May 31st, 2023 00:00, by Tim Hanswillemenke

Preseason Power Ranking – Surge rise, Panthers fall

The third season of the European League of Football is almost here. In this power ranking, I am looking at the overall strength of each team as they are heading into the 2023 season!

May 31st, 2023 00:00, by Tim Hanswillemenke

Preseason Power Ranking – Surge rise, Panthers fall

The third season of the European League of Football is almost here. In this power ranking, I am looking at the overall strength of each team as they are heading into the 2023 season!

I guess I will not move Rhein Fire team out of the first spot for a while. Overall, their team is just too good and led by one of the best coaching staffs in the league. Let’s see how they will do in Week 1 against their rival Frankfurt Galaxy.  

If it weren’t for Rhein Fire, the reigning champions would still be on top of my power raking. With new American quarterback Chris Helbig, the Vikings are a title contender once again this season. Watch out!

I know the Musketeers are new to the league. But I can just repeat myself: The Musketeers have great players on their roster (homegrown and imports) and their two best players even know what it takes to win on the highest level in Europe. Former Barcelona Dragons quarterback Zach Edwards and triple crown winner Kyle Sweet both reached the playoffs last year and will probably do so again in 2023. Watch out for the newcomer in Paris! 

This is an easy but also a boring choice. Since my last power ranking, the Galaxy had no major roster moves. But their overall strong and balanced roster forces me to keep them right where they are: in my top five.

The Surge keep loading. I continue to give the Stuttgart Surge credit for their incredible offseason in this preseason power ranking. With the signing of wide receiver Moritz Böhringer and 2023 NFL IPP Program candidate Marlon Werthmann at offensive line, the Surge look ready to start the season. Both, Böhringer and Werthmann, have several years of experience playing under head coach Jordan Neuman. As a matter of fact, 22 percent of the Surge players this season suited up for Jordan Neuman at the Unicorns last year.
But will all that be enough to turn zero wins into a playoff contender? I think so.

I have to put the Thunder at six this time around. But this downgrade  just comes from the Surge who keep on raising the bar with incredible signings. Otherwise, I still believe the Thunder have their best season since the start of the league in 2021 right in front of them.

The Hamburg Sea Devils just slide on spot down because of the Surge rising up to five.
In my last power power ranking, I mentioned the tough losses the Sea Devils had to take over the offseason. But the Sea Devils defense looked ready to go at the scrimmage against the Leipzig Kings. I know I have the Kings at the bottom of my ranking, but it is still tough to really dominate the line in this league since all teams have talented linemen on both sides of the ball.

However, it will be interesting to watch the Sea Devils over the first few weeks, as they have to find a new identity as a team. Especially on offense!

I cannot put the Raiders above any other team in the top seven right now. But I could regret this decision once the Austrian franchise takes the field on June 4th against the Munich Ravens. Former NFL running back Sandro Platzgummer could be the one who elevates the entire team to another level in 2023. Let’s see what they have in store for Week 1!

Although most of Milano’s players will be new to the league, I believe that their team is ready to compete. They also have former Barcelona Dragons and Hamburg Sea Devils wide receiver Jean Constant on their roster which will help them from Week 1 on. 

Another underrated player on their roster is former NFL kicker Giorgio Tavecchio. The Italian played for the Dragons in 2021 and 2022. He is one of the few kickers in this league who can decide games when it counts!

No change at ten. The Ravens are a solid team when you look at their roster. They just lost Italian defensive back Fabrizio Umetelli for the entire 2023 season due to an injury. Replacing him with New Zealand defensive lineman Tyler Vaimaona still leaves three E-import spots open. Signing three more impact players to the team could lead to a jump in this ranking next week, depending on their performance against the Raiders on Sunday.
In addition to their solid roster, they will be one of the best-coached teams in the entire league because of the coaching staff led by head coach John Shoop. Shoop has several years of NFL and Division I experience which should help the Ravens to be at least solid in their first year. 

he Guards move up one spot because of the Panthers and their QB1-search close before the season. However, the Guards have lost some players on offense themselves. But with all the building blocks still in place, I believe that running back Silas Nacita and quarterback Collin Hill will surprise a lot of fans with their level of play from the start of the regular season!

Cutting your starting quarterback and American wide receiver just three weeks away from the first regular season game is not a good look. And then signing your seventh American quarterback since 2021 just ten days before the season starts is not great either. The Panthers had to slide down one spot in my updated pre-season power ranking because of those moves. Let’s see how new Panthers QB1 Matthew Vitale will fair with under two weeks of preparation and practice. 

The Enthroners still sit at 13 in my power ranking. But with former Division I quarterback Jerod Evans in charge, they have great potential to surge up the board once the season starts. A big concern that is left: homegrowns. Can the Hungarian players keep up with the level of German, Austrian or French homegrown players in this league? We will find out in a few days.

I still keep the Centurions at 14 because of their A-import players. Linebacker Zachary Blair proved to be a difference maker wherever he played, and wideout Terryon Robinson was one of a few reasons the Istanbul Rams were competitive in 2022.
However, the German franchise also signed a lot of new players from the Cologne Crocodiles and other teams, like young linebacker Felix Födinger or running back Adom Dennifred Nana. Those could be great additions for Centurions who elevate their game close to the start of the season.

I know the Dragons replaced their wide receiver close to the start of the season just like the Panthers did. But in this case, I believe it is an upgrade! Former Dragons wide receiver Austin Duke would have turned 30 this season. With Josh Johnston, the Dragons found a youngster with a chip on his shoulder. After not being signed by the Denver Broncos a few weeks ago when he spent Rookie Minicamp with the NFL team, Johnston is now out there to proof people wrong. Let’s see what he can do for the Dragons and quarterback Connor Miller in 2023.
The Dragons also released Hugo Dyrendahl and have signed Swedish defensive lineman Benjamin Egbudiwe who has college football experience. The Dragons also signed offensive lineman Jonas Hagerup who played for the Kings and Panthers in recent years. In my opinion, the three new players are all upgrades. So, the Dragons move up one spot.

The last few weeks were quite around the Lions. They have their team set and made no major changes. This is not a bad sign, but the Dragons upgraded their team with a few players which pushed them in front of the Lions for the start of the season.

For me, the Leipzig Kings are still at 17. No major changes occurred since the last power ranking. But do not get fooled: The European League of Football is much more competitive than it was in its first two years. I can see any team climb up or down the power ranking within the first few weeks because of a very similar level of play from rankings nine to 17.

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