Postcards From Camp: Cuban Refugees

Jon Kinsman, YFFL Commissioner

August 24, 2005

Turned Away at the Border
Kerry Collins
Are the Refugees and Kerry Collins ready to take the next step? It will depend on two young runners in the backfield.

NEW YORK, NY - A contested trade late last season may have been one that set up the Cuban Refugees' backfield for years to come. What essentially became Drew Bledsoe and Isaac Bruce for Tatum Bell after some wrangling with a 2nd Round draft pick, the trade paired Bell with Kevin Jones and overhauled a Refugees team that had been starting the likes of Kevin Faulk and Anthony Thomas at the RB position, with an eye for the future.

Then in one of the most talked-about moves of the off-season, Randy Moss bolted from Minnesota for Oakland, signing on to become Kerry Collins' latest playmaking threat. With a big arm and the Raiders' willingness to throw deep, Collins is set-up for his biggest year yet as Oakland attempts to turn every game into a track meet. Along with a healthy Todd Heap, Javon Walker coming off a break-out season and always steady kicker Adam Vinatieri, the Refugees are a team on the rise in the AFC.

Biggest Question Facing Owner Anthony Aceto

Are Kevin Jones and Tatum Bell ready for the big-time? Both players showed significant promise at the end of last season, but questions still remain. Rumors are circulating that Mike Anderson may be the opening day starter for the Broncos and the success of Kevin Jones may depend on how well Joey Harrington performs with his stable of playmaking receivers. The success of the Refugees this season will be largely determined by whether these two second year runners can make "the leap" to YFFL dominance, a move that could be a year away.

Draft Outlook

With the 8th overall selection in this year's draft the Refugees will be largely at the mercy of the top 7 selections. With 4 rookie running backs and 4 rookie wide receivers that stand out over the rest of the players at their position, the Refugees are guaranteed to have a chance to draft at least one of these players. The best fit would no doubt be a wide receiver and eliminate Aceto's reliance on a two TE set. If they can land someone like Mark Clayton with the 8th selection, the Refugees will have a player that can fill the utility position and press Reche Caldwell for a spot as the second WR.

Probable Starters

Collins, Jones, Bell, Walker, Caldwell, Heap, Vinatieri, Graham

Final Observations

Picked as a sleeper among many discerning YFFL fans, it seems that alot of stock (and maybe too much) is getting put into Randy Moss' arrival in Oakland as Kerry Collins' newest target. While Collins has a great shot at having a career year, it's tough to see a player that has only cracked 100 points once in his career from the QB position revolutionizing the AFC. Even surprise star Rich Gannon had done that feat the previous 3 years before he led the Huskers to their superb 2003 season. While the Refugees will certainly benefit from playing in one of the weakest divisions, their out of division schedule has to be considered one of the toughest, with games against the Chickens, Merry Men, Thugs and Huskers. In the end, this team still needs another year of seasoning to contend for the AFC championship and just misses the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Projected Record

7-6; 2nd AFC East