NFL cut day has come and gone and the XFL is meeting to discuss the available players. There are plenty of players the league will try to snatch up for their draft to add to an already fairly impressive group committed to the XFL draft pool. Surely, some may even be looked to be signed as tier 1 players as soon as they can be locked up. This is a big few weeks for the XFL as the players they get will say a lot for the quality and reputation of the league heading into the season.
There are over 1,000 players currently out there looking for work. Many will get back to the NFL and I will omit these guys from my list as it is pointless to continue to bander about names of guys who are going to clearly find work in the league (an example would be LeSean McCoy type who already signed with another NFL team). Here are some names I think can make a big difference in the league.
Tyree Jackson QB. If you do not know him, you should. A 21-year-old from the University at Buffalo he stands an imposing 6’7” and 249 lbs He has been one of the best dual-threat QBs in all college football since 2016 where he started the last 3 seasons. Like most young QBs hos accuracy is called into question, but his size and speed makes him a weapon with skills you cannot teach. As a 3 year starter in college, he has shown to be very durable as well. He had at least one season with over 60% completion percentage in college and looked good for The NFL Bills who had him in training camp. Guys like this should not be sitting on scout teams, He needs to play and he is ready to lead a professional team now.
Jake Carlock DB/LB/LS. Carlock had one of the more impressive pick 6 plays of the preseason for the New York Giants against the Jets and despite his consistent showing, this Division 2 product from Long Island University/Post Campus could not make the roster. Undoubtedly, this cut has as much to do with where he came from more than his talent. He displays natural ball skills that always put him in a position to make a play. He is someone worth looking at.
Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi WR. The story of Sheet-Giuseppi is made for a movie. He was homeless and sleeping outside the practice facility and talked his way into a tryout. He ended up in pre-season camp. His feel-good story ended with his release from the Cleveland Browns. How good a story would it be if the XFL provided him a chance to end this story on a much better note? A former Juco player who never went to a 4-year school, he was an All-American who was able to return kicks as well. In 2016 he lead all Juco within TD and kicks return yardage showing his talent is real. How good would it look for the league to give him a shot in real games and he turned into a star?
Terry Beckner DT. Beckner is a large man at 6’4” and 305 lbs and only 22 years of age. He was a 7th round pick of the Tampa Bay, but could not get on the Bucs final roster. An SEC product from Missouri who has battled leg injuries, he still possesses the pedigree and size to be a pro player. XFL should take a look at this former Under Armor All American as he should have a lot to prove.
Brian Hoyer QB. A long-time backup QB with only a couple of years starting since joining the NFL in 2009, he has been cut by New England and with a lot of competition out there now for backup QBs it is doubtful he can find an immediate spot. At 33, the vet may still feel the need to get out there and prove he can play at a high level. He would be a sure-fire tier 1 signing and a good off the field leader to have on the field.
Sam Bradford QB. The oft-injured QB looks like he blew his last chance with Arizona last year. Not signed yet he is waiting on the sidelines. Caught in a numbers game with the other available QBs Bradford has to realize his NFL starting prospects are probably over. As a tier 1 XFL player, he would have a chance to lead a team. Like Hoyer, he also has the type of clean-cut image and values the XFL seems to desire.
Jacquizz Rodgers RB. A career backup since 2011, the 29-year-old back is excellent for modern football. A threat out of the backfield and as a runner this may be his last chance to shin and can add experienced leadership to a pro team. The XFL would be a good destination to keep his career going.
Mike Pennel DL. Pennel has been a serviceable lineman, but could not stick in New England Pennel is one of many available Defensive Linemen right now and this may be the best and most deep position in terms of currently available players being cut by two teams in a year is a bit troubling, but he is still just 2 years removed from a 35 tackle season.
Blake Countess DB/KR Countess has not had many runs in the NFL and has been most of his time on practice squads. He did have 1 week where he was a Special teams player of the week with a couple of good returns and a blocked punt. At 26, and a highly-touted college and HS career this DB should have something to prove and is still in his prime.
Clearly, there are many other names out there and it would be exhaustive to go into all of them. Plenty has been written already about Cardale Jones, Geno Smith and Paxton Lynch that talking on these guys would seem redundant at this point and I am steering clear of them. The XFL has the chance to build something lasting and the players mentioned here should go a long way in helping the league’s level of play and future.