Mexico: Liga de Futbol Americano Profesional Draft Day looms large

By Roberto Arturo

The 2023 preseason of the Mexican Liga de Futbol Americano (LFA) Professional League will officially start on January 7th. On Saturday, the 10 franchises will select the top prospects, coming exclusively from the ONEFA College Football league.

This sixth edition of the LFA draft will follow the rules seen in past editions. The teams will select players based on their win-loss record and, if qualified, playoff position, from the previous season. Teams are able to exchange their picks for players or forfeit their selections completely. The draft length is five rounds.

The draft order had to account for the three teams that were added from the now defunct Futbol Americano de Mexico (FAM) league. The Reds from Mexico City were given the first selection in the Draft, while Jefes from Ciudad Juarez and Caudillos de Chihuahua, who negotiated their participation in the LFA after the official deadline had passed, were given the last selections in each round.

In the last FAM season, the Reds (who went by the Spanish name Rojos back then) finished as champions. As a result, they elected to not rely on rookie players, and thus traded their five selections this year, as well as a third-round pick in 2024, to obtain veteran players from other teams. On the other hand, the Caudillos finished fourth and the Jefes seventh. Thus, it is expected that they will be among the most active teams on draft day, as well as reinforcing themselves with import players. 

The current order for the first round is as follows:

  1. Raptors (Mexico State), via Reds.
  2. Galgos Tijuana
  3. Reyes Jalisco
  4. Mexicas (Mexico City)
  5. Raptors
  6. Dinos Saltillo
  7. Gallos Negros Queretaro
  8. Fundidores Monterrey
  9. Jefes Ciudad Juarez
  10. Caudillos Chihuahua

As in any draft, the players thought to have the biggest potential are selected first. However, the cities of origin and the colleges of the players are also important. To ease salary negotiations, teams usually prefer to select players who come from places closer to their home cities.

Potential top Draft selections:

Julio Covarrubias, RB from Borregos Salvajes Monterrey, who led his team to the championship this year. He finished the year as the top scoring player, and was second in combined yards.

Alexis Rodriguez, WR from Linces UVM, with an interesting combination of size, hands and explosiveness. He will also bring leadership capabilities to the team that ends up selecting him.

Ivan Gleason, DL from Pumas UNAM Acatlan and previously from Linces UVM, who has been a constant force on the QB pockets.

Fabrizzio Giombini, CB from Pumas UNAM Acatlan and previously from Aztecas UDLAP, who may not be among the biggest players on the field but has an excellent technique that helped him become a true shutdown cornerback in college.

Miguel Garcia, LB from Borregos Puebla, a tackling machine and the leader of the best defense in nearly every statistic from the 2022 ONEFA season.

And among the missing players, Emmanuel Cajiga, LB from Aguilas Blancas IPN, a player who excelled in tackling, pass coverage and rushing the passer, is still recovering from an injury and may not be able to play in the LFA this year. Thus, he may have to wait a year to hear his name called on Draft Day.

Humberto Bengochea, DL from Aztecas UDLAP, was projected to be a frist round pick by some analysts. However, he declared this January 3rd on Social Media that he would not be playing on the LFA. It is still possible that a team could pick him, to have the negotiation rights if he ever decides to change his mind.

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