Top 5 newly signed Americans who could be ELF stars

The influx of new American signings to the European League of Football means we have a pool of new potential stars for the league.

Historically, teams have preferred signing American athletes with ELF experience, leading to some players bouncing between teams. It seems that the European franchises have decided to look elsewhere this season, thus many new players are debuting in Europe within the ELF, which is very refreshing. Today, we shall look at five players who could potentially be stars, the only rule is that players have to be signed to the ELF for the first time in 2024.

Let’s get straight into it.

Connor Wedington – Cologne Centurions – Wide Receiver

Wedington is one of the newest players in the ELF with high-level NFL experience. He has spent time with the 49ers, Seahawks and Texans following his Stanford career. His athletic ability is evident from the tape, he has value on special teams, and he can go up and get the ball from any position. He is primarily a deep-threat wide receiver but does have the ability from intermediate routes. It’ll be interesting to see if he can have more of a scoring presence in Europe. At Stanford he was only able to find the endzone once in his career. Creating separation is also something that will be under the microscope and this was a point in his pre-NFL scouting report that will be on the focus sheet of defensive coordinators across the league.

Daniel Wright – Prague Lions – Defensive Back

The Prague Lions have returned to the well of Alabama. Rogria Lewis was part of the Lions in 2023 and had spent time in the prestigious university. In 2024, they have gone to the next level. Daniel Wright played in 58 games over a five-year career, won a national championship, and saw starting reps predominantly in the 2020 season. His experience will go a long way on this Prague defense, as will his value on special teams and aggressive style in the pass and run game. He lacks some of the closing speed on man coverage and some inconsistency in his tackling, but he was praised at Alabama for his veteran leadership. The Prague Lions were desperate for a big-time player last season and Wright looks like an excellent choice that exemplifies how teams should be looking to recruit. Why settle for less when you can have a former D1 Power 5 starting player?

Matt Cole – Wroclaw Panthers – Wide Receiver

Even at the age of 27, Matt Cole is one of the most experienced players in the ELF today, possibly ever. Cole has been part of seven NFL rosters, whether it be as a member of practice squads, reserves, or, in the case of his stint with the San Franciso 49ers, on the active roster. The receiver has legitimate speed, quickness, and burst that will make him borderline uncoverable if he is used in the slot. As a former special team standout, he gives the Panthers options on both kick and punt return with the 2023 Specialist of the Year in Devan Burrell. Not only this, but getting the ball into in his hands early and often could see the short passing game of Wroclaw enter into the elite conversation.

Steven Duncan – Wroclaw Panthers – Quarterback

Steven Duncan’s arrival to the European League of Football is one of the most anticipated in the league’s short history. Duncan was one of the best players in Europe outside of the ELF with the Dresden Monarchs. He lit the competition on fire in the GFL. Entering the ELF, he has some of the best supporting cast that he could ask for with Andria Botella-Moreno at tight end, Keanu Ebanks on the offensive line, Gennadiy Adams at running back, and of course, Matt Cole at receiver. With Duncan behind center, the Panthers suddenly go from a likely contender to a bonified championship-level competitor. He is big, and powerful, can stretch the field, and can make nearly every throw required. It’ll be extremely interesting to see how he handles the step up in competition.

Ben Holmes – Vienna Vikings – Quarterback

Any player who steps into an unbeaten team is expected to be a success straight from the get-go. Although Holmes isn’t considered the most elite quarterback in the ELF as of now, he does have experience in higher North American leagues such as the CFL and Summer League. However, each time he has attempted a step up in competition it has resulted in a decline of his production. Once Holmes is more settled in an offense, he has proved to be safe with the ball and shows a solid arm and an understanding of defensive coverages. If Vienna can hold on to their extremely underrated offensive line and stack more receiver options with their carousel of talented running backs, Holmes could be the quarterback entering the league with the best supporting cast around him, giving him the best chance for success at the ELF level.

In summary…

There are plenty of American players yet to be signed, but I believe that there is a large divide between the great prospects and the players that are slightly more questionable. That being said, last season we had surprise stars in Matty Vitale (Wroclaw Panthers), Darrell Stewart Jr (Stuttgart Surge), and the aforementioned Devan Burrell who established themselves in their respected roles. There will undoubtedly be some hidden gems that come to surprise Europe, and that is an extremely exciting proposition. Until next time.