Top 15 offensive weapons in the ELF

Graphics: Igor Lazarevic

Defense can win championships, but offense sells the tickets.

We’re just a few weeks away from season two kickoff European Football League and if the burgeoning league is to continue growing, it must be fueled by star power. In its first year, the league had tremendous success with several marketable offensive stars and sent a handful to the USFL and CFL.

This year, the squads are packed with plenty of fresh faces, but the aim remains the same: get fans out of their seats both in the stadium and at home with explosive plays and viral highlights. An offense is only as good as the sum of its parts, but having a marquee playmaker or two certainly goes a long way in keeping your team competitive.

We’ve already ranked the league’s top quarterbacks, but here’s a look at the 15 most exciting offensive weapons for the sophomore year.

1. Jean Constant, WR, Hamburg monkfish

Constant, the ELF leader with 74 receptions for 1,038 yards last season, was downright electric with the ball in his hands. Trading the explosive chaos that was Barcelona’s offensive to Hamburg stability should serve him well as Stony Brook’s product is sure to be sent into space often to aid his inexperienced QB.

2. Joc Crawford, RB, Berlin Thunder

With 238 pounds of raw power, Crawford has rushed for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns on 156 carries over the past year, an average of 6.8 yards-per-carry surpassed only by Madre London. He should pose a threat to a much-improved Berlin squad and also brings surprising mismatch skills as a receiver.

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3. Weston Carr, WR, Vienna Vikings

No receiver in the GFL averaged more yards per game last year than the 131.8 carr achieved with Kiel. While his season stats of 62 receptions for 1,318 yards and 15 touchdowns were helped by a monster outing against eventual champion Monarchs — 355 yards and six touchdowns on 18 catches — it’s rare to find a player who has the ability to turn a game to take over in this respect.

4. Lamar Jordan II, WR, Hamburg Sea Devils

Truly a wild card, the 5-foot-4, 185-pound Jordan was a double-threat quarterback in New Mexico and rushed for 2,283 career yards and 14 touchdowns. He has been a receiver since he was signed by the Atlanta Falcons in 2018 and his 4.46 pace has allowed him to contribute in a variety of ways.

5. Malik Stanley, WR, Wroclaw Panther

The departure of Kavontae Turpin denied the Panthers a chance for a full season with an under-sparked offensive plug, but Stanley offers them something completely different and is a better fit for quarterback Justice Hansen. Louisiana Tech’s powerful target put up 649 yards and three touchdowns on 40 catches as a senior and should be a matchup nightmare on an offense likely to spark a whole lot.

6. Kyle Sweet, WR, Barcelona Dragons

The Dragons were in dire need of a new number one receiver this year, and Sweet should fill the bill. Though he was never a star, he put up 139 receptions for 1,454 yards and five touchdowns in four seasons as a reliable slot for Washington State and also served as the team’s punter at stretches.

7. Robin Wilzeck, WR, Berlin Thunder

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The Berlin Thunder finally have a competent quarterback to throw the deep ball, and they’ve brought in one of Europe’s finest young guns to take the lead from him. Wilzeck was a crucial part of Dresden’s GFL title last year with 42 catches for 961 yards and 13 touchdowns, and the German still hasn’t lived up to his potential.

8th. Przemyslaw Banat, WR, Wroclaw Panthers

Mazan may have started out as the Panthers’ best pass catcher, but down the stretch it was Banat who posed the big threat. With a big-armed quarterback in his corner, he should match the 901 yards and nine touchdowns he put on with 61 catches last year.

9. Adria Botella Moreno, TE, Vienna Vikings

I don’t expect Europe’s best tight end to be as prolific in Austria as he was as the driving force behind the Hamburg offense, but there’s nobody in the ELF like him. Good luck finding another big body who can rack up 59 catches for 750 yards and six points on the continent, let alone one with a Euro pass.

10. Tre King, RB, Cologne Centurions

The loss of ELF MVP Madre London hurts the Centurions but King should ensure they remain one of the league’s best attackers. Texas Tech’s product is slower and smaller than its predecessor, but rushed for 623 yards and five touchdowns in its best NCAA season.

11. Nathaniel Robaille, WR, Rheinfeuer

After spending the last few seasons as a dominant two-way player in Finland, Robitaille’s return to Germany is one of the most underrated stories of this ELF season. He may be nearing 30, but the Stonehill College product tallyed up a paltry 3,597 receiving yards and 53 touchdowns with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns from 2017-19 while also being a dangerous returnee.

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12. Jakub Mazan, WR, Wroclaw Panther

It is argued that non-German ELF teams are at a disadvantage due to limited domestic talent supply, but they obviously failed to hit the Panthers’ Polish pass catchers. No one saw Mazan as a star in 2021, but he went as the ELF’s third-best receiver after catching 56 passes for 832 yards and six touchdowns.

13. Timothy Knuettel, WR, Rhein Fire

Knuettel will now command the outside for a new team, but the result should be similar for the ELF leader in receiving touchdowns last season. The Seton Hill product should be something of a safety net for new quarterback Matt Adams after he had 51 catches for 701 yards and 12 scores last year.

14. Quinten Pounds, WR, Cologne Centurions

Though Pounds was rarely the true center of the Centurions’ run-heavy offense, he managed 44 receptions for 669 yards and 8 touchdowns last season. The former University of Washington pass catcher could be higher on this list if his big play skills are allowed to really shine.

15. Anthony Dable-Wolf, WR, Leipzig Kings

The former NFL wide receiver may be closer to the end of his career than he was to the beginning, but he’s still a mismatch nightmare in the red zone. After catching 43 passes for 532 yards and four touchdowns in a loaded receiving corps last year, the Frenchman will be the veteran leader of a younger group this season.

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