After watching the Stallions use three different tight ends to the tune of 6 receptions for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sternberger, and Pettaway found the end-zone, while Thaddeus Moss also caught 1 pass for 21 yards. The Stars know this is an ongoing weakness, and something they needed to address. They ultimately decided to make a move at linebacker. Joining names like Bj Bello, and Joel Dublanko, is Ryan Greenhagen a rookie in 2023. Greenhagen is a very promising young player that could be a name to watch going into the playoffs for the Stars.
What Are We Getting in Ryan Greehagen?
Ryan is a five year student of Fordham University, having attended a 5th year as a graduate student. A starter all five seasons he was highly productive.
Looking a bit deeper into his 2020-2021 season, his stats are not correct via the image above, per another spot on the team website he had 22 tackles, 2 tkfl, 1 sack, 1 pd.
Taking a bit closer look at Greenhagen as a player, he was rated as one of the highest linebackers in coverage when looking through the scope of forced incompletions (over 11%). Given this metric factors in many things, and not just pass deflections themselves it is a good measure of what Greenhagen brings to the table in 2023, and possibly beyond, for the Stars. He also was so highly regarded in coverage for Fordham in 2022 alone, he saw 27 snaps aligned as a safety or in the slot over a receiver. He would grade out at 63.3 overall.
Three Down Linebacker
Greenhagen is something of a throwback linebacker in the sense that he has truly done everything you can be asked at the linebacker position.
Rush the Passer: 177 snaps, 40 pressures, 13 sacks, 9 hits, 18 hurries, Avg. Grade 72.3
Stop the Run: 716 snaps, 10.8% missed tackle rate, 46 tackles for a loss of 177 yards, Avg. Grade 74.9
Cover Tight Ends/Running Backs: 745 snaps, 66 targets, 53 receptions, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 5 pbu, Avg. Grade 60.4
He is a true three down linebacker that will not need to be taken off the field much if at all. This will also only further allow Brad Miller, and this defensive staff to get creative at linebacker with Joey Alfieri, Joel Dublanko, Bj Bello, Gabriel Sewell, Jordan Moore, Te’Von Coney, Jordan Genmark-Heath, and Greenhagen now in tow.
Greenhagen has the look of a player with something to prove to NFL scouts about his size and athleticism at his position to ultimately get his chance at the next level. Standing 6’1 245 pounds, he ran a 4.70 40 yard dash, 7.12 3-cone drill, and 30 reps in the bench press. While he was invited to Cleveland for a work out, he was never offered a contract. It looks like he believes a short stint in the USFL could be just what the doctor ordered to jumpstart his NFL career after he fell undrafted, and wasn’t signed to an NFL team for minicamp. The Stars have done a great job of identifying spring football talent, and adding Greenhagen for a post season push seems like a low risk high reward move for Philadelphia.
Special Teams Acumen
Greenhagen is also no stranger to special teams playing 332 special teams snaps in college. He also saw time in every phase of special teams. Playing on kickoff, and punt coverage and return, as well as both sides of the field goal unit. Ironically in 2022 he played on 213 special teams snaps seeing most of his time on the field goal unit blocking opposing rushers with 94 snaps, and 65 rushing against opposing linemen. He was also heavily involved on the punt coverage unit. This is valuable experience, and if he plays the same role with the USFL, this could be his ticket to the NFL.
Ultimately I see Greenhagen as a short term “rental”, and I see this as a trend that will grow going forward for the USFL. Players that see themselves not signed by the NFL as a UDFA right away, will take the chance to go showcase themselves versus arguably a higher level of talent to prove they deserve an NFL chance. Worst case scenario they fast forward their career to the part where they become the next alternative league staple, best case scenario they play 4-5 games and its almost like an extended all-star bowl following college, similar to your Senior Bowl, or East-West Shrine Game it just includes veterans, and former NFL players as well.
Who Will Play Running Back?
While Greenhagen might answer one question, it opens up another. With Colburn headed to the injury list, joining Darnell Holland, and Chris Rowland meaning three of their top four rushing options are hurt, and currently only Dexter Williams remains. Corey Coleman, and Terry Wright could be emergency options but my assumption would be the Stars address this position. Perhaps Paul Terry, or Jordan Scarlett get called back. Maybe we see the Stars finally utilize Adam Rodriguez in the backfield as a fullback or h-back. Rodriguez was listed as a defensive end/fullback at the USFL Draft, and he ended up seeing interest from an NFL team for both positions as well.
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