Though Cam Phillips, unfortunately, didn’t catch on in Carolina, and could quite possibly return to his throne as the XFL’s top wideout, teams will inevitably be looking to find the next big thing.
We’re all hoping to see familiar faces back next year, as many as possible but there are a lot of talented guys on the market that the XFL would be wise to woo. Finding good targets will go a long way to elevating the level of play here, and while we saw many emerging stars last season, the hunt for more talent is neverending.
Charles Johnson is exactly the kind of player who thrives in the XFL. A former 7th round pick, he’s bounced around his share of practice squads, but absolutely shines every time he’s on the field. He cut his teeth in Minnesota after earning his way into the lineup, and caught 60 passes for 834 yards and 2 scores in his time there.
After stints with the Jets and Panthers, he ended up in the AAF, where he was far and away the best target on the field. With the Orlando Apollos, he had 45 receptions for 687 yards and 5 scores in Steve Spurrier’s offense. e dominated, and earned himself a job with the Philadelphia Eagles. However, the injury bug struck and he found himself off the team with an ankle issue.
At 31, he still has game left in the tank as we saw in the spring of 2019. At 6’2″ with breakaway speed, he has the tools and the experience that XFL coaches would best put to use. Plus, with the recent Spurrier rumblings, I’m left wondering if a reunion is in the cards.
The former Oregon star was highly productive in his time with the Ducks, and landed a couple stints in the NFL with the Broncos and Bears. The 26 year old really found his bearing in the CFL however, and exploded given the opportunity last year with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
He had 95 Receptions for 1236 Yards and 7 Scores, good for 5th in receiving leaguewide, and also added 218 yards and a score on the ground.
While NFL scouts bemoaned his measurables, he has proven himself to be a tough, shifty target who excels out of the slot. He has great body control, quick feet and while he may not be the type of player to beat teams on the perimeter, he’s deadly across the middle.
He signed a futures contract with the Minnesota Vikings last January, but now finds himself looking for a team. With NFL rosters set, and the CFL out of operation, we all know of a good place he could end up.
Ohio State fans will remember his electric playmaking ability as a passer, rusher and eventually as a receiver after JT Barrett and Cardale Jones took over at QB.
He had most of his success in college as a dual threat QB, and would produce ~2,000 pass yards and ~1000 rush yards in both his seasons as a starter. After moving to WR, he still did well, going for over 300 yards and 3 TD’s in his first year at the new position.
The Texans drafted him in the 3rd in 2016, and he did some good things on the field there, catching 31 balls for 261 yards and 2 scores. However, he never really broke out and was overshadowed by household names DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V.
The Eagles, Browns and Panthers have all taken interest in him, and he has spent time with each, but at just 27 years old it looks as if NFL opportunities are hard to come by for the promising target.
He’s just one heck of an athlete, and while it’s an unfortunate trope to move physically talented QB’s to skill positions, he could do very well in the XFL.
Especially if a brave playcaller decides to start capitalizing on the double forward pass rules.
QB/WR Terrelle Pryor
The former Ohio State star QB started 10 games under center for the Oakland Raiders, but really found his stride as a WR with the Browns. In 2016, he caught 77 passes for 1007 yards, despite the team going 1-15.
In 2017 and 2018, he had decent production with Washington, Buffalo and the New York Jets, but sat out 2019 and is likely looking for a way back in.
Whether a coaching staff views him as a competitor at QB, WR or just a general weapon, he offers a ton of value for any offense at age 31 in 2021. He’s 6’5″ and 240 pounds, and with top end speed could be an insane slot target, much like where we saw Donald Parham dominate the league from.
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