It’s easy from an armchair to say this guy and that guy should be in the XFL, USFL, or CFL, but it’s much harder to do so while being realistic. In this useless piece of speculation I’ll attempt to make a list compiled of young players that you may or may not be familiar with, as well as break out a few retread names that seem to cling on to the fringe of the pro level each year. The XFL has one definite good/great thing going for it in that, every player the NFL teams decide to cut and passes through waivers becomes XFL draft eligible.
How this draft eligibility works out is to be determined as some players may simply turn down the offer to play in the spring, as they hope to receive a call from the NFL. Also there may or may not be a loophole with USFL players. As of now all players that previously signed on with the USFL did so on a two year deal that only allows them to leave if the NFL comes calling. It’s to be seen whether an NFL team who offers a USFL player a shot at camp that doesn’t make the final roster, or practice squad is no longer obligated to complete his contract with the USFL. If I were to be a guessing man, I’d assume the moment said player decides to take the offer of the NFL team’s camp, his USFL contract is voided, but I don’t write these deals so that is just a guess.
We know the XFL hosted showcase/combines in both Hawaii and at Jackson State so one can easily assume we should expect a good chunk of talent to come out of both HBCUs as well as the pacific. We know they hosted the other showcases in Arizona (Pac 12/Mountain West), Texas (SEC/Big12/CUSA), Florida (AAC/ACC/SEC/Sunbelt), and DC (ACC/BIGTEN/Mid-American). Between the six locations they should have all the bases covered for adequate reach in the scouting department. Finding what diamonds are in all those roughs is another story, but I’ll attempt to reach for the low lying fruit.
At 6’7″ 250 with arm strength and some mobility. Somebody has to coach this guy up. June Jones in Seattle maybe? Either way he was an early cut with a lot of raw talent. He may have to move to tight end or become a Taysom Hill type player to get on the field.
Mark’s nephew. Hasn’t set the world on fire just yet, but I never give up hope on legacy names.
See Brett above. Currently in the CFL but if he doesn’t stay north of the 49th, I’d expect to see him at an XFL camp.
Guy threw for ridiculous yards under Mike Leach’s bombs away offense. Like… ridiculous. Perhaps playing against talent more to his level will elevate him.
Decent college player and former TSL (The Spring League) MVP. Not currently under contract with anyone. Should at least be a part of the draft pool.
Two years ago the hopes were probably higher for King. Last season was a bit of a late college career slump. He’s a little guy so he suffers from the same thing Malcom Perry does. He may have to move to receiver.
Another early cut this summer. Fine player out of Elon College but we all know, the NFL ain’t college. He’d be serviceable in a spring league.
I wouldn’t have put him on this list but the quarterback room is getting a bit crowded in Carolina. He’d likely not pass through waivers if cut, and if he did he’d probably take practice squad money to stay in the NFL. The only scenario I can see him in the XFL is if they match or beat NFL PS money to reunite him with June Jones, but with the partnership between the two leagues in place, I’m not sure the XFL would step on daddy’s toes like that.
Guy just seems born for spring ball. He’s not an NFL quarterback and I’d imagine he’d appreciate the steady work.
Another guy young enough to try and develop in the spring. Spent a couple seasons on the pine in Jacksonville, how’s Orlando sound?
Not sure he makes the 53 plus practice squad in Pittsburgh. His brother recently re signed with the team as a safety but his brother is a better player too.
Part of a hell of a backfield at Ohio State as a change of pace guy. He’s got the look, but like Edmunds he suffers from being in a camp with a lot of talent at his same position.
He may not crack the 53 in Tennessee but the former FCS standout will likely be kept on ice via the practice squad in case Derrick Henry goes down again. (which is likely) In that case we can forget about him in the XFL.
Hamburg Sea Devils and European Football League leading rusher. He’s from Great Britain (Southern England). Smart, tough, and would be an immediate favorite in the UK.
Son of “Iron Head” Craig Heyward. That alone gets him a free sandwich at my house.
Some of you might recognize that last name… who wouldn’t want a Gronk in their league. Might also be a good way to have Rob join the booth for XFL games. Or as an investor?
Another legacy name. If the Steelers let him go, it’s a no brainer for the XFL.
Recently cut by the Giants in their route to 85. Might be one of those players that can play some tight end and maybe defensive end, and or linebacker. Very versatile at Oklahoma.
Currently on the practice squad for the Toronto Argonauts. Kid’s a DC area native so I just hope he comes home. Honestly he should IMO still be on the Redskins/Football Team/Commanders roster.
