The United States Football League (USFL) is now in its 4th iteration, with prior attempts in 1945, 1983, and 2010. The USFL is best described as a minor league for the NFL, and while the talent level is much lesser than the NFL and below that of the CFL, there are still several young players who displayed the traits and production that NFL teams are looking for.
Here are 10 players who have shown strong play in the USFL and deserve the chance to compete for an NFL roster:
QB Jordan Ta’amu
Jordan Ta’amu is the starting QB for the Tampa Bay Bandits and listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds. Ta’amu played college football at Ole Miss, once backing up Shea Patterson.
Ta’amu has had very short stints on several NFL rosters (Chiefs, Lions, Commanders, and Panthers) prior to joining the USFL. He certainly is a strong candidate to compete for another NFL roster as he led the USFL in passing yards (2,014) and passing touchdowns (14).
Ta’amu also rushed for 365 yards, with an amazing 6.2 yards per carry. Ta’amu’s ability as a dual threat QB makes him an intriguing player for NFL teams, especially considering he is still only 24 years old.
Relevant NFL Experience: Practice Squad Member (Chiefs, Lions, Washington, Panthers)
WR KaVontae Turpin
Turpin was the MVP of the USFL this season. Turpin led the USFL in receiving yards (540), catch percentage (83.0), and YAC (316). He also brought in 4 receiving TDs.
Turpin played college football at TCU but was dismissed from the program amid assault charges. If an NFL team feels they can look beyond Turpin’s past character concerns and his small frame (5-foot-9, 157 pounds), the USFL MVP certainly showed that he has the talent to warrant a training camp invitation.
Relevant NFL experience: No NFL Experience
WR/KR Victor Bolden Jr.
Bolden had a strong campaign in the USFL, ranking 4th in receiving yards (415). While having strong receiving numbers, the main reason why Vic Bolden Jr. should receive NFL buzz is because of his special teams play.
Bolden led the USFL with 1,209 all-purpose yards and recorded a kick return touchdown.
NFL teams may be concerned about his 5-foot-9, 179-pound frame holding up as a true NFL wide receiver, but the special teams ability he possesses makes him a player to look out for.
Relevant NFL experience: San Francisco 49ers Active Roster
TE Sal Cannella
Cannella is a former WR out of Auburn, listed at 6-foot-5, 234 pounds. Cannella cemented himself as the league’s top tight end with 368 yards receiving and 2 TDs. Cannella was the lone tight end named to the Inaugural All-USFL team offense.
Cannella is a versatile TE with pass catching ability that warrants NFL consideration.
Relevant NFL Experience: Miami Dolphins Training Camp Member
RB Reggie Corbin
Corbin is a former running back out of the University of Illinois. Corbin’s best collegiate season came in 2018 where he ran for 1,085 yards and recorded 9 rushing TDs.
Corbin was the most efficient RB by far in the USFL, rushing for 519 yards on only 95 attempts (5.5 yards per carry). A member of the All-USFL team offense, Corbin should compete for an NFL roster.
Relevant NFL Experience: Seattle Seahawks Workout Invite
EDGE Chris Odom
In today’s NFL you can never have too many pass rushers. Getting after the QB is a quality that NFL teams covet, and nobody was better at getting after the QB than Chris Odom in the USFL.
Odom led the USFL with 12.5 sacks, which was 3.5 more than the second-highest total.
Odom played college football at Arkansas State, and after going undrafted he spent time with Atlanta, Green Bay, and Washington in the NFL. Odom is listed at 6-foot-4 and 256 pounds, and after dominating the USFL he should have a chance to return to the NFL.
Relevant NFL Experience: Washington Active Roster
EDGE Davin Bellamy
Bellamy and Odom were the only two defensive ends named to the All-USFL team defense. Bellamy played at the University of Georgia and has prior experience with several NFL clubs.
Bellamy finished the season with only 5.5 sacks, but his experience as an edge rusher makes him a noteworthy player for NFL teams.
Relevant NFL Experience: Practice Squad Member (Texans, Bengals)
LB Donald Payne
Payne led the USFL in tackles by a wide margin: recording 117 tackles with the next best total being 90.
Payne played college football at Stetson University, becoming the first player from Stetson to appear in the NFL. Payne played for the Jaguars during the 2017 season in which they reached the AFC Championship against the New England Patriots. Payne recorded 16 special teams tackles that season which was third best in the NFL.
Relevant NFL Experience: Jacksonville Jaguars Active Roster
CB Channing Stribling
Stribling was the primary ballhawk in the USFL, leading the league with 7 INT. This production earned Stribling All-USFL team defense honors.
Stribling is a former Michigan Wolverine and despite going undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft, Stribling has had lots of NFL experience: Browns, Colts (two stints), 49ers, and Chargers.
Stribling could get another opportunity in the NFL after his play in the USFL.
Relevant NFL Experience: Practice Squad Member (Browns, Colts, 49ers, Chargers)
K Cole Murphy
While Birmingham’s kicker Brandon Aubrey led the USFL (among kickers) with 76 points, the most intriguing kicker for NFL teams should be Cole Murphy.
Murphy was 11-for-12 on field goal attempts, leading the league with a 92.0 field goal percentage. Murphy also nailed a 60-yard field goal.