Coast to Coast: Ross Traded to LA
It’s official. A move that has been in the works for months finally hit the transaction wire on Friday with FB Derrick Ross and future considerations leaving the Philadelphia Soul for the Los Angeles KISS in exchange for MLB Beau Bell. Ross completed his league mandated exit physical Wednesday and has been aware of a trade to come since December. Ross will team up with Hall Of Fame fullback/linebacker Bob McMillen with the KISS.
Ross rushed for 487 yards last season with 36 touchdowns on 151 attempts. Ross started the season off against Arizona with six touchdowns, one of the best rushing performances of all-time. Ross signed in Philadelphia in 2012 after spending his first AFL season with the Dallas Vigilantes in 2011. This will be Ross’ first AFL season without Clint Dolezel as his offensive coordinator or head coach. Ross is first in the AFL record book for rushing touchdowns and yards in a career.
Ross has been a franchise player of the Soul along with Tiger Jones and Dan Raudabaugh since 2012. Ross joins Tiger Jones (Jacksonville), Rayshaun Kizer (Arizona), Brennen Carvalho (Arizona), V’Keon Lacy (Portland), Wayne Tribue (Jacksonville), Jason Holman (Jacksonville), and Calvin Fance (Orlando) to leave from the Soul after 2014. Ross is the only player to be traded, with all the others departing via free agency. Still free agents from 2014 are Christian Johnson, Bryan Robinson, Larico Stevenson, Emery Sammons, Markee White, and Brandon Perkins.
“We needed to get stronger on the defensive side of the ball, and Beau became available – we couldn’t pass it up,” said Dolezel. “You have to give up talent to get talent, but the previous addition of Tommy Taggart at fullback allowed us to make this move, which we felt was needed to improve us overall. We are excited to have Beau’s positive presence on and off the field and know that he will quickly become a fan favorite.”
“Ross was a great teammate,” said former Soul receiver and current Cleveland Gladiator Andrae Thurman. “It was a great move by both teams.”
McMillen and the KISS did not have much talent to work around last season, but with the addition of Ross, Thyron Lewis, Adrian McPherson, and Antron Dillon the team looks to be competitive out West. While they won’t match up to Arizona and San Jose, look for the KISS to take over Spokane’s role as the third seed in the National Conference. Ross will likely still receive many touches with a former fullback in McMillen at head coach, but could lose touches in a new offensive system.
Ross’ departure clears the way for former Pittsburgh Power fullback Tommy Taggart to start in 2015. Taggart, entering his fifth AFL season, rushed for 167 yards and 10 touchdowns last season on 67 attempts. Taggart will have to compete with open tryout signee Devin Brown and Justin Lawrence, a true nose guard but someone who has played fullback in the past. Dan Raudabaugh will likely increase his amount of touchdown passes in 2015 now that he will be attempting more passes in the red zone.
Bell will likely replace Brandon Perkins at the mac linebacker spot in 2015. Perkins is nearing the end of his career and has had a decrease in his statistics over the past few seasons. Bell is one of the league's elite mac linebackers and gives Philly the best linebacker core in the league with Joe Goosby at jack. Bell was second in sacks last season with 13, only behind James Ruffin of the Shock. Bell will likely be the most experienced pass rusher on what looks to be a young defensive front in 2015.
Robinson has stated he’s unsure of his future with Philadelphia, and Teddy Jennings and Padric Scott are both returning for just their second season. Jake Metz looks to be the favorite at the other end spot.