There’s no Terrell Owens, no Johnny Manziel (for now). And the plan to lure unemployed NFL quarterbacks away from the inevitable invitation to occupy a spot on a practice squad or bottom of a depth chart didn’t result in a mass exodus or anything close to it.
Still, plenty of former NFL players have a spot in the XFL draft pool, in advance of the October 15-16 rocket-fast, 90-seconds-per-pick process that will populate eight teams with 71 players each.
Here’s a quick sampling of names that jumped out while scrolling through the full list of players in the XFL draft pool: defensive end Kony Ealy, running back Trent Richardson, quarterback Tyree Jackson, quarterback Zach Mettenberger, running back Christine Michael, quarterback Connor Cook, running back Jonas Gray, kicker Roberto Aguayo, receiver Sammie Coates, quarterback Joe Callahan, long snapper Nate Boyer, receiver Ryan Broyles, running back Lance Dunbar, punter Jeff Locke, receiver Max McCaffrey, kicker Nick Novak, receiver Jacoby Ford, punter Brad Wing, running back Matt Jones, safety Rahim Moore, fullback Aaron Ripkowski, tight end Orson Charles, fullback Tommy Bohanon, tight end Clay Harbor, and tackle Cyrus Kouandijo.
There’s still no real star power in the XFL, but there definitely will be plenty of NFL talent on the field when the XFL returns after a 19-year absence. The challenge will be to develop stars, even if that means watching them go back to the XFL.