With the XFL draft approaching in November, the league is hard at work looking for players. One league that has kind of set themselves apart in the arena football world is the Fan Control Football League. Several of their players have announced they’re attending the XFL Showcases in hopes of getting drafted.
While the FCF’s model provides promise in the arena football world, every football player ultimately wants to play outdoors. Until the arena game can offer more money or more clout, they simply will always play second fiddle to the outdoor game.
Maybe we see the FCF make the move to the outdoor game at some point, truly with their revolutionary version of fan interaction the possibilities are endless. Especially given the news that they will already be expanding their business model to basketball. With that being said let’s look at five of the best players the FCF has to offer to the XFL in 2023.
Cecil Cherry, Linebacker
The first player on this list HAS to be Season 2.0 Defensive Player of the Year. The man known as “Scary” Cherry, linebacker Cecil Cherry. Cherry has been a top player on the Spring Football circuit for years. But this year he took it to a new level.
He has traditionally played linebacker throughout his career. In season 2.0 he was asked to add to his repertoire. He at times was lined up as a hand in the dirt defensive end to aid the pass rush, or other times asked to run with the small speedy receivers the FCF seems to favor.
Scary Cherry aced every test. Honestly, I think the only league that is a threat to sign Cherry outside of the XFL is the NFL. At 6’0 240 lbs, after leading the FCF in tackles, and making it known that Ray Lewis is his god father along the way with his play.
He rejoined the FCF late this offseason holding out hope of higher offers from bigger leagues but they left him on the back burner. That was before he played in all three levels of the defense in Season 2.0, and showcased his versatility.
There was never any question about Cherry’s ability to play linebacker. In fact when you look at Cecil Cherry he just looks like he belongs as a Linebacker in the NFL. But the questions about him were if he had the ability to do anything outside of being a true thumper in the run game.
Qwan’tez Stiggers, Defensive Back
If Cherry is number 1 then there is no other choice at number 2. Stiggers is a ball-hawk. Snaring interceptions like the ball belonged to him. He ultimately led the league in turnovers forced and scored multiple times.
The young defensive back, who once looked to the FCF due to a lack of options in the transfer portal now is one of its biggest stars at only 20 years old. Honestly the XFL would be foolish if they didn’t send Stiggers and Cherry and invite rather than waiting to see if they would apply.
If you want the best players not currently in the NFL you had better include those two in your draft pool. The thing with Stiggers that makes him so valuable to any league he is in is his age. This guy was second in defensive player of the year voting at 20 years old.
This is a player you can develop and keep in the XFL as a potential star on defense for years to come unless the NFL came calling. It would be interesting to see him on the teams coached by Rod Woodson, or Terrell Buckley.
“Slick” Nick Williams, Defensive End/Tight End
Nick Williams was named as a candidate for lineman of the year for good reason. When polling many players across the FCF a name kept coming up. Slick Nick..
Offensive linemen respect and borderline fear facing him. Fans and teammates love him, and the league can’t get enough Slick Nick either.
However fans of the FCF may have to watch the XFL in 2023 to see this fan favorite play. It’s looking more and more like the best FCF players could make up a decent chunk of the XFL rosters when it comes to November’s draft.
Slick Nick is one of the more established players in the FCF, and this should pay off with an XFL roster spot in 2023. His college career shows just dominant he can be. During his time at Arkansas Pine Bluff Williams played defensive end and tight end showing his athletic ability in the process.
This in turn helped him play both ways in 2017 on his way to 6 tackles, 3 for a loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 3 receptions for 47 yards as well. The Arkansas native is a big name on the open market and the XFL better hurry up and invite him before another Spring Football League with a team based in his home state might pounce.
Mike Lee, Defensive Back
Defensive back Mike Lee another member of the heavy hitters Defense, is simply too good to ignore for this list. As much as I didn’t want to include three players from the same defense of unit there’s simply was no way that I could leave Lee off this list.
Lee showed his appreciation for the FCF and his contract by being arguably the second best DB in the league behind only teammate Stiggers. Lee is a 24 year old hailing from New Orleans. He attended Kansas University where he starred at cornerback.
The 5’10 180 pound defensive back showed his value logging 41 tackles, and 5 interceptions through just 7 games. Considering Stiggers snared 5 interceptions as well. Ten interceptions from a CB tandem in just 7 games is unheard of. I honestly wouldn’t be scared as an XFL team to draft both of these man to my defense and trot them out as day 1 starters. I’m looking at you Terrell Buckley, and Rod Woodson!
Jim Jones, Linebacker
The final man on this list is none other than linebacker Jim Jones. Jones may have played second fiddle to Cherry in season 2.0 but there is no shame in that. If Cecil Cherry is Ray Lewis, Jones might be Derrick Brooks. At 6’2 225 lbs the smaller, speedier Jones is a prototypical WILL at the NFL level.
He can run with backs and tight ends, drop into zone coverage, set the edge in the run game, or serve as a QB spy with more mobile quarterbacks. Jones is an asset to any defense running a 4-3 or 3-4.
(Whoops wrong Jim Jones)
In a traditional 3-4 defense Jones would kick inside and play a MIKE position allowing him to flow sideline to sideline. I could see him joining a squad like St. Louis where Anthony Becht knows how valuable a quick coverage first linebacker is.
The 26 year old managed 34 tackles, 7 for a loss, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions and 23 return yards. Jones is kind of a hybrid safety/linebacker in the XFL. He can play that river position, or even serve as an extra safety in the red zone. Either way a team is going to see what he offers and bring him in on draft day.
These Five and More Should Be Drafted
These five guys I listed have a few things in common. They stood out from the pack at their position. They’re young, up and coming players not guys on the back nine of their careers, scheme versatility is key at the next level which all of these players display. With this mixture of youth, performance and versatility how could you not build your defense around one or more of these FCF stars?
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