Cromwell/Portland’s Cole Brisson (top left) and Wethersfield’s Kaleb Garcia and Cam Righi (top right), along with Newington’s Paddy Brown (bottom left) and Rocky Hill’s Frankie Guerrera (bottom right) are the first five selections in the 2023 Rare Reminder Bizarro Draft.
The National Football League draft starts tonight! Here is what the first round of the draft would look like if we entered The Land of Make Believe, in which NFL teams selected from the pool of talented players from the five local public schools that starred on the gridiron. Welcome to the 8th annual Bizarro Draft. The Carolina Panthers are now on the clock…
1. Carolina Panthers: Cole Brisson (QB-Cromwell/Portland): Exceptional leader with a championship pedigree. Fierce competition with a smooth delivery and touch, and added ability to push the ball deep. Ideal fit in Carolina under new head coach and former quarterback Frank Reich.
2. Houston Texans: Kaleb Garcia (DE-Wethersfield): Dominant force that finished with an eye-popping 27 tackles for loss in 11 games this past fall. An alpha on defense that could potentially be the next J.J. Watt in H-Town for DeMeco Ryan’s attacking defense.
3. Arizona Cardinals: Frankie Guerrera (WR-Rocky Hill): A long, lean, and mean touchdown machine. Rare athlete with all the physical traits. A ball magnet that can play multiple positions and is a matchup nightmare regardless of where he lines up.
4. Indianapolis Colts: Paddy Brown (QB-Newington): Tough as nails competitor who will stand strong in the pocket and deliver the goods. Top-notch character and a sneaky good athlete with a lacrosse background and broad build for rigors of position. Makings of Colts next legendary signal caller.
5. Seattle Seahawks: Cam Righi (Athlete-Wethersfield): Pure playmaker that takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Taysom Hill-type athlete that will contribute in a multitude of ways and wants the ball in his hands in pressure situations. Division I baseball talent with sky-high ceiling on the gridiron.
6. Detroit Lions: Ryan Rozich (LB-Cromwell/Portland): A warrior who brings the juice on every play and is always around the ball. Exceptional sideline-to-sideline ability with a fantastic football IQ. Athletic ability to cover slot receivers and has receiver hands himself.
7. Las Vegas Raiders: Evan Christian (MLB/Edge-Wethersfield): Unique defensive standout that excelled on the edge and as a middle linebacker. Engulf ball carriers and explosive on contact. Position flexibility made him an every down player.
8. Atlanta Falcons: Zy’Kie Askew (RB-Middletown): Explosive first step with leg-churning power and incredible balance. Three-down back that has receiver type hands out of backfield and never gives up on a run. Will remind Falcons fans of Warrick Dunn.
9. Chicago Bears: Alex Peruta (LB-Rocky Hill): Has the heart of a lion and an A+ character. Suffered multiple knee injuries, but rehabbed and came back stronger and better than ever each time. Workout warrior with a positive, infectious attitude and energy.
10. Philadelphia Eagles: Jack Williams (OL-Cromwell/Portland): Reliable grinder that can play multiple positions along both sides of the line. Strong like an ox with a great center of gravity. Perennial Pro Bowler at the next level.
11. Tennessee Titans: Josiah Ross (WR-Newington): Lightning quick in-and-out of breaks with strong, tacky hands. Mature route runner who is quarterback-friendly and his baseball prowess could allow him to become the next Bo or Deion in the professional ranks.
12. Houston Texans: Eddie Strong (WR-Middletown): Wins off the line and plays bigger than his frame. Confident and makes contested catches look routine. A sleeper who will give defensive coordinators nightmares.
13. New York Jets: M.J. Torres (LB-Rocky Hill): Foundational player that is powerful at point of contact. Has the feet of a running back, balance of a wrestler, and mentality of a defensive captain. The total package.
14. New England Patriots: Amari Rosemond (OL-Newington): Unique prospect that can play both sides of the line. Imposing frame and a worker bee from the opening snap to the last. Position versatility will suit him well in Foxborough.
15. Green Bay Packers: Felipe Lozano (LB-Wethersfield): Pursues the ball like a puma and easily sheds blocks. A legit three-down linebacker that provides pop on contact and is a special teams' standout.
16. Washington Commanders: Christopher Adamczyk (OL-Rocky Hill): Mauler with ideal size and pure power from wrestling. Can play both sides of the ball and is willing to do whatever to get on the field.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: Emeka Yearwood (EDGE-Cromwell/Portland): Physical game-changer that plays with a purpose and an edge. A special talent that is perfect fit in the Steel City and will do whatever it takes to win.
18. Detroit Lions: Elijah Smith (OT-Newington): Great feet with tremendous base. Always finishes blocks and is solid as a rock paving the way for the run and protecting the passer.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Colin Skene (QB-Middletown): Under the radar talent that throws a tight spiral and picturesque deep ball. Polished leader that can make any pass with both touch and accuracy.
20. Seattle Seahawks: Daryl Asante (LB-Rocky Hill): A thumper that plays every snap with effort and grit. Sure-tackler with a burst off snap and on contact. Reminds scouts of Nick Bolton.
21. Los Angeles Chargers: Luke Whitaker (DB-Wethersfield): Supreme recognition allows him to be near the action at all times. A heady ball-hawk with mentality of a linebacker in run support.
