The XFL Draft has come and gone with hardly evening making a dent in the sports world, or so it seems. In fact, it seemed as though Vince McMahon and the WWE Draft had more mainstream coverage on Fox television than the XFL received.
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw all made an appearance during the recent event in which wrestlers were selected to perform on either Raw or Smackdown. Unfortunately for football fans, Fox along with ABC and ESPN seemed to look past a great opportunity for fans to be invested in the relaunching of the league.
For those unfamiliar to the names to watch in the upcoming season, there will be no “He Hate Me” on the back of jerseys, but there are plenty of players worth checking out. Out of the most recognizable names, Landry Jones, Cardale Jones and Christine Michael were all selected in the first five tiers of the XFL Draft.
With 568 players drafted by the eight first year teams to fill out their 71-training camp player roster, there were still a number of notable players who went undrafted. For players who are either looking to get back into the big league or trying to hold onto a professional dream, the fact that they were not selected could be an eye opener.
Former NFL, CFL and AAF running back Trent Richardson was one of the biggest surprises on draft day. A two-time BCS National Champion, Richardson was the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and was projected to be an impact player for the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately, Richardson would only see action in 46 games during his time in the NFL.
Kendall Wright spent six years in the NFL, five with the Tennessee Titans and one with the Chicago Bears. The twentieth pick from the 2012 draft once recorded nearly 1,100 (1,079) yards and just short of 100 (94) receptions in his second season in the league.
Even with a successful showing in NFL Super Bowl 50 as part of his resume, defensive end Kony Ealy could not impress any of the eight XFL teams enough to select him. For three years following his appearance in the NFL championship game, Ealy made stops in New England, New York (Jets), Dallas and Oakland before currently finding himself as a free agent.
While their names were not part of the XFL Draft eligibility list, do not be surprised if prior to the start of the season that somehow either Johnny Manziel or Colin Kaepernick find their way onto an XFL roster.
Judging by Kaepernick’s request for a $20 million deal to join the former Alliance of American Football league, it seems far-fetched that the former San Francisco 49er’s quarterback would be content with an XFL deal. As for Manziel, the much travelled, much troubled former star quarterback would be a great character fit in the former XFL league.
However, it remains to be seen whether any team is willing to take a chance on signing a player who they would have to worry about off field and locker room antics or not he is still interested in playing football.
With the XFL Supplemental Draft scheduled to take place near the end of November, there is a second chance that some of these notable names could make their way onto the tryout roster of one of the eight teams in the league.
For the league to succeed, Vince McMahon will have to hope that some NFL talent that has been released this season is looking for a place to show their talents in hopes of signing a contract next season. In 2001, McMahon looked to shock value to highlight his venture into professional sports. In order for the revamped league to last longer than a single season, he will have to rely on talent.
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