December 12, 2022
By Daniel Cohen
Everyone’s a hybrid these days. I think we owe it to ourselves, the fans, and the players, to get a little bit more descriptive of the different types of hybrids, and how each of the roles manifest themselves in the greater context of an offense.
Here are three subcategories of hybrids, and five elite examples at each position.
"True Hybrids" are as comfortable playing in the backfield as they are downfield. These are players that can handle 40-plus touches per game with high efficiency, and they have the most complete offensive skill sets as both throwers and cutters.
- Jack Williams, New York Empire
The best True Hybrid in the game, Jack Williams does it all. We’ve seen him effortlessly go from initiating cutter, to primary handler, to downfield finisher, sometimes all within the same game. He’s the best ultimate player in the world, so this label is easily the most fitting.
- Eric Taylor, Carolina Flyers (pictured)
There’s probably another conversation to be had about the sub-categorizations of defensive positions/roles, and whether “True Hybrid” should include defensive ability as well. It’s fitting either way in the case of Eric Taylor, who in addition to being a top possession handler and downfield thrower on offense has been known to shut down his matchups defensively.
- Rowan McDonnell, DC Breeze
Thrower, cutter, highlight-maker, Rowan McDonnell’s versatility returned to center stage this past season in the Breeze offense, a system built on emphasizing the ever-evolving hybrid skill set of the modern ultimate player. Rowan set the tone for this franchise in 2018 and 2019 in his do-everything ability, and it’s been cool to see his approach to the game cement itself in the framework of the team.
- Sean Mott, Philadelphia Phoenix
We’ve seen it all from Sean Mott over the years, as he’s been consistently able to create something out of nothing in the backfield, or use his elite cutting ability to break free downfield. Creative with his throws and still very much at home working in standard cutting rotations, Mott has shaped Philly’s identity into the high-powered offense we came to know and love in 2022.
- Abe Coffin, Minnesota Wind Chill
To revisit the famous Wes Nemec quote from 2019: “Abe’s comically good at frisbee.” Still true today. Abe Coffin’s highlights show up at every level of the field, offensively and defensively, and you can feel the rest of the line mold around him whenever he’s out there. He went from starting O-line cutter to D-line quarterback in the same season, he led the Wind Chill defense to the highest break rate in the league, and he ruined the two-point rule this past All-Star Game.
Strikers are essentially cutters with big throws. Aggressive initiators that are often involved in the red zone, but they don’t really hang out in the backfield between the 20s—you probably wouldn’t ever call them “handlers.” These are your fantasy ultimate heroes, generally the top scorers in any offense.
- Ryan Osgar, New York Empire
The 2022 AUDL MVP is one of the best pure throwers in the league, and the Empire have put him in the perfect spot to take advantage of his skill set. Often initiating the offense as a primary cutter, Ryan Osgar’s catch-and-shoot ability, and precision, allowed the Empire offense to finish as the most dominant unit in the history of the league.
- Jordan Kerr, Salt Lake Shred
The 2022 AUDL assist leader, there was arguably no player more dangerous with the disc in their hands than Jordan Kerr. He starts each possession as a cutter, but “thrower” would much better describe his role—it got to the point where an end zone shot seemed inevitable whenever he got the disc, especially in the red zone. Highlighted by his signature step-out lefty flick and crossfield back shoulder throws, Kerr’s aggressiveness in the half-field space made him borderline unstoppable this past season.
- Leandro Marx, Portland Nitro (pictured)
The sole engine of the Nitro offense, Leandro Marx put the team on his back this season as Portland’s primary playmaker. His non-stop motor as a downfield cutter freed up Marx for countless deep shots of his own when teams were forced to back him, and the result was the sixth 50-assist-50-goal season in AUDL history en route to being named 2022 Rookie of the Year. Strikers are always going to put up big scoring numbers, and there was no more consistent scorer than Marx this past year.
- Quinn Finer, Colorado Summit
Quinn Finer burst onto the scene in 2022 as the number one downfield option for Colorado, but it was his throws that really elevated the Summit’s offensive ceiling. With plenty of talent on the Summit O-line, Finer took what the defense gave him whether that meant using his legs or his throws; he led the team in receiving yards while finishing second in huck completions (18).
- Ross Barker, Chicago Union
You don’t often think of Ross Barker as a top thrower on the Chicago O-line since he’s probably the top receiver, but his willingness to put the disc deep was exactly what this offense needed to keep opposing defenses on their heels. When Barker wasn’t juking defenders downfield, he was frequently found launching the disc to Jeff Weis, Eli Artemakis, or even handlers releasing from the backfield. He’s a field stretcher in every sense of the word, leading the team in both goals and huck completions in 2022.
Glue Hybrids don’t really feel like handlers or cutters, though they do both depending on the context within a point. Often serving as an extra reset option, these players connect the handler set to the downfield cutters, generally keeping high-risk throws to a minimum. The classic “safety valves” or “security blankets,” Glue Hybrids keep the offense moving and adjust their roles on the fly accordingly.
- Anders Juengst, Carolina Flyers
Anders Juengst is prototypical glue. The Flyers’ two-man backfield of Sol Yanuck and Matt Gouchoe-Hanas rely on Juengst as a key piece to facilitate disc movement, serve as an outlet for resets, and do whatever it takes to get open. Juengst’s quickness is his biggest strength in this role, and the way he adjusts to what the offense needs makes him the perfect midfield piece in any system.
- Kyle Henke, Austin Sol (pictured)
Kyle Henke straddles the line a bit between all three hybrid types, but that’s part of being a Glue Hybrid; they basically define their own unique position on the field. Typically finding himself around the disc, Henke is active in every offensive possession both as a fill-in reset option and primary facilitator. Henke was probably more in the striker category a couple years ago, but has morphed into one of the most important weapons in Austin due to his increased efficiency and versatility.
- Evan Swiatek, Austin Sol
We could put Evan Swiatek in his own “Grinder” or “Churner” subcategory for his relentless cutting that puts him in position with the disc more often than not. Swiatek doesn’t take many deep shots, but excels in the short-to-intermediate space by stringing together multiple cuts and continuation throws to keep the Sol offense in rhythm.
- Tyler Monroe, DC Breeze
Tyler Monroe excels within the DC Breeze offense as a classic connector piece, typically hovering around 30 touches per game. A sizable receiver with the instincts of a cycling handler, Monroe has great midfield instincts in the unique DC system. And his consistency and tenacity with his route running helped the Breeze offense achieve franchise-high efficiency numbers this past season.
- Christian Boxley, DC Breeze
Honestly, most of the Breeze O-line slots into this category. DC’s system basically requires its pieces to cycle through the backfield and front-of-stack positions throughout a point, allowing Christian Boxley’s role to evolve from downfield cutter to Glue Hybrid this past season. Though he’s still most impactful when he gets downfield, Boxley showed plenty of poise with the disc and finished second on the O-line in completion percentage (97.1 percent) while registering over 300 touches in 2022.
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