XFL Draft 2019: Format, Teams, Top Players and Schedule

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2019

FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2019, file photo, XFL Football Commissioner Oliver Luck talks to reporters before introducing former NFL football quarterback Jim Zorn as the head coach for Seattle's XFL football team, in Seattle. Oliver Luck’s first year as the XFL’s commissioner has mostly been confined to the office and getting the league’s framework set up. The next couple months though are what Luck refers to as the fun part of preparing for next year’s return. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

With the XFL's inaugural season set to kick off in February, the league will hold its first draft Tuesday, and the event will continue into Wednesday.

The structure of the draft differs significantly from its counterparts in other sports leagues.

The XFL will assign one quarterback apiece to the eight teams. From there, the draft is broken down into five phases, four of which are based on positional groupings. Each of the first four phases will have 80 picks before the final phase in which teams work through the remaining player pool until they've filled out their rosters.

The XFL's website will announce each of the picks.

Here's the full order for the phases and some of the notable players in the draft pool.


XFL Draft Order

Phase 1 (QB, RB, WR, TE)

1. DC Defenders

2. Houston Roughnecks

3. New York Guardians

4. Dallas Renegades

5. Tampa Bay Vipers

6. St. Louis BattleHawks

7. Seattle Dragons

8. Los Angeles Wildcats


Phase 2 (OT, OG, C)

1. Los Angeles Wildcats

2. Seattle Dragons

3. St. Louis BattleHawks

4. Tampa Bay Vipers

5. Dallas Renegades

6. New York Guardians

7. Houston Roughnecks

8. DC Defenders


Phase 3 (DL, LB)

1. Tampa Bay Vipers

2. St. Louis BattleHawks

3. Seattle Dragons

4. Los Angeles Wildcats

5. DC Defenders

6. Houston Roughnecks

7. New York Guardians

8. Dallas Renegades


Phase 4 (CB, NB, SS, FS)

1. Dallas Renegades

2. New York Guardians

3. Houston Roughnecks

4. DC Defenders

5. Los Angeles Wildcats

6. Seattle Dragons

7. St. Louis BattleHawks

8. Tampa Bay Vipers


Phase 5 (Open)

1. St. Louis BattleHawks

2. New York Guardians

3. Seattle Dragons

4. Los Angeles Wildcats

5. Tampa Bay Vipers

6. Houston Roughnecks

7. DC Defenders

8. Dallas Renegades


Notable Players

Jalen Rowell, WR, Air Force

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Jalen Rowell caught 120 passes for 2,697 yards and 18 touchdowns in four years at Air Force. He was a second-team All-Mountain West receiver as a senior in 2016.

Rowell almost certainly would have been selected in the 2017 draft had the Air Force not ruled he'd have to serve at least two years of active duty before he could pursue a football career. As a result, he had to put his professional aspirations on hold.

With the end of his two-year commitment near, Rowell told the Associated Press' Arnie Stapleton in April he was hopeful of getting back on the field.

"Heck, if you need me to put my hand in the ground and play tackle, I'm fine with that," he said. "My goal is just getting a shot."

Rowell is likely to be one of the first receivers off the board.


Roberto Aguayo, K, Florida State

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: A back view Kicker Roberto Aguayo #19 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he appoarches the field during a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium on August 26, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers defeated
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Most football fans know Roberto Aguayo's story by now.

A three-time All-American at Florida State, Aguayo was 69-of-78 on field goals and made all 198 of his extra points during his Seminoles career.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded up to select him 59th overall in the 2016 draft and then waived him in August 2017. He went 22-of-31 on field goals, including 4-of-10 between 40 and 49 yards.

Aguayo had brief spells with the Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Chargers but hasn't appeared in a regular-season game since 2016.

"I know I can get back," he said in a May interview with Bleacher Report's Mirin Fader. "People are probably like: 'Oh, he's done. He can't do it anymore.' No. I did it at a high level in college. I never got a chance to show it again. I know I can. I'm hitting the ball well now. At the end of the day, it's a matter of opportunity."

