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Former XFL Players Now Excelling In The CFL

There are now 52 former XFL players currently on CFL rosters. As week 12 of the CFL season approaches, several former XFL players have become standouts as rookies north of the border.

Former Houston Roughnecks CB Deatrick Nichols with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

In Week 11, 19 former XFL players were in the starting lineup for CFL teams. Some, like Dexter McCoil (Toronto) and Jameer Thurman (Calgary), have previous experience in Canada. So their high level of play is not surprising.

However, players like former LA Wildcats defensive linemen Shawn Oakman (Toronto Argonauts) and Houston Roughnecks CB Deatrick Nichols (Winnipeg Blue Bombers) have been standouts playing in Canada for the first time. Oakman is second in the CFL in sacks with six. Nichols has three interceptions and has been one of the league’s best defensive backs.

They are not alone either. Nyles Morgan, the former Viper, leads Edmonton in tackles. Former Dallas Renegade Cameron Artis-Payne has paced Montreal in rushing the last two weeks in place of star tailback William Stanback. Roughnecks RB James Butler has taken over as the BC Lions starter.

Tampa Bay Vipers QB Taylor Cornelius has taken the reins on the pivot for the Edmonton Elks under his former offensive coordinator in the XFL, Jamie Elizondo.

Another former Viper, Ryan Davis, is the Ottawa Redblacks leading receiver this season. (46-511-2tds) Dallas WR Steven Dunbar is third in receiving with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The East-leading Toronto Argonauts have five former XFL players in their starting lineup. Dejon Allen (BattleHawks) has started all nine of the Argos’ games at left tackle. An impressive transition for Allen adjusting to the CFL’s scrimmage rules. Dallas Renegades CB Treston Decoud has also started all of Toronto’s games in their secondary and has been one of their best players on the boundary.

It’s never easy making the transition from the pro and college game in the United States to the CFL game. Particularly for American rookies. The number of players excelling and playing well in the CFL is a testament to the quality of the XFL in 2020. The league also has 29 former XFL players currently on NFL rosters.

As my late great friend and fellow colleague, Josh Davis always attested. The existence of all these leagues helps service one another.

Here is a full list of the XFL players on each CFL roster.

50 Former XFL Players On CFL Rosters

BC Lions- RB, James Butler, DE, Obum Gwacham, OT, Kent Perkins

Calgary Stampeders- LB, Jameer Thurman, DL, Jarrell Owens, DB, Marcellis Branch, OL, Jordan Morgan, WR, Dan Williams, WR, Nick Holley

Edmonton Elks- LB, Nyles Morgan, QB, Taylor Cornelius, WR, Jalen Tolliver, WR, Armanti Edwards, DL, Andrew Ankrah, OT, Deondre Wesley

Saskatchewan Roughriders- LB, Demarquis Gates, DB, AJ Hendy, DB, Jeremy Clark

Winnipeg Blue Bombers- DB, Deatrick Nichols, DT, Casey Sayles, WR, Carlton Agudosi, DB, David Rivers, DT, Ricky Walker, K, Sergio Castillo

Hamilton Tiger-Cats- WR, Steven Dunbar, DB, Channing Stribling, OL, John Yarbrough, DB, Anthoula Kelly Jr, DB, Des Lawrence

Montreal Alouettes- RB, Cameron Artis Payne, LB, Tre Watson, DB, Wesley Sutton, DB, Jermaine Ponder, WR, Rashad Ross, OL, Nick Callender

Ottawa REDBLACKS- QB, Taryn Christion, WR, Ryan Davis, WR, Jordan Smallwood, OL, Juwan Bushell-Beatty, OL, Na’Ty Rodgers, WR, Alonso Russell, DB, Ranthony Texada 

Toronto Argonauts- DL, Shawn Oakman, DL, Kony Ealy, OT, Dejon Allen, DB, Treston Decoud, WR, Daniel Braverman, LB, Dexter McCoil, DL, Dewayne Hendrix, WR, Cam Phillips, OT, Martez Ivey, CB, Jalen Collins

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I am a pro football writer who has extensively covered and reported on multiple leagues over the years. I started covering the XFL back in 2001. You can follow me on Twitter @byMikeMitchell

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