XFL Draft Instant Reactions & Analysis Part 1

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the XFL draft. Unlike the NFL Draft where people watch for some reason, the XFL draft happened mostly on Twitter and maybe a conference call.

The Draft was broken down into separate groups for: Offensive Skill Players, Offensive Lineman, Defensive Front Seven, Defensive Backs, and Dealer’s Choice. Teams were assigned QBs by the league, which spared us from having to watch teams hope that noted NFL washouts like Aaron Murray and Matt McGloin would fall to them.

Who will join the illustrious ranks of past XFL greats like Tommy Maddox, He Hate Me and …? Let’s find out! Our resident XFL Experts Jack Baker and Brandon Andreasen have the hottest XFL draft instant reactions and analysis.


Brandon – Cardale Jones, baby! But seriously, the XFL threw an odd wrinkle into their draft where, before the actual draft, each team had a quarterback assigned to them. It’s a proverbial “oh yea, that guy” of quarterbacking. It’s weird to think that Josh Johnson was going to be the marquee player of this league before participating in a couple abysmal late season games for the Redskins, and parlaying that into getting out of football purgatory. 

The DC Defenders were assigned Jones, the former Ohio State quarterback who is essentially a healthier Jamarcus Russell. Both have massive arms and can’t throw the ball where they need it to go if their lives depended on it.

Jack – Los Angeles Wildcats QB Luis Perez once played for the Los Angeles Rams practice squad, making him the only person with ties to Sean McVay who didn’t land an NFL head coaching job this past offseason. Good luck playing for the second most popular pro-football team in Los Angeles Luis!

Brandon – The Houston Roughnecks were assigned something called a Philip Walker out of football powerhouse Rutgers, then immediately burnt a first round pick on former Raiders quarterback (not the last time I’m going to say this, horrifyingly enough) Connor Cook. Assigned to the Guardians is, you guessed it, former Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin. McGloin was actually Cook’s backup for a playoff team in Oakland. Now they are both playing in the XFL of sports leagues.

Jack – As the old saying goes, if your team has two QBs, you have no QBs…same as the other XFL teams, because all these QBs are garbage.

The Seattle Dragons got QB Brandon Silvers whose claim to fame was backing up AAF superstars Christian Hackenberg, Johnny Manziel and Zach Mettenberger. My St. Louis Battlehawks got Jordan Ta’amu who is the only XFL QB to have no prior professional football experience. I don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Aaron Murray is the latest QB to mentored by former Chicago Bears Head Coach and current Tampa Bay Vipers Head Pedophile (probably?) Marc Trestman. Aaron’s brother Josh was once on The Bachelor, so the Vipers are probably hoping he summons some of that Aaron Rodgers-Bachelor to football crossover synergy.

Offensive Skill Players

Jack – If I hadn’t already publicly pledged my allegiance to the St. Louis Battlehawks, I’d be jumping on board the Dallas Renegades bandwagon as they took my favorite player in the whole draft: Tommylee Lewis. 1) he has the best name by far. 2) our NIU days overlapped 3) he’s the single fastest person I’ve ever seen running with my own eyes. 4) he deserves a future in football as his last professional play was being interfered with on the infamous non-call at the end of the Saints Rams NFC Championship game. May all his future pass interferences be flagged appropriately.

In the 10th round, the New York Renegades took Marquise Williams, AKA the guy who kept Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky on the bench at North Carolina. God the Bears suck.

Brandon – That last sentence makes me very sad. 

Donnel Pumphrey was drafted by the DC Defenders. I actually thought he would be a half decent player coming out of college, as a Benny Cunningham “I’m not really good at anything but I can kind of do everything” guy who somehow lasts in the NFL for six years. 

Fantasy football players that have played for a few years are probably at least aware of new Houston Roughnecks wide receiver Sammie Coates, who everyone had on their team for about a week as a bye week fill-in. Now he is in Houston, about to get underthrown by Connor Cook.

Andre Williams of the Roughnecks was actually great in college. He won the Doak Walker and Jim Brown awards in 2013, along with being a Heisman Trophy Finalist and All American. He spent four seasons in the NFL, mostly just not making an impact. He hasn’t played since 2017, so his legs should be fresh.

Jack – I remember Andre Williams well. If the NCAA had rightfully not given the 2013 Heisman Trophy to awful human being and INT machine Jameis Winston, Williams and former NIU Huskie Jordan Lynch would have battled it out for the prize. Is Lynch playing in the XLF? He should be.

Brandon – Cameron Artis-Payne is the running back version of Sammie Coates. He spent most of his career being mistaken for Fozzy Whitaker and getting touchdowns siphoned by Mike Tolbert. I honestly thought Christine Michel was still in the NFL, ostensibly as the third string running back on the Seahawks, but here he is, a St. Louis Battlehawk. Godspeed. Jordan Lasley of the Battlehawks was a 5th round draft pick as recently as the 2018 draft.

Jack – Remember that one year Christine Michel was an 80 in Madden? I’m guessing he’ll be rated at least that high in next year’s XFL football game.

Brandon – And he isn’t even the most random high Madden rating. Matt Jones of the whoever the fuck drafted him, had an 81 rating in 2016. [Editor’s note: I don’t think this is actually true, Brandon’s drunk.]

Offensive Lineman

Brandon – Two words, Storm. Norton. I don’t care if he is good or not, but he was the first pick in the offensive line part of the draft, and his name is Storm. After doing some (very) brief research, I found that he was on several team’s practice squads in 2017. That is pretty much the definition of XFL. “A couple practice squad stints two years ago.” You slide that resume across the table to Los Angeles Wildcats coach Winston Moss, wink at him, and BOOM, top pick in the draft. 

Jack – Fun fact: Offensive Tackle Cyrus Kouandjio was taken in the second round by the New York Guardians, which is the second time he’s been taken in the second round of a football draft by a team in New York. The last time was the Buffalo Bills. I’m sure his former college coach Nick Saban is just as happy for him this time around.

Brandon – Elsewhere, the Tampa Bay Vipers took Isaiah Williams, whose name I’d heard of, but couldn’t figure out which team. Turns out, I could have just randomly named a team and been right. He has spent time with six NFL teams, and just for the hell of it, an AAF team this year. He will be seeking to be possibly the first person to play in three professional football leagues in 12 months.

Jack – Isaiah Williams you say? I was really hoping old Illini star Isaiah “Juice” Williams had drank too much juice and was now making a comeback as a lineman, but alas.

The Houston Roughnecks took Tayo Fabuluje in the 10th round. Making him the first XFL player to have been suspended in the NFL for PEDs (probably).

The Defensive Front Seven, Defensive Backs and Open Rounds are still to come. We’ll drop Part 2 of our instant reactions sometime tomorrow.

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