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Philadelphia Stars

Philadelphia Stars Watch Two Workout with NFL, Release One

Chris Nelson is just one man, but he was part of a larger issue. The Stars struggled to stop the run and apply pressure. It’s time they rebuild this line.

Since the 2023 USFL season ended, and Philadelphia Stars have stayed relatively quiet compared to other teams. We haven’t seen a rush of NFL Signings, we haven’t seen a rush of resigning‘s, and we haven’t seen a rush of players leaving for other leagues either. However we did get our first release of the off-season which is somewhat surprising. 

Stars Release Chris Nelson 

Nelson a former CFL player could see opportunities open up on other teams such as the XFL, CFL or ELF if he wants to continue playing. Nelson played the last two seasons with the Stars, and from all accounts seemed to be a solid player. 

I have to wonder if this has more to do with their struggles as a team than they did Nelson’s individual performance. As of right now I would have a hard time blaming Philadelphia if they completely blew up and rebuilt the interior of their defensive line with only LaBryan Ray, and Jordan Scott in the running to return. 

Although they’re not easy to find, Philadelphia needs a true two gap nose tackle that can eat up double teams and create one on one match ups for his teammates. Allowing guys like Adam Rodriguez, Darius Hodge, Ali Fayad, and Carson Taylor to eat outside, while LaBryan Ray pushes the pocket from the interior. 


Since being drafted two seasons ago, Chris Nelson has been primarily a rotational player in this defense. He played in 9 games in 2023 but started just two. During that time he has collected 45 tackles, and 2.5 sacks. Not the most impressive stat line after two seasons worth of play.

In 2021 just prior to joining the Stars, Nelson played for the Edmonton Elks in 4 games collecting 6 tackles. The Elks could certainly use some help in their defensive front. I could see Nelson landing back in the CFL very soon. However he could be a candidate for the XFL or other USFL teams as well.

Some names that could peak the Stars Interest

-Malik McDowell, out of the NFL since ‘21 played in IFL in ‘23 as a nose tackle

-Forrest Merrill, 6’0 322 pound monster, UDFA in ‘21, spent 2 years with Chargers, signed and released by Seattle this offseason. 

-Vincent Taylor, 6’3 312 pound defensive tackle, has been in NFL since 2017. Spent most of the last two seasons on IR with lower leg injuries. Has not been signed. 

-Davon Coleman, Coleman is a CFL Veteran who was released just before the season. Not a true nose tackle at 6’2 295 pounds, he is more of a 3 or 4 technique that would add depth in the interior pass rush with 24 sacks in the CFL. 

-Fabian Foote, Another CFL Free agent Foote just won a Grey Cup with Toronto. A former 2nd round pick in the CFL draft, he would be in his 6th season in the CFL, and 7th year counting 2020. He is however a closer fit to the 3 tech position than he is a 0 or 1. 

-Chris Terrell, Terrell is a 6’3 275 pound defensive lineman who can play inside or outside. 21 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks, 2 blocked kicks, 4 tipped passes, 1 forced fumble and 2 recoveries in 18 games 

-Ulric Jones, 6’6 320 pounds- Finished college career with University of South Carolina- in 23 games with 9 starts he had 71 tackles, 1 for a loss, 1 sack, 4 tipped passes. Played with the Birmingham Iron in 19, St. Louis Battlehawks in 20, before joining indoor football. Managed 17 tackles for a loss, 6 sacks, 14 tipped passes, 1 interception, and 3 blocked kicks in 2 IFL seasons. He would fit perfectly at the nose. 

No Stars to the NFL Yet

As of right now two Stars players have worked out with NFL teams. Per Aaron Wilson Bj Bello, and Cyril Grayson both received NFL interest although neither signed a contract after their work out. 

Both of these men are NFL veterans who I expect to get a couple more calls before the 2023 NFL season begins. I am somewhat surprised that Case Cookus, Adam Rodriguez, and Luis Aguilar in particular haven’t gotten at least a work out yet. The off-season is far from over so Philadelphia can’t count their lucky Stars yet assuming all of these players will return. In fact, they should almost hope some don’t. 

Free Agents pay attention to which teams put players in the NFL. With a team like the Stallions having such success sending players to the NFL, free agents given a choice will likely choose Birmingham over nearly any other team as of right now. I still expect at least a couple Stars players to sign NFL contracts at some point. 

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