A very significant and important event was lost (or ignored?) in the news cycle at the end of the week thanks to the drama surrounding the injury to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The XFL became more than a league. It became more than a bunch of team names and head coaches.
It became real – because the league drafted players.
The XFL held its draft, a 71-round affair, via conference call Wednesday and Thursday starting with the allocation of eight quarterbacks. Some of the faces will be ones football fans will know; many of them will not be. But there is one thing that is for sure.
The XFL is back.
Some Guys You’ve Actually Heard Of
Fans are going to need to Google most of the guys that make the final rosters, but there will be a handful of faces that fans will recognize. Not many, of course, because all of the really good football players will be on NFL rosters. But there will be a few.
The quarterbacks allocated to the XFL’s eight teams were Landry Jones (Dallas), Cardale Jones (Washington DC), Luis Perez (Los Angeles), Matt McGloin (New York), Jordan Ta’amu (St. Louis), Brandon Silvers (Seattle) and Aaron Murray (Tampa Bay).
Why these guys and not some of the other quarterbacks in the pool? Who knows, but there is a fair amount of NFL experience in the bunch and a couple of AAF standouts.
The following guys are some of the more recognizable names drafted into the league:
- Connor Cook, quarterback, Houston Roughnecks
- Christine Michael, running back, St. Louis Battlehawks
- Trey Williams, running back, Seattle Dragons
- Sammie Coats, wide receiver, Houston Roughnecks
- Cameron Artis-Payne, running back, Dallas Renegades
- De’ Morney Pierson-El, wide receiver, St. Louis Battlehawks
- Quinton Flowers, running back, Tampa Bay
- Keenan Reynolds, wide receiver, Seattle Dragons
- KD Cannon, wide receiver, Los Angeles
- Donnel Pumphrey, running back, DC Defenders
- Kony Ealy defensive end, Houston Roughnecks
- Joe Callahan, quarterback, Seattle Dragons
- Shawn Oakman, defensive end, Los Angeles
There are other guys with NFL experience and some that were really good in college. But they were not exactly household names.
Guys We Thought Would Get Drafted—But Didn’t
We already knew that Colin Kaepernick would not be in the draft pool. Surprisingly, Johnny Manziel wasn’t even part of the pool even though he had expressed a desire to play. But there were several guys many expected to get drafted that were not:
- Trent Richardson, running back
- Zach Mettenberger, quarterback
- Roberto Aguayo, kicker
- Kendall Wright, wide receiver
- Fred Davis, tight end
- Jacoby Ford, wide receiver
- Jonas Gray, running back
- Akeem Hunt, running back
At this point, guys, if you didn’t finish your degree, it may be time to go back to school and do so. Having a ‘former professional football player’ on your resume will not qualify you for too many jobs.
Who’s Going to Win It All?
At this point, it is too early to tell. But since when does that stop us from making a prediction? There is no way of knowing who is going to make the final cut of any roster or who could be brought in as a free agent. Plus, many of these guys are largely unknown, and they have yet to practice together. So, it is hard to say just how good any team is going to play.
That being said, the Houston Roughnecks and Dallas Renegades have the most impressive collection of offensive skill position players. With Bob Stoops acquiring one of his former quarterbacks at Oklahoma, chances are his offense is going to get on track before anyone else.
But with so many unknowns about every team still, that is just an educated guess.