Cardinals Could Sign ‘Ballhawk’ USFL Breakout Star

Channing Stribling

Getty Images Channing Stribling making an attempt to catch a ball in 2020.

The United States Football League is nearing the end of its inaugural season and the Arizona Cardinals will soon have a chance to snatch any talent that is worth a closer look.

With the USFL championship concluding on July 3, there are playoff-bound players that could sign with an NFL team. Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine wrote a list of seven free agents who could be deserving of an NFL roster spot. He also listed potential teams who could be fits for each player.

While Arizona wasn’t mentioned, there was a player that could make sense for the Cardinals. Philadelphia Stars cornerback Channing Stribling, 27, has seven interceptions, which leads the USFL. From the Cardinals’ perspective, It could be worth taking a flier on Stribling.

At the same time, Ballentine has the Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans and New York Giants as potential landing spots for the cornerback.

Ballentine wrote, “Stribling has been a ball hawk for the Stars . . . The former Michigan Wolverine has shown a knack for baiting quarterbacks into throwing his way and aggressively breaking on the ball, Stribling might have needed the experience and development that he’s received while playing in various leagues.”

“Stribling’s instincts and ball skills give him a shot to contribute, though. At 6’1″, he has the size some teams covet at the cornerback position. He would do well with a team that relies heavily on zone coverage, which would allow him to keep things in front of him.”

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What has Led Up to Stribling’s 2022 Dominance

The USFL has given Stribling the opportunity to headline his skills. But it hasn’t been an easy journey.

Stribling was a cornerback prospect out of Michigan and posted six interceptions and 15 passes defended in his final two seasons at college. In 2017, he went undrafted and was signed to the Cleveland Browns practice squad. He would then bounce around with three other NFL franchises, including twice with the Indianapolis Colts.

After his stints with the NFL, Stribling found opportunities in the AAF, CFL, and XFL. He’s flashed the most potential in the USFL with the Stars, who selected him in the eighth round of the USFL’s inaugural 2022 draft.

He isn’t known for his speed as any football team, especially in the NFL, knows about Stribling’s 4.6-second 40-yard dash.

But having the ball tracking skills — with his 11 pass deflections in seven games with the Stars— could help Stribling find a home with a professional NFL team.

Cardinals Will Look for CB Talent

A week after the devastating death of Jeff Gladney on Memorial Day morning, head coach Kliff Kingsbury acknowledged that they’re looking for cornerback help.

“That’s a tragic situation and we understand that, but we’re always trying to improve our roster,” Kingsbury said on June 7. “And that’s a position that we’d like to bring in a few more veteran players that we could before training camp, and so we’ll see what’s out there in the next couple of weeks.”

The Cardinals did sign former-second round cornerback Josh Jackson on June 16. But there’s room to make more moves.

Gladney signed a two-year deal and was in line to start. With Byron Murphy Jr. and second-year Marco Wilson as the Cardinals’ top two corners, their defensive back group needs more depth and talent. Breon Borders, Jace Whittaker, Antonio Hamilton, Nate Brooks, rookie Christian Matthew and Jackson are the remaining corners.

The Cardinals will likely look at players that have the most recent NFL experience, including Robert Alford, who was on the Cardinals in 2021. Stribling hasn’t been on an NFL roster since 2018.

But any avenue should be considered and the Cards have the ability to do their due diligence in looking at USFL talent.

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