4 Unknown XFL Players That Could End Up Being Superstars
The hype surrounding the return of the XFL has been impressive. It just goes to show how much people love professional football when we can easily get amped up for a new league less than one full week after the Super Bowl.
Yet here we are.
The XFL is not loaded with superstars. Everyone dreamed of connections landing massive names like Johnny Manziel, Colin Kaepernick, or even Antonio Brown in the XFL.
None of those moves happened, and it’s unclear what other big names realistically will land in the new league.
But in due time, it may not matter. There are already sizable stars to get excited about, as players like Cardale Jones, Rashad Ross, and Christine Michael could offer plenty of star power.
What about some lesser-known talents that are floating under the radar that could bust out on this stage, though? It’s possible this league may have even more intriguing talent than anyone realizes.
Knowing who those players are before they actually break out just might help you win some cash on the top XFL betting websites, too.
I’ve got four names I’m personally excited to see play in the XFL, and before long, they may not be so under the radar. Here are 4 underrated XFL players that could become household names.
Tyree Jackson, QB, Defenders
This one could admittedly take a second. Tyree Jackson is certainly not short on talent, but to this point in his professional football career, he’s been short on opportunity.
It isn’t looking great for Jackson to get that chance early. Cardale Jones is one of the biggest stars in the XFL right now, and he’s currently ahead of Jackson on the DC Defenders depth chart.
Only time will tell if Jones is the answer for this franchise under center, though. Jackson could easily end up replacing him as the starter down the road, while the wild XFL rules could also allow him to take on a Taysom Hill-type role, regardless.
Why should you get excited about Tyree Jackson? Because the dude has upside for days.
Blessed with elite size, a big arm, and strong athletic ability, Jackson enjoyed his best season at Buffalo in 2018, where he put up 28 passing touchdowns and seven more scores on the ground.
Yes, he only completed 55% of his passes, and he put up these numbers against fairly weak competition. But the physical tools and potential here are to die for.
Jackson later flashed his ability with the Buffalo Bills during the preseason, where he delivered this clutch touchdown to win a game.
While he is raw as a passer, Jackson is just 22 years old and offers impressive speed (4.59 40-yard dash time) for a quarterback.
The tools are there for Tyree Jackson to be a star, perhaps even in the NFL. He just first needs to get a shot at proving his worth in the XFL. If that happens, there is a real chance he could put up monster numbers in Pep Hamilton’s quarterback-friendly system and blossom into a superstar.
Nick Holley, RB, Roughnecks
Of all the underrated XFL players that could become stars, I’ll admit Holley probably faces the toughest road to the top.
Holley made Houston’s initial 52-man roster as one of four Roughnecks running backs, but he’s got his work cut out for him playing behind the likes of De’Angelo Henderson and Andre Williams.
Of course, Holley has them both beat when it comes to versatility. And if there is one thing you can say about the former Kent State star, it’s that he’s fast.
Just check out his Kent State highlights and watch what a dynamic and decisive runner he is.
The problem is nobody really knows just how fast Holley is. After suffering a torn ACL in 2017, Holley wasn’t given a fair crack at the NFL and has just pro day and personally timed 40-yard dashes. But they’re said to be in the 4.4 range, and that isn’t anything to scoff at.
Holley doesn’t have hulking size, but he has the speed, quickness, vision, and cutting ability of a star offensive weapon. If he can refine his catching and blocking, he could work himself into a prominent role in an explosive June Jones offense.
The question will be precisely how Holley is allowed to contribute initially for his XFL squad.
Tre McBride, WR, Wildcats
There are a lot of talented wide receivers entering the XFL in 2020. Rashad Ross and Sammie Coates are two burners a lot of NFL fans already know about, while there are some other lesser-known players who offer plenty of upside.
One of them is undeniably Tre McBride, who offers blazing speed (4.41 40-yard dash time) and nice overall athleticism. McBride also has solid size and impressive ability to reel in difficult catches.
A lack of refined route-running chops and difficult separating have been his major knocks since coming out of William & Mary, but the 27-year-old still has the skill-set to thrive as a feature weapon in the XFL.
That’s precisely what he figures to be with the Wildcats, where he’ll team up with one of the league’s best players in dual-threat passer Josh Johnson.
McBride couldn’t quite hack it in the NFL, but he impressed during the preseason and even averaged a healthy 18 yards per reception with the Chicago Bears in 2017.
Separation probably won’t be a glaring issue for McBride against weaker competition in the XFL. Before long, his ability to make impossible catches look routine could make him the XFL’s version of Odell Beckham Jr.
Okay, that might be a stretch. But McBride has untapped potential and natural talent to dominate as a high-volume receiver. The XFL may just finally give him the platform to show that.
Ben Heeney, LB, Guardians
There is a lot of interesting talent on the defensive side of the football in the XFL, too. One guy that stands out is former Kansas star linebacker Ben Heeney.
The expected quarterback of Kevin Gilbride’s defense in New York, Heeney could rack up tackles with the best of them in 2020.
Heeney has already flashed potential as a member of the Oakland Raiders in the NFL, but his best work was easily visible during his time at Kansas.
There, the Jayhawks star had at least 11 tackles for loss in three different seasons and also topped 112+ total tackles twice.
Heeney’s main knocks have always been a perceived lack of athleticism and questionable awareness in space. Perhaps those are viable issues he’ll have to work around, but there is no denying his grit, his sure tackling, or his nose for sniffing out the run.
Size limitations make him a risky bet for the NFL down the road, but Heeney has the type of fight attributed to the legendary Zach Thomas. His relentless pursuit and solid fundamentals make him a must-watch defensive talent in the XFL.
His well-rounded skill-set may even make him one of the best XFL stars before long.
All four of these players are two things, without question. They are extremely talented, and they are inherently underrated.
Much like most of their XFL counterparts, they were either completely passed over by the NFL, or the league chewed them up and spit them out.
Save for perhaps Heeney, these guys have speed and athleticism that could allow them to be massive stars in the XFL. Just how far they take their talent and new opportunity, of course, remains to be seen.
It may take a while to see any of these guys make a lasting impact. That said, if they impress early, they could end up swaying how you bet on the XFL.