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Who Are the Best Players in the XFL?

| February 4, 2020 2:13 pm PDT
XFL's Biggest Stars

Are you wondering who the top players in the XFL are?

The 2020 XFL season gets underway this weekend with all eight teams in action. The best XFL betting sites have set the odds, so it’s time to get acquainted with the biggest names. Considering that the NFL had been in full swing up until this week, many football fans across the country aren’t up to date with who’s even in the XFL.

That’s where this guide comes in handy.

I addressed each XFL franchise and assessed the rosters. Let’s take a look at the 3 best players on every XFL team’s roster in 2020.

Dallas Renegades Best Players

  • Landry Jones (QB)
  • Lance Dunbar (