Author Eric D. WilliamsFOX sports writer
After 23 years in the NFL, Tampa Bay Bandit head coach Todd Haley knows the level of talent he sees.
For Haley, there were several players of this type on the pitch in Birmingham during the regular USFL season.
“There’s a decent group of players on this team who I think should be able to compete at the NFL,” Haley said. “Or at least go to camps and create teams. It’s about keeping that dream alive in the sport they love.”
Although Haley’s Bandits didn’t make it to the offspring, four other teams have the opportunity to continue hunting for the USFL title this weekend at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
The top two teams from the Northern Division will meet at 3pm on Saturday on FOX as New Jersey generals face off against the Philadelphia Stars.
The Southern Division’s top team, the Birmingham Stallions, will then face the New Orleans Breakers at 8 p.m. ET in NBC in the second semi-final.
The winners of these games will meet at 19.30 on behalf of the USFL title. ET on July 3 at FOX.
Many play-offs will have the opportunity to reach the NFL training camp listings in a month’s time. FOX Sports spoke to NFL scouts and other league staff to get their views on some of the players the league is trying to secure at the end of the USFL season.
Victor Bolden Jr., WR, Stallions
The Oregon State product has spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions, so it has an NFL pedigree.
Bolden led stallions in receptions (42) and yards after capture (193). He also finished with 645 rebounds in the regular season.
Bolden is only 5 feet 9 and 175 pounds, but scouts like his sticky hands, versatility and ability to make anything happen after a catch. Bolden led the league in universal billing (1209) and was selected to host the All-USFL Offense.
DeMarquis Gates, LB / Edge, Stallions
Ole Missi’s product drove stallions this season in punches (62) and bags (6.5), winning All-USFL defensive awards. Weighing in at 6 to 3 and 230 pounds, the scouts described Gates as extremely instinctive with an innate ability to find football.
Gates has a passing ability, he is an athletic and explosive batsman who can be effective as a line defender and running as a winger on the offensive line.
The TCU product was simply the USFL’s most explosive game manager this season. Think Tireek Hill in the NFL; so far, Turpin looked like he was playing in this league, running consistently past and away from the defenders.
Turpin led the USFL with 540 receiving yards (including a high USFL 316 yards after capture) and finished with four hits. Turpin also had a 71-yard setback. Turpin earned the USFL MVP Award for his efforts.
KaVontae Turpin’s season highlights
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Victor earned 577 yards and collected nine touchdowns to earn the USFL Offensive Player of the Year award. Victor is a north-south runner who is strong and explosive and can hit on contact. To see also : Most People Should See This Bizarre Sci-Fi Movie On Prime Video. One scout described Victor’s unique ability to move a bunch as BYOB: Be Your Own Blocker.
Weighing in at £ 5-8 and £ 209, the Victor is comparable in size and running style to Maurice Jones-Drew or Mark Ingram. Victor also has good hands from behind and is a capable defender, which makes him a candidate as a third-level quarterback.
Auburn’s product was the best narrow-minded catcher this season, earning the All-USFL Offense honor. Cannella received 34 receptions with 368 yards and two touchdowns.
Weighing between 6 and 5 and 230 pounds, the Cannella wings have a long reach and do a good job of creating isolation in tight spaces such as the red zone. And he’s a capable blocker in the running game.
Weighing 6 to 3 and 335 pounds, Rowzee is a strong blocker at the point of attack and an explosive block in the running game. Rowzee also received recognition from scouts for his hard and physical play.
Troy’s product helped Breakers drop only 17 bags during the season. Only New Jersey generals allowed fewer bags (16). Breakers quarterback Kyle Sloter finished second in the USFL with 1,798 assists in nine games.
The Northern Arizona product was the most consistent quarterback this season. Cookus replaced injured starter Bryan Scott in the first half of the season, finishing 1,334 yards, 12 touchdowns and just five breaks in seven starts.
The 6-4, 205-pound signaler was praised for his determination and ability to control the game out of pocket. His athleticism may be a concern at the next level, even though Cookus has an honor of 79 yards.
Case Cookus accounts for five TDs
Case Cookus scored 247 yards and four touchdowns in the Philadelphia Stars 46:24 win over the Michigan Panthers. To see also : Fall Guys suffers online issues as the game is free to play. He also rushed 118 yards and one touchdown.
The Michigan product led the USFL in seven sections and was named to the All-USFL defense team. Weighing in at 6 feet and 175 pounds, Stribling drew comparisons with Richard Sherman in length and intelligence, luring the players into bad throws.
Birmingham stallions: QB J’Mar Smith, OL Cameron Hunt, RB Bo Scarbrough, LB Scooby Wright, LS Ryan Larsen.
Houston Gamblers: DE Chris Odom, LB Donald Payne, CB Will Likely Jr., CB Micah Abernathy.
Michigan Panthers: RB Reggie Corbin, WR Lance Lenoir Jr., K Cole Murphy.
New Jersey generals: LB D’Juan Hines, RB Trey Williams, LB Chris Orr, QB Luis Perez, S Shalom Luani, CB De’Vante Bausby, DL Toby Johnson.
New Orleans Breakers: QB Kyle Sloter, WR Johnnie Dixon, LB Vontae Diggs, LB Jerod Fernandez, LB Christian Sam.
Philadelphia stars: RB Matthew Colburn II, WR Jordan Suell, WR Maurice Alexander.
Pittsburgh Maulers: K Ramiz Ahmed, DE Carlo Kemp, LB Kyahva Tezino.
Tampa Bay Bandits: QB Jordan Ta’amu, WR Derrick Dillon, OL Jarron Jones, LB Travis Feeney. P Brandon Wright.
Eric D. Williams has been reporting on the NFL for more than a decade, talking about Los Angeles Rams to Sports Illustrated, Los Angeles Chargers to ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.
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