. RB Reggie Corbin (77.7)
  3. EDGE Tre Williams (76.0)
  4. OT Josh Dunlop (74.4)
  5. WR Trey Quinn (73.2)

A torrid opening to the 2023 campaign, in which he racked up 10 pressures and three sacks in two games, has given way to a slower — but still impressive — pace of play for Breeland Speaks. He has 10 pressures and three sacks in his past five games, and his nine run stops over the past three weeks are tied for the most in the league.

Reggie Corbin accounted for 78 yards on the ground and another 22 through the air in Week 7. His 81.0 rushing grade for the season ranks third among running backs, and he places second in yards after contact per attempt (3.8).

New Jersey Generals

  1. LB Chris Orr (89.9)
  2. DI Kenneth Randall (81.4)
  3. EDGE Hercules Mata'afa (80.0)
  4. RB Darius Victor (79.5)
  5. DI Toby Johnson (77.5)

Chris Orr missed Week 7 after sustaining an injury early in Week 6. Here's what we wrote last week about the Generals' star linebacker:

Chris Orr suffered a first-quarter injury this past week that knocked him out of the game after only eight snaps, causing him to relinquish his title as the highest-graded player in the USFL. Regardless, he ranks second among off-ball linebackers in stops (19) and yards allowed per coverage snap (.53).

The Generals dropped to 2-5 on the season despite Darius Victor racking up 81 total yards and a score in Week 7. Boasting the USFL's third-best rushing grade (81.9), Victor has forced at least two missed tackles on the ground in every game this season.

New Orleans Breakers

  1. LB Shaheed Salmon (89.7)
  2. RB Wes Hills (77.7)
  3. CB Nevelle Clarke (76.2)
  4. G Kirk Kelley (75.0)
  5. TE Sage Surratt (74.9)

Although Shaheed Salmon has played only 26 combined snaps in the past two weeks, his pair of 90.0-plus game grades indicate he is making the most of that workload. He made three run stops on just 13 run-defense snaps in Week 7.

Wes Hills' 12.4% stuff rate — his percentage of snaps resulting in a loss or no gain — is the second-best mark among USFL running backs, and the bell cow added another 77 rushing yards to his league-leading total in Week 7. Hills is the beneficiary of some of the league's best blocking, as the Breakers boast the USFL's top team run-blocking grade.

Philadelphia Stars

  1. EDGE Adam Rodriguez (78.6)
  2. EDGE Ali Fayad (78.0)
  3. G Shamarious Gilmore (77.2)
  4. S Cody Brown (74.5)
  5. CB Amani Dennis (73.7)

Adam Rodriguez recorded nine pressures through five weeks of action. Now, two weeks later, he has 27 on the season. He is tied for third in that facet and has earned a sub-70.0 game grade only once in 2023.

Shamarious Gilmore was beaten twice on 34 pass-blocking snaps this past week but didn't let up any pressure en route to his sixth 75.0-plus pass-blocking game grade of the season.

Pittsburgh Maulers

  1. LB Reuben Foster (90.9)
  2. S Eli Walker (81.9)
  3. DI Olive Sagapolu (80.2)
  4. CB Mark Gilbert (79.1)
  5. DI Boogie Roberts (78.5)

In his second week back from injury, Reuben Foster built on his 90.0-plus season grade with a strong effort in coverage. He faced three targets, none of which resulted in a catch. The former first-round NFL draft pick also added a quarterback hit on just three pass-rushing snaps.

Safety play remains a strong point of the USFL, with Eli Walker grading out as the position's second-best player. Among 21 safeties who have faced 10 or more targets in coverage, Walker ranks fourth in open-target rate allowed (41.2%).


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