The XFL can be Aguayo's shot at redemption.


Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 23:  Inside linebacker Arthur Brown #59 of the Baltimore Ravens defends during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium on August 23, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

After two nondescript years at Miami, Arthur Brown transferred to Kansas State, where he blossomed into the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Brown finished that season with 100 total tackles, seven tackles for loss and two interceptions.

The Baltimore Ravens selected him with the 56th overall pick in the 2013 draft. In his final big board, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Brown as the No. 24 player overall and No. 3 outside linebacker.

Perhaps the former Wildcats star was doomed to fail because he was one of the players tasked with replacing Ray Lewis. The Ravens released him in September 2016 after he appeared in 34 games but failed to make a single start.


Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU

Unfortunately for Zach Mettenberger, his supporting cast in the XFL won't match what he had at LSU.

As a senior for the Tigers in 2013, Mettenberger threw for 3,082 yards and 22 touchdowns in an offense that included Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and Jeremy Hill.

A sixth-round draft pick in 2014, Mettenberger carries the stigma that comes with an 0-10 record as a starting quarterback in the NFL. An injury to Jake Locker pressed him into starting duty as a rookie and then he briefly led the Tennessee Titans offense again in 2015 with Marcus Mariota unavailable.

In two years, Mettenberger threw for 2,347 yards, 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while completing 60.3 percent of his passes.

Given the scarcity of QB options in the NFL, the 28-year-old might convince a general manager to give him one more shot with a strong year in the XFL.


Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - MARCH 24: Trent Richardson #33 of the Birmingham Iron runs the ball against the Memphis Express during the first quarter of their Alliance of American Football game at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on March 24, 2019 in Memphis, Tennes
Joe Robbins/AAF/Getty Images

Trent Richardson's football journey is well known to fans.

The No. 3 overall draft pick in the 2012 draft, Richardson didn't last two full years with the Cleveland Browns before they traded him to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2014 first-rounder. The deal proved to be a steal as he ran for 977 yards and six touchdowns in 29 games for Indianapolis.

The Oakland Raiders and Ravens took a flier on Richardson but didn't keep him on the roster through the regular season.

Richardson joined the AAF, a move that might have proved counterproductive. He averaged 2.9 yards per carry in eight appearances for the Birmingham Iron.


Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo

ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 29:  Tyree Jackson #6 of the Buffalo Bills drops back to pass during the first quarter of a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at New Era Field on August 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo defeats Minnesota 27-
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Tyree Jackson made a strong impression at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine after running a 4.59-second 40-yard dash. He also showed off his throwing arm to such an extent Steve Smith told him to dial it back a bit.

The Buffalo Bills signed Jackson after he went undrafted in the spring, but he failed to make the final cut when they trimmed their roster for the regular season. He went 30-of-57 for 315 yards, one touchdown and an interception in four preseason appearances.

Playing in the XFL is the exact kind of move Jackson needed to make. Still only 21, the former Buffalo Bulls star can potentially play his way into another NFL deal. Teams are bound to take notice if the 6'7" signal-caller shows out, even if it's against weaker competition.


Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 17:  Kony Ealy #94 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after a sack against the New Orleans Saints in the third quarter during the game at Bank of America Stadium on November 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Hal
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Through two years in the NFL, Kony Ealy had nine sacks and eight tackles for loss in 31 appearances. He appeared to be on the verge of a breakout after getting three sacks, forcing a fumble and intercepting a pass in the Carolina Panthers' Super Bowl 50 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Ealy didn't move the needle too much in 2016 before Panthers traded him to the New England Patriots. The warning signs came when the Patriots cut him in August 2017, mere months after sending Carolina a second-round pick in order to land the former Missouri star and a third-rounder.

Ealy has played 18 games since his trade from the Panthers.


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