The Philadelphia Stars have been hit hard by injuries all season long and last week was no different. Channing Stribling pulled up and started limping on a play that saw him try to run a ball carrier down from behind. This was a non-contact injury, which has me even more concerned about his future this season. Clearly the Stars are also concerned having moved both him and Matt Colburn to the injury list.
These moves to the injury list for Channing Stribling, and Matt Colburn prompted corresponding moves to bring in depth at these positions. The Stars opted to sign players that were very similar to the men they lost. Let’s take a look at where these guys last played, what they bring to the table and how they fit into the team.
The Stars Have a Type
Bart Andrus and his staff seem to have a pretty clear cut basis for what they want in a cornerback. Focusing on players who are physically imposing standing 6’0 190 lbs or larger. This prevents mismatches due to larger receivers found across the league and it plays into the press coverage that the Stars like to use at times.
Carlins Platel is a 6’1 195 pound defensive back who can play inside, outside or even some free safety. He began his college career at Assumption University before attending University of South Carolina in 2021 as a graduate student. During his career, he showcased the ability to do a little bit of everything as a defense of back.
Production? Not a Problem
While playing at Assumption he racked up 96 tackles, 2 for a loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, but more importantly 37 pass deflections and 7 interceptions. He moved on to South Carolina and added 21 tackles, 2 for a loss, 1 sack, 6 pass deflections and 1 more interception.
At his pro day Platel tested about how I would have expected to see. A 4.65 40-yard dash, and 7.39 3-cone drill tell the story of why Platel wasn’t drafted in 2022. His vertical of 37.5 inches, and 29.5 inch arms helped him attack the ball in the air with a lot of success, but it was his 16 reps in the bench press that made him a great fit for this defense. This showed his playing strength and displayed the traits necessary to play press coverage whether lined up inside or outside. Platel could be a player who long-term can develop his instincts, and press coverage abilities enough to hide his lack of top flight speed.
After college Platel went undrafted but was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers after a try-out. Last preseason he managed 7 tackles and 1 pass deflection in 3 games and the Steelers liked what they saw. After a full season with Pittsburgh he was released in mid March. If the Stars wanted to pick the perfect replacement for Stribling, Platel might be that player.
Rushing Attack Gets a New Face
Jamyest Williams is an interesting player. Originally recruited to South Carolina after ranking as the third best cornerback in the country, he actually played three and a half seasons on defense.
With South Carolina he had 86 tackles, 3 pbu’s, 3 ints, but didn’t have a single offensive touch. After the 2019 season, Williams transferred to Georgia State, originally to play defense once again. It wasn’t until midway through 2020 that he was moved to running back. He IMMEDIATELY made an impact, averaging 5.4 yards per carry, on 47 carries, adding 8 receptions for 77 yards, 1 kick return for 17 yards, as well as 4 tackles and 1 forced fumble.
In 2021 he had a career season and showed what he could do with a lions share of the touches. He went on to have 129 offensive touches for 878 yards and 9 touchdowns. This amounted to an average of 6.8 yards per touch. In 2022 he had only 85 carries for 447 yards, and 2 touchdowns, and 4 receptions for 27 yards. While adding 4 punt returns and 2 kick returns for 49 yards.
Williams Packs a Punch, Albeit in a Smaller Package
While Williams will not be mistaken for Colburn anytime soon, he does run with similar power. Stars fans stop me if you’ve heard a scouting report like this before: “Patiently waits for blocks to develop, finds the running lanes, and has a burst through the hole.
Quick-footed, easily bounces around the corner and displays the ability to make defenders miss. Plays faster than his 40-time, consistently runs north-south and creates yardage. Multi-cut ball carrier who will pick and choose his spots on the inside.” –Profootballnetwork.com
His 40-yard dash and 3-cone drill weren’t what you would expect after watching his highlights, but then you see he has a 36 inch vertical and put up 17 reps in the bench and it starts to make more sense. Williams is a power runner in a smaller package, he isn’t the fastest back on the planet but he has great burst and the strength to fight through arm tackles or hold up in pass protection.
(Morry Gash, Associated Press)
Williams attended a rookie minicamp with the Packers but didn’t stick long, but now gets a short term audition in the USFL hoping to reignite his NFL interest. This seems to be a growing trend around the league as more and more rookies sign USFL contracts as the weeks go by. With only four weeks remaining it will be interesting to see if this trend continues.