In order to replenish its rosters and just like the NFL, find the next gems, the XFL is holding a common draft on June 16th that will pool from all the available players not on 90-man rosters or in other professional leagues. In a press release, the XFL announced its draft days ago. Offseason rosters will also match the NFL, expanding from 51 to 90.
The ethos of the league has been to give opportunities to players who haven’t received much of a shot to play professionally, drawing from Dwayne Johnson’s unsuccessful days playing at the NFL level, going undrafted and struggling to stick in the CFL before hanging up his cleats and getting into wrestling. In a recent interview with The Pivot, Johnson explained he was invited back to CFL camp one final time but declined the offer, choosing to follow in his dad’s footsteps and begin wrestling.
Now, he’ll look to give hundreds more football players the chance. Do the quick math and eight teams whose rosters will expand from 51 to 90 means an infusion of 312 players who could be added next month.
According to this press release, it sounds like this draft pool will be true rookies and won’t include veterans or even first-year players who are currently free agents. It’s an interesting though narrow approach given how many prospects from the 2023 class are on NFL rosters with 259 players drafted and roughly another 300 undrafted players signed to contracts. This pool of eligible players will be the remainder: tryout guys who didn’t sign contracts – only one of Pittsburgh’s 33 names earned a contract (though not all of them were true rookies) or players who weren’t even able to get invited to a rookie minicamp. Notable names we’ve referenced on the site include Gannon QB Kory Curtis and Carroll College NT Garrett Kocab.
It’s worth noting the press release also mentions an NFL opt-out clause in player contracts, presumably meaning they could sign with the league by December 26th should they be offered a contract.
When the 16th rolls around, we’ll let you know if any players from Steelers’ minicamp get a chance in the XFL. The league is coming off a successful and stable offseason with good crowds and decent TV ratings that saw many players from the league end up back in the NFL. The Steelers signed one in WR Hakeem Butler, who will compete for the team’s sixth wide receiver spot this summer. The season had an exciting conclusion with the Arlington Renegades upsetting the D.C. Defenders, 35-26, in the championship game despite the Renegades going only 4-6 in the regular season while the Defenders were an XFL-best 9-1.