22. Baltimore Ravens: Chase Leonard (LB-Newington): Hard-nosed disruptive ball attacker that Baltimore craves. Quickly diagnoses play and eliminates runners. Charismatic with a great locker room demeanor.
23. Minnesota Vikings: Ethan Lemos (WR-Wethersfield): Precisely runs the entire route tree and is blessed with fantastic body control. Hands catcher with a vast radius and will compete for every ball.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars: Joey Yost (OL-Wethersfield): Stands ground and finishes blocks. Ideal size and physicality and will provide Jacksonville’s offense a much-needed edge.
25. New York Giants: Edward Kocaqi (C-Rocky Hill): Has all the tools and plays beyond his years. Just reaching his potential.
26. Dallas Cowboys: Alex Hair (DE-Cromwell/Portland): Powerful, explosive talent with leg-drive of a thoroughbred. Battled back from injury last season and didn’t miss a beat upon his return. Added value as a goal line back.
27. Buffalo Bills: Alexander Muniz (DL-Rocky Hill): People-mover that plays with incredible leverage. Wrestling background gives him added technique and allows him to push the pocket.
28. Cincinnati Bengals: Jaiquan Hill (OT-Middletown): Intriguing prospect with a long and strong frame. Light feet and fluid with exceptional arm pop. Day-one starter.
29. New Orleans Saints: Ben Fagan (WR-Cromwell/Portland): Polished receiver with smooth hips and deceptive speed. Finds the ball in flight and will move the chains.
30. Philadelphia Eagles: Vrisan Kuttin (CB-Rocky Hill): Natural athlete with good eye discipline. Supports the run support and tracks the ball well. A potential steal late in first round for NFC champs.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Hayden Fish (LB-Newington): Underrated athlete that is a difference-maker on every down. Another championship attitude heads to KC.
23 Day-Two Prospects for 2023 (alphabetical by last name)
Yazdan Aftab (WR/CB-Rocky Hill): Great length and strong frame allow him to be a physical man-to-man corner or a red zone receiving threat at the next level.
Tamoor Ahmed (S-Rocky Hill): Can play near the line and cover slot receivers. Rangy and impactful at point of contact.
Ben Caulfield (CB-Wethersfield): Fundamentally sound corner with a knack for knocking down passes. Size and willingness to help defend the run.
Tyler Cipolla (Athlete-Cromwell/Portland): A star in the making. Dangerous in the return game and can be used all over the offensive formation. Sneaky speed and strength.
Allen Cohen (K/P-Cromwell/Portland): Strong, accurate leg and lives for the clutch kick. Unique athlete with added power from playing along both the offensive and defensive lines.
Luca Corvino (RB-Newington): Solid, long strider with low center of gravity. Always moving forward and has soft hands out of backfield.
David De’Leon (WR-Middletown): Electric with ball in his hands and makes defenders whiff on a consistent basis. Perfect gadget player with blazing speed and ability to change direction on a dime.
Matt Gish (LB/S-Cromwell/Portland): Blossoming talent with power to play linebacker and athletic ability to play in defensive backfield. Wrestling technique and mentality on tackles.
Nick Guglielmo (DE-Wethersfield): Feisty competitor and exceptional leader. Productive grinder who will find his way onto the field at the next level.
Jayzair Hall (DL-Rocky Hill): Budding star that lives in the opposing team’s backfield. A day-two steal.
Jova’n Hill (RB-Wethersfield): Dynamic and explosive. Shifty with exceptional breakaway speed from his first step.
Caden Huddleston (S-Rocky Hill): Developing dynamic athlete with a nose for the ball. Great hip movement allows him to easily play in all four directions.
Oleg Korotykk (WR-Rocky Hill): Imposing threat on the outside with sticky hands. Suffered knee injury early in the season last fall but is a healthy and is first round talent with tremendous upside.
Alex McKeirnan (LB-Cromwell/Portland): Stout, fierce tackler that drives through ball carriers. Confident in coverage and the physical traits to become a Pro-Bowler.
Joey Moats (QB-Rocky Hill): Maturing signal caller with a live arm. Good athlete with tremendous touch and naturally steps into throws.
Dhallas Morgan (RB-Wethersfield): A stud with sudden speed and elite burst. Potential is through the roof and added value as a returner.
Justin Nardella (CB-Wethersfield): Team-first player that is disciplined on the corner. Solid in run support and has tools to play both man and zone.
JD Nazario (MLB-Newington): Great pre-snap recognition and sacrifices body entire whistle. Effort player that has a natural knack for nullifying the run.
Alexander Pushkar (DT-Newington): Imposing backfield wrecker with a 6’6” powerful frame. Engulfs ball carriers. One scout glowingly referred to him as the next Michael Bankston.
Noah Pasquaretta (LB-Wethersfield): Emerging talent that plays with a never-give-up attitude. Displayed mature patience and play recognition for young prospect that is just coming into his own.
Brandon Rose (CB-Cromwell/Portland): Long corner with tremendous upside and ability to be a shutdown corner. Tracks the ball well and packs a punch on contact.
Akari Rosemond (WR-Newington): Supreme talent and an absolute steal in the second round, similar to Anquan Boldin. High-ball specialist that uses his body well. Long, productive career ahead.
Derek Wilson (DB-Cromwell/Portland): Exceptional in pursuit and sure-tackler upon contact. Sees the entire field and could play multiple positions on back-seven.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin