One of the most exciting aspects of the XFL’s inaugural season is that new stars will rise out of anonymity and forge names for themselves on the field. However, there is a solid core of players that fans will remember from their college days and the NFL.
QB Cardale Jones – D.C. Defenders
Cardale Jones’ place in College Football History is secure after he came off the bench and won a National Championship at Ohio State. He stayed another year and put up good numbers while competing with J.T. Barrett and…Joe Burrow for the starting gig.
He ended up getting drafted by the Bills in the 4th round, and after stints backing up Pro Bowlers Tyrod Taylor, Phillip Rivers and Russell Wilson, he’s chomping at the bit, ready to see some action.
EDGE Kony Ealy – Houston Roughnecks
He was a 2nd round draft pick with the Carolina Panthers, and in a few years of action made a serious impact as a pass rusher.
In the Panthers’ loss to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50, Ealy put up a valiant effort, and was the first player in Super Bowl history to make multiple sacks (3), pick off an interception and force a fumble.
He was eventually traded to New England for a 2nd rounder, and spent time with the Jets, Cowboys and Raiders in the past couple years before finding his way to Houston.
RB Christine Michael – St. Louis BattleHawks
He’s the most accomplished rusher in the XFL, and Christine Michael has over a thousand yards rushing to his name in the NFL. He won a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013, and was a productive component of their offense throughout the years behind Marshawn Lynch.
He always stepped up to the plate when they called his number, and at just 29 with limited mileage, he’s set to make a big impact in St. Louis.
QB Landry Jones – Dallas Renegades
After a prolific 4 year run as Oklahoma’s starter where he led the team to 3 straight Bowl Game wins, Jones has reunited with former Sooners Coach Bob Stoops in Dallas. A 4th round draft pick by the Steelers, he started a handful of games behind Ben Roethlisberger.
In limited action he was a highly efficient passer, and went 3-2 as a starter. ESPN has already declared him to be the Face of the XFL. As a seasoned vet a big arm, experience in his offense and a great supporting cast, its not hard to see why.
WR Sammie Coates – Houston Roughnecks
Sammie Coates had some good years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and had to scrap for every minute of playing time vs big names like Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant and fellow XFL reciever Eli Rogers.
He has all the measureables a couch could want, but on tape he can kick into another gear where he’s damn hard to stop. Look for him in the end zone a lot this year.
WR Eli Rogers – D.C. Defenders
Another competitor hailing from the same WR corps as Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers brings a fantastic slot option to Pep Hamilton’s offense. He’s a crisp route runner with soft hands, and I wouldn’t be suprised if he became one of Cardale Jones’ favorite targets.
QB Josh Johnson – Los Angeles Wildcats
He’s the XFL’s most experienced starter in terms of seasons played, and the 33 year old is still a coveted passer. He was the first overall pick in the AAF’s draft a ways back, but ended up back in the NFL this past offseason.
He was with the Lions to start 2019, was cut after the preseason and wooed back to the team when Matt Stafford went down. The XFL blocked this transaction, and is holding onto his talents til the end of the season.
Johnson offers a high football IQ, accuracy, a strong arm and dual threat potential, even at 33. He’s scored both pass and rush TD’s in 3 out of the last 4 NFL preseasons. Wildcats got a gamer here.
DL Shawn Oakman – Los Angeles Wildcats
Oakman is a hulk of a man at 6’9″ 280, and understandably found internet stardom for the above picture. He was cut from the Wildcats earlier in Camp, but is back with the team.
He’s been inconsistent at times but when he’s on, he’s damn hard to stop.
QB Matt McGloin – New York Guardians
Walked on at Penn State and Started for the Raiders from 2013-2016
QB Aaron Murray – Tampa Bay Vipers
Was prolific at Georgia, leads the SEC Pass TD list ahead of Peyton and Eli Manning, and Matthew Stafford.
RB Cameron Artis Payne- Dallas Renegades
Had a stellar sophomore season at Auburn, produced for years behind Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey in Carolina.
RB Matt Jones – St. Louis BattleHawks
The 2nd part of St. Louis’ one two punch, Matt Jones had some great years as the Redskins power back. He’s only 26.
RB Andre Williams – Houston Roughnecks
Was a solid runner with the Giants and Chargers in the NFL. Has over 1000 yards and 8 TD’s to his name.
WR Rashad Ross – D.C. Defenders
The speedy vet made his bones as a returner in the NFL, and has scored on both punts and kicks. He’ll figure to be a deep threat for Cardale Jones.
WR/RET Damon Sheehy Guiseppi – New York Guardians
An inspiring story for all, DSG made his way from living on the streets to scoring on his first play in the NFL. Fans may remember his electric 86 yard TD return last year with the Browns.
He’s currently on the Reserve/Injured list but is looking sharp in his workouts
OT Isaiah Battle – Seattle Dragons
26 teams attended his personal pro day back in 2015, and he was graded as a 3rd round pick after playing at Clemson. He entered the supplemental draft instead, to spend more time with his newborn child, and was selected in the 5th by the Rams.
DE Devin Taylor – LA Wildcats
A 30 year old vet, he has 94 tackles, 15.0 sacks and 4 FF to his name with the Lions and Giants.
LB Steven Johnson – Seattle Dragons
Broncos fans might remember him as the guy who stuffed Jamaal Charles at the line back in 2013. He spent time as a rotational player in Denver, Tennesee, Pittsburgh and Baltimore
S Matt Elam – DC Defenders
A former 1st round pick, he was an impact defender his first two years, but his career in Baltimore fizzled out.
S Will Hill – St. Louis Battlehawks
He had some great years for the Giants and Ravens, and the 29 year old DB was last seen in the AAF.
K Nick Novak – LA Wildcats
The 38 year old kicker has been around football for a long time, and he’s rock solid. 82% FG rate.
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