25 XFL talents ready to reclaim the stage
By Trevor Sikkema
The Draft Network
The XFL has spent significant resources to search far and wide for the right players to fill its talent pool ahead of this week's XFL Draft. And for many, the opportunity to be drafted serves as a unique second chance to prove they can play professional football at a high level -- no matter what their individual pasts hold. The difference between making it in professional football and falling off is often razor thin and it often has just as much to do with extenuating circumstances as it does any lack of physical ability.
Here are 25 XFL talents in this year's player pool that are ready to reclaim the stage and make the most of this first, second or third opportunity to declare themselves as a world-class professional.
Skill Player Phase
RB Noel Devine
Devine was a star speedster at West Virginia who then spent most of his career in the CFL. He’ll be bringing that 4.26 40-yard dash speed to the XFL.
RB Trent Richardson
The former workhorse running back from Alabama comes into the XFL Draft after knocking the rust off in the AAF last spring. Richardson has been a starter for both the Oakland Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts.
RB Christine Michael
Seattle Seahawks fans still cape for Michael. He’s a big, strong, fast back who has the chance to be a feature player when it all comes together.
WR KD Cannon
When you score 27 touchdowns in your college career, as Cannon did at Baylor, it's fair to say you know how to win as a deep threat. Cannon will be a natural in a vertical passing offense.
WR Jacoby Ford
Ford spent five years in the NFL and then two in the CFL. Like Devine, Ford has breakaway speed that will be a big factor in the XFL.
QB Zach Mettenberger
Mettenberger had a great career at LSU, throwing to the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Now he’ll get the chance to cut it loose and sling it like he did in his days in Baton Rouge.
QB Tyree Jackson
Jackson had one of the strongest arms in the 2019 NFL Draft class. After spending training camp with the Buffalo Bills, he’s ready to stretch the field in the XFL like few other quarterbacks can.
Offensive Line Phase
OT Cole Gardner
Gardner was a contributing starter at Eastern Michigan, and then spent time in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His 6-foot-6, 300-pound frame will make him a guy who can compete for a top tackle spot.
OG Nico Siragusa
Siragusa is a strong interior offensive linemen who has years of pro experience under his belt. He’ll get his chance to be a full-time starter for an XFL squad and show off all that power at the point of attack.
OT Martez Ivey
Ivey was a former 5-star recruit who started at multiple spots for the Florida Gators. Drafting him will give a team a solid player that provides flexibility up front.
OT Cyrus Kouandjio
OT Arie Kouandjio
Both Kouandjio brothers come from the royal line of Alabama trench players. After both being drafted in the top 150 in the NFL, these two brothers are ready to make their mark in the XFL. Can we make sure they come as a package deal so they can play next to each other?
Defensive Front Phase
LB Te’Von Coney
The former Notre Dame starter has a lot of experience at middle linebacker to his name. He can step in and be the centerpiece of a defense for any scheme in the XFL.
DE Shawn Oakman
Yes, that Shawn Oakman. At one time the most featured man on the Internet, the 6-foot-9 Oakman brings length and size that no other player can to a defensive line.
DE Kony Ealy
The former second round pick of the Carolina Panthers comes into the XFL as one of the top run defenders any team could take. Ealy has had his fair share of success at the NFL level, and that will undoubtedly continue in the XFL.
DT Ronald Ollie
Ollie was a fan favorite on the popular Netflix show Last Chance U. He spent some time with the Oakland Raiders during training camp but now he’s ready to get back to the dominant play that fans of the show know he can display.
DT Will Sutton
Sutton is another one of those players who spent a few years in the NFL, then had a stand out year with the AAF. He’s coming into the XFL with a lot of momentum.
LB Deshaun Davis
Davis is one of the smartest players on any football field. He’s a natural leader, and an excellent communicator. He has the football IQ to pick up starting MLB duties on Day 1.
Defensive Back Phase
SAF Kenny Robinson
Robinson may be the most fascinating player in the entire talent pool. Why? Because he's leaving two years of NCAA eligibility behind to take a shot at professional football with the XFL. Years from now, Robinson can potentially be looked at as a trailblazer for an alternative path to pro football. Robinson logged 7 interceptions with the Mountaineers over the last two years as a freshman and sophomore. He's got excellent ball skills and instincts in the secondary.
CB Jack Tocho
After spending some time in the NFL, Tocho was a standout player in the AAF. So much so that he was one of the first AAF players signed back to the NFL when the season ended. Now? He’s in the XFL pool and ready for a starting role.
CB Sterling Moore
Sterling Moore was a key player for the New England Patriots AFC Championship run in the 2012 season. He’s bounced around the NFL for a few years but has plenty of snaps to be one of the most experienced and effective players in the XFL.
SAF Matt Elam
At Florida, Elam was one of the most feared safeties in college football. Elam’s violent play style makes him a fan favorite. Injuries hurt his start in the NFL, but if he’s healthy and ready to go, watch out.
Open Draft Phase
K Roberto Aguayo
Aguayo came into the NFL as one of the most accurate and clutch kickers in college football history. He had some early struggles in the NFL, but a fresh start could get him back to when he was automatic.
P Brad Wing
The former LSU punter brought swag back to the position. He spent most of his time in the NFL with the New York Giants, and will be a fan favorite for any team in the XFL.
WR Kermit Whitfield
With Whitfield’s speed, he’ll surely be one of the most sought after kick and punt returners in the pool once the draft gets going. His kick return for touchdown in the 2013 National Championship Game helped Florida State win its most recent title.