Ricky’s son. ‘Nuff said. Sign him up. I’d bet the Battlehawks’ coach, Anthony Becht is probably already familiar with the kid.
Speed, size, decent hands… just not quite NFL ready.
Dres “Flipper” Anderson
Yes that’s the same son of “Flipper Anderson“.
Brother of Eric Berry who’s career was cut short due to health issues. Let’s keep the bloodline in the game.
Calvin’s brother. Let’s hope he doesn’t gamble and or need time off for “mental health”.
Son of Don. He’s bounced around some practice squads but he’d start in the XFL.
Similar to Isaiah Coulter. He’s got almost all the tools. Just needs a steady job.
Was the first overall pick in the XFL draft by the DC Defenders, but got an offer from the NFL and took it. Recently part of the latest round of cuts. I smell the DC Defenders drafting him again.
Another guy currently shredding the stat sheets in Europe. Leading receiver for the Barcelona Dragons via Washington State. Seattle could use you son. Dany and Dwayne have already stated they’d like to have a global footprint. These are the baby steps toward getting that done.
Son of Randy. Fabulous player at LSU, but can’t seem to get on the field in the NFL.
Big boy from Missouri. The league is going to need some security blankets with all the mediocre quarterbacks they’re signing. He’d be a decent one at that level.
Like father, like son hopefully. He’s played tight end, defensive end, guard, and tackle. He’s everything a spring league needs in a player.
6’5″ 320. Guard or tackle. He’s born and raised in football country Florida where not much else matters.
First off he played at Alabama. Secondly he played every position across the line. Recently let go by the Steelers, but the fact that they wanted to take a look says something. Time spent with Saban and Tomlin has to earn you some sort of street cred in football knowledge no?
All MEAC, All SWAC, South Florida guy. Plug and play.
Smart kid from Indiana. Cut from the Bucs this week. Bit of an uphill battle trying to make that rotation. A year in a spring league might elevate him.
Country buff Texas kid. He’s been a part of a couple camps now and just isn’t quite there. Perhaps Bob Stoops can shape him up.
6’6″ 320. 3.9 GPA in college. Recently let go by the Titans. Played at Texas A&M so he’s been in some barn burners.
Lorenzo Neal Jr
His name says it all. The knock on him is his speed and agility, but the XFL doesn’t need him to be Christian Barmore… they need him to be Lorenzo Neal Jr.
Bryon Cox Jr
His name also says it all. Echo everything about Neal mentioned above. Same situation.
EFL defensive player of the year and back to back sack leader. He’s from Decatur, Georgia… towns don’t get much more football oriented than they are.
Yet another legacy name. He’s had a few shots in the NFL, and no he’s not his father, but he can contribute at age 28, and help the league have a few more familiar names to follow.
Jesus this guy is huge. 6’7″ 240 to be exact. Silver Spring MD kid. Whether its 4-3 defensive end or outside 3-4 linebacker, somebody needs to teach this kid how to be a monster.
His brother plays for the Broncos and another one played for the Saints. Walk on turned starter at Michigan.
The XFL just needs to lend this guy a hand already. Exactly the type of story the league needs. Slam dunk of a signing if they get him.
Verone McKinley III
First team All American, first team All Pac-12. Four year player at Oregon. Cut by the Dolphins recently.
Another ex Oregon Duck DB. If he didn’t opt out of the 2020 covid year he probably would’ve been better off for it. That seemed to have stagnated his development. I have a sneaky suspicion his best years are in front of him.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Look I’m not wasting my time talking about kickers and punters… google it. Here’s a few names though…
So… I don’t think any of these guy are unrealistic for the league at all. Some may be good enough to not need the XFL and others may not be as good as I think they are. Football is funny like that sometimes. They say when opportunity meets desire, shit gets done… sometimes yes, sometimes other circumstances intervene. Obviously I could make a huge database of every Tom, Dick, and Harry out of football work and this list could be three weeks long. After all, about 10,000 players become available every year via college, alternative pro leagues, international leagues, and walk ons from out of nowhere. Just wanted to throw some shit on the wall and see what sticks. It’ll be interesting to come back after the draft or the 2023 season and see how absolutely wrong I am. Until then, be it XFL, NFL, or any other league I hope all these guys find success.
For now I’ll pray I can get one right… maybe two… It’s A Football World, we’re all just passing through.
Feature photo: EssentiallySports