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Philadelphia Stars Re-Sign USFL Career Sack Leader Adam Rodriguez

A Rod is back. The USFL Career Sack leader Adam Rodriguez has re-signed with the Stars for the 2024 season.

The Philadelphia Stars just suffered through a rough season in 2023. After once sitting atop their division with three games to go, they hit a three game slide to close out the season 4-6 missing the playoffs. There were few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing campaign. Of all the players on the roster in 2023 there was one who stood out in particular on defense.

Shining Star in 2023

That was of course sack-artist Adam Rodriguez. Rodriguez came out of the 2022 season second in sacks behind Chris Odom who later signed with the Cleveland Browns before suffering a season ending injury. In 2023 he was tied for third behind Breeland Speaks (signed by the 49ers), and Keonte Schad who was wanted by the USFL and XFL before the season.

Meanwhile since entering the USFL, only the Seattle Seahawks have offered Rodriguez a work-out, and it came with the caveat they wanted him to work out as a defensive end, and an H-back. A hamstring strain prevented him from the latter, and ended up preventing a contract as well. While he has stated on several occasions he is perfectly okay with playing out his career in a league like the USFL, he is hoping, and praying for an NFL opportunity before the 2024 USFL season, and if push comes to shove shortly after it ends, and he finds himself top 3 in sacks once again.

Looking Forward

Adam is still fairly young, despite the fact that since college he has spent time with The Spring League, and later joined the USFL. Rodriguez has spent the last four seasons developing the skills he had brought with him from the collegiate level that allowed him to rack up 41 tackles for a loss and 22 sacks for a total of 315 yards lost.

While he may be viewed as a “tweener” due to his size and speed, at some point you have to look at the level of production and understand he simply knows how to get to the quarterback. Between college, and the USFL (his TSL stats are impossible to find) Rodriguez has collected 37 sacks in a total of 72 games, but they came with just 48 starts. That isn’t counting the playoffs where in college had a game against Montana where he managed 4 sacks in a single game.

In today’s game the average size of an NFL defensive end is 6’4 277 pounds, now obviously these numbers are highly skewed by the amount of teams running 285 pound and above defensive ends in a 3 lineman front. At 6’2 250 pounds, Rodriguez could easily slide right in with most 4-3 teams as a defensive end, or as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 covering all 32 teams in the league. He also has a 77 1/2 inch wingspan that allows him to get off blocks quickly and efficiently.

More importantly he has had NFL teams view him as a potential offensive threat as a fullback/h-back, and he can add value on all special teams units due to his experience on both sides of the ball. Whether its on kicking units or coverage units, his value there alone seems like it should have been enough to warrant him a roster spot. At the very least CFL teams should be taking notice, and trying to bring Rodriguez in to finish out their season when the 2024 USFL Season concludes, his size, and abilities fit right in with the wider, and longer field of the Canadian League.

There aren’t many players that can turn and point to the type of success that Adam has had at the professional level whether it be the TSL, or USFL without being signed by an NFL team at least once. It seems the decision makers in the biggest football league on the planet might be asleep at the wheel on this one. With pass-rushers coming at a premium leagues like the USFL and XFL that are developing these players with NFL caliber coaching, should be the first go to when looking for veteran free agents.

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