Josh Johnson, Christian Hackenberg among familiar names called in AAF QB draft

Yahoo Sports
Christian Hackenberg never threw an NFL pass, but will get a second chance in the Alliance of American Football. (Getty)
Christian Hackenberg never threw an NFL pass, but will get a second chance in the Alliance of American Football. (Getty)

The Alliance of American Football is ready to kick off in February and started stacking teams with signal-callers on Tuesday in its quarterback draft.

The spring league launched by former Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian and TV executive Charlie Ebersol comprises eight teams and held a special quarterback only draft on Tuesday.

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You may recognize some of these QBS

Some familiar names made the cut, including former NFL quarterbacks Josh Johnson and Christian Hackenberg along with former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray.

Johnson started five games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after playing at the University of San Diego and was protected by the San Diego Fleet per league rules that gave teams first choice on players that went to college near the team’s home city.

Hackenberg was once considered a first-round NFL prospect at his peak at Penn State before being selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft by the New York Jets. He never threw an NFL pass. He went in the second round of Tuesday’s draft as well, chosen by the Memphis Express.

Murray was a standout at Georgia before being selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft. Like Hackenberg, he never threw an NFL pass. Like Johnson, he was protected by his home-region team in the first round by the Atlanta Legends.

32 QBS taken over four rounds

Four teams chose to protect home-region quarterbacks in the first round, leaving the other four teams to draft in traditional order. From there, there were three more rounds of quarterback drafting. Here’s how things played out.

First round

Protected QBs

  • San Diego Fleet protects: Josh Johnson

  • Atlanta Legends protects: Aaron Murray

  • Memphis Express protects: Troy Cook

  • San Antonio Commanders protects: Dustin Vaughan


  • Birmingham Iron: Luis Perez

  • Arizona Hotshots: Trevor Knight

  • Orlando Apollos: Garrett Gilbert

  • Salt Lake Stallions: Josh Woodrum

Second Round

  • San Diego Fleet: Mike Bercovici

  • Birmingham Iron: Blake Sims

  • Arizona Hotshots: John Wolford

  • Orlando Apollos: Stephen Morris

  • Atlanta Legends: Matt Simms

  • Salt Lake Stallions: B.J. Daniels

  • Memphis Express: Christian Hackenberg

  • San Antonio Commanders: Marquise Williams

Third Round

  • San Antonio Commanders picks: Logan Woodside

  • Memphis Express picks: Brandon Silvers

  • Salt Lake Stallions picks: Austin Allen

  • Atlanta Legends picks: Peter Pujals

  • Orlando Apollos picks: Austin Appleby

  • Arizona Hotshots picks: Quinn McQueary

  • Birmingham Iron picks: Scott Tolzien

  • San Diego Fleet picks: Philip Nelson

Fourth round

  • San Antonio Commanders: Dalton Sturm

  • Memphis Express: Zach Mettenberger

  • Salt Lake Stallions: Matt Linehan

  • Atlanta Legends: Justin Holman

  • Orlando Apollos: Kevin Anderson

  • Arizona Hotshots: Jack Heneghan

  • Birmingham Iron: Alek Torgersen

  • San Diego Fleet: Alex Ross

Coaches sound familiar too

The AAF also has a familiar list of coaches. If you haven’t followed all of the hot AAF coaching hire news, here’s a recap.

  • Atlanta Legends: Brad Childress

  • Arizona Hotshots: Rick Neuheisel

  • Birmingham Iron: Tim Lewis

  • Memphis Express: Mike Singletary

  • Orlando Apollos: Steve Spurrier

  • Salt Lake Stallions: Dennis Erickson

  • San Antonio Commanders: Mike Riley

  • San Diego Fleet: Mike Martz

The season kicks off on Feb. 9, the Saturday after the Super Bowl.

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