Pre-Draft Roster Preview: Philadelphia Stars

Pre-Draft Roster Preview: Philadelphia Stars

The Philadelphia Stars had winning it all in sight last year. They got into the playoffs with a record of 6-4 and upset the 9-1 New Jersey Generals and were so close to doing the same to the Stallions but a third quarter broken leg from their signal caller Case Cookus would derail that attempt and Philly would lose 33-30 in a hard-fought match.

Things look just as bright in 2023 for Bart Andrus’ crew as the Stars look to get the job done this time around. They were the only team to convince 4 players that got opportunities in the NFL to re-sign, and they only lost 2 players to the NFL and another one to the XFL. Plus, on top of the lack of losses, they have the 7th overall pick which they can use to improve their chances at getting back to the championship too. Let’s see how the Stars shape up before the draft.

The Stars Currently roster 55 players as of 2/10/23.


Returning: None

Additions: Kevin Thomson, Washington

Losses: Bryan Scott, Occidental; Case Cookus, Northern Arizona; KJ Costello, Stanford

The Stars were blessed with solid quarterback play throughout their first season. They started the year with former Spring League MVP Bryan Scott who was one of the best QBs through 3 weeks but would go down with a season ending knee injury. His backup Case Cookus would come in and maybe even play better, leading Philadelphia to the championship. After Cookus’ injury KJ Costello would come in and failed to lead them to the Championship. All three of these guys are gone for the moment with Scott, Cookus and Costello all currently free agents after short stints in the NFL. The only quarterback left on the roster is Kevin Thomson who spend some time in the CFL but wouldn’t record any stats. The big domino to fall is the future of Case Cookus, if he’s back then this room isn’t an issue but if he’s not then it is an almost guarantee to be the thing at the top of Philly’s priority list.

Skill Positions


RB Matt Colburn, Wake Forest; Dexter Williams, Notre Dame; Paul Terry, Eastern New Mexico; Darnell Holland, Kennesaw State

WR Jordan Suell, Southern Oregon; Devin Gray, Cincinnati; Chris Rowland, Tennessee State; Diondre Overton, Clemson; Khalil Lewis, Cincinnati

TE Bug Howard, North Carolina; Pro Wells, TCU


RB Jordan Scarlett, Florida

WR Samuel Akem, Montana; Keric Wheatfall, Fresno State; Terry Wright, Purdue

TE Ryan Izzo, Florida State; Larry Dalla Betta, West Florida


WR Maurice Alexander, FIU; Brennan Eagles, Texas

The Stars relied a lot on their weapons to get to the championship in 2022. There were able to retain many of those guys. The only loss was WR/KR Maurice Alexander who is currently a Detroit Lion. Outside of that they were able to keep their entire running back core and even add former 5th round pick Jordan Scarlett to the mix, their entire tight end group including the leader of receiving yard by a tight end in Bug Howard and a new addition of former 7th round pick Ryan Izzo, and the rest of their receiver room including guys like Jordan Suell, Devin Gray, and Chris Rowland who all have NFL potential. All and all, they are stacked at all three of these positions and so I can’t imagine spending a top pick here. This core will be great for whoever is throwing passes in 2023.

Offensive Line


T Blake Camper, South Carolina; Jake Burton, Baylor; Leon Johnson, Temple; Clay Legault, Merrimack

G Colby Ragland, UAB; Paul Nosworthy, Buffalo; Jahair Jones, Miami

C Sean Brown, Mississippi Valley State; Chris Perez, Temple


T Airon Servais, Syracuse; Tristen Taylor, Eastern Washington


T Alex Akingbulu, Fresno State; Gunnar Vogel, Northwestern

G Jackson Scott-Brown, Northern Iowa

The stars struggled with continuity across their line during last season. This means almost everyone returning had at least a little playing time during the previous season. The major loss this offseason was Alex Akingbulu who signed during last season and played well enough to get a chance with the Washington Commanders who have him under a futures deal now. The offensive line is a hard position to be great at in spring football so I’m sure if the right one fell to them, they’d pounce but the biggest thing to make the Stars line work next year is to find the 5 and stick to them.

Defensive Line


DL Ralph Holley, Western Michigan; Chris Nelson, Texas; Cedrick Lattimore, Iowa; Antwan Owens, Jackson State

EDGE Adam Rodriguez, Weber State


DL Tyler Clark, Georgia; Jordon Scott, Oregon


DL Freedom Akinmoladun, Nebraska; Mike Barrett, Georgia; Tony Fair, Auburn

EDGE James Crawford, Illinois

In 2022, the Stars had the league’s worst defense and a large chunk of that was the 150 rushing yards per game they gave up. They also lost their top pick in Freedom Akinmoladun who is now a St. Louis Battlehawk. Things aren’t completely doom and gloom in this group though, they got a break by being able to keep star edge rusher Adam Rodriquez. It’s completely shocking to me that Rodriquez didn’t get a chance in an NFL camp especially since he worked out with the Seahawks. The Stars still have a lot of roster spots open and I think that they should use some of them too sure up their front and maybe even spend a top pick in this group.


Returning: Gabriel Sewell Jr., Nevada; Te’Von Coney, Notre Dame; Jordan Moore, UTSA

Additions: Kadofi Wright, Buffalo; Jordan Genmark-Heath, Notre Dame; Joey Alfieri, Stanford

Losses: Josh Banderas, Nebraska

Philadelphia had their top starting linebacker opt-out of year 2 in Josh Banderas. The only starter that is coming back is linebacker Jordan Moore. They are going to try to replace Banderas with two linebackers with limited NFL experience in Joey Alfieri and Kadofi Wright. They also have a few guys coming back that could see increases in playing time in Te’Von Coney and Gabriel Sewell Jr. who is the brother of Lions tackle Penei Sewell. I could see them adding more depth to this room but if Banderas comes back, they probably leave it alone.



CB Channing Stribling, Michigan; Mazzi Wilkins, South Florida; Amani Dennis, Carthage; Bradley Sylve, Alabama

S LaDarius Wiley, Vanderbilt; Evan Worthington, Colorado; Joshua Moon, Georgia Southern; Cody Brown, Arkansas State


CB Denzel Williams, Villanova; Devin Taylor, Bowling Green; Stanford Samuels, Florida State


CB Marcus Lewis, Maryland

S Ahmad Dixon, Baylor

This secondary had a roller-coaster of an offseason. It mostly surrounded their best player and All-USFL team player Cornerback Channing Stribling. Stribling looked to be moving on as he signed with the Washington Commanders, but he didn’t make the roster, and then he was in the XFL draft and was taken by the Battlehawks but in early 2023 he decided to run it back with the Stars. This completely changes how this offseason looks for Philly. Things keep getting better as they added three UDFA’s who had spent time on NFL roster in Denzel Williams, Devin Taylor, and Stanford Samuels. This all makes it unlikely that Philly would invest into their secondary in the draft.

Final Thoughts

As it stands going into the draft, Philadelphia has a borderline championship roster with the number of guys they were able to retain. They seem poised to find themselves in the same situation they were in last year and this time they want to finish the job. They need to figure out the quarterback and defensive line but if they nail those two spots then they should be primed to continue their streak that of going to every USFL championship that dates back to the old USFL from the 80s.

Do you think Case Cookus will return to the Philadelphia Stars for season 2? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.