When teams of the European League of Football are building their rosters, there is a premium placed on high-quality local talent. Imported players tend to be the focus of most teams in the ELF. Still, with a limited number of import players, each team can add to its roster. Therefore, the remaining portion of their roster comprises the best talent ELF franchises can develop and sign in their home territory.
There are different avenues for acquiring high-quality native players; many veterans change teams as free agents. In addition, many players from lower levels of American football leagues in Europe can earn opportunities when they play well within their countries.
For example, ELF teams have acquired ninety-nine players from the German Football League (GFL) in the off-season. Combines are also essential for teams to identify and evaluate high-quality athletes that have yet to establish themselves by playing in lower-level European football leagues.
Let’s look at the moves ELF teams have made this week to continue building their 2023 rosters.
Hamburg Sea Devils
The Sea Devils have signed running back Jakob Michaelson after Michaelson displayed at a Sea Devils combine. However, Hamburg has also decided to part ways with running back Glen Toonga, which could be related to Toonga failing a drug test during the semi-finals of the 2022 ELF playoffs.
The Sea Devils re-signed two offensive linemen, David Weinstock and Dennis Kezler; both players have been vital to the Sea Devils’ success on offense. Defensively, the Sea Devils have signed 19-year-old linebacker Kubindia Bashale and American defensive back Deion Harris. Harris played collegiately at North Dakota and has professional experience in the NFL and CFL.
The Vienna Vikings have re-signed wide receivers Nikolaus Rabitsch, Marian Deininger, and Michael Schachermayr. In addition, the Vikings have also re-signed running back Karri Pajarinen and Florian Wegan. The ability to continually acquire high-quality local players is one aspect that sets the Viking’s offense apart from the other ELF offensive units. On defense, the Vikings have re-signed defensive back, Christoph Kellner.
The Munich Ravens announced that they had signed kicker Robert Werner. Werner has played for the Munich Cowboys for the last ten seasons, and in 2022 he had a field goals percentage of 93.3% and was 38 for 39 on extra point kicks. The Ravens have also added a pair of defensive backs, Rachid Ali-Tagba from the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns of the GFL (German Football League) and Enis Kaser. Kaser has played two seasons with the Munich Cowboys and has produced 89 tackles, five tackles for loss, and two interceptions. On offense, the Ravens have added 28-year-old running back Justin Rodney, who spent two seasons with the Frankfurt Galaxy.
The Helvetic Guards have added offensive players to their roster this week, signing wide receiver Colin Ceesay and offensive lineman Niels Meier. Ceesay comes to the Guards after playing for the Argovia Pirates. Niels Meier played college football at Washburn University in the US.
The Prague Lions have signed two players to defensive players to their 2023 roster. Defensive lineman Jakob Jecny comes to the Lions after a successful career in the Czech American Football League. Another CAAF product, defensive back Daniel Feureisel has also signed with the Lions after producing 27 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, and one sack in 2022.
The Milano Seamen have signed wide receiver Carlo Tassan, offensive lineman Domenico Carroli, and Francesco Virlinzi. Tassan has been a participant in the NFL Academy before joining the Seamen. Defensively, Milano has signed 26-year-old defensive back Christian Sattura.
The Ferhervar Enthroners have re-signed offensive lineman Szabo Daniel. Daniel has experience playing for the Hungarian National Team.
The Berlin Thunder have signed veteran offensive lineman Jannik Werblow. Werblow played college football at Benedictive College and has played for the Parma Panthers, Milano Seamen, and Schwabisch Hall Unicorns. The Thunder have also signed 22-year-old defensive end Emil Hovde, who has played for the Stockholm Mean Machine and the Carlstad Crusaders; Hovde finished his college career at Mercer University. Hovde joins a host of imported players to the Thunder roster, including offensive tackles Tobias Rodlauer and Lawrence Cornwall-Baptiste, defensive lineman Christian Berg, linebacker Ludvig Myren, and defensive back Viljo Lempinen. The Thunder have lost defensive tackle Marcel Behm, who signed with the New Yorker Lions of the GFL.
The Rhein Fire have signed ELF veteran running back Glen Toonga after the Sea Devils decided to move on from Toonga. However, due to his failed drug test, Toonga will not be able to play until week 5 of the 2023 ELF season. The Fire has also added offensive center Jaochim Christiansen to their offense; Christiansen has played the last two seasons with the Frankfurt Galaxy.
Defensively, the Fire has re-signed defensive back Till Linus Luca Caleb Janssen. In 2022, Janssen played in 12 games and produced 41 tackles, two interceptions, and nine pass breakups. In addition, the Fire has signed linebacker Lino Schroter and GFL all-star defensive end Samuel Kargel.
The Cologne Centurions re-signed defensive lineman Janek Wenke, Alexander Boes, linebacker Matthias Banjaqui, and defensive lineman Frederick Schneider. This group of returning defensive players could improve the Centurion’s defense. In addition, the Centurions have also signed defensive lineman Jahn Jesus Lara Perez.
The Tirol Raiders have signed two defensive players this week. Defensive back Matthias Rebl comes to the Raiders for the Austrian champion, the Vienna Dragons. The Raiders have also signed cornerback Fabian Reunig who joined the Raiders after playing in Innsbruck, the reining Austrian champion.
The Stuttgart Surge leads the ELF this offseason with 34 new additions to their roster. This week the Surge signed kicker Lenny Krieg who went 8 for 13 on field goals and 35 for 40 on extra point kicks for Berlin Adler. The Surge has also signed American wide receiver Bryce Nunnelly. Nunnely comes to Stuttgart after being released by the Saint Louis Battlehawks of the XFL.
Odds and Ends
The Leipzig Kings have signed defensive back Zil Jalaal-Turea. The Wroclaw Panthers have announced Gabe Landa as their wide receiver coach. The Kings and Panthers strive towards a winning record for 2023 after earning 4 and 5 wins, respectively, during the 2022 season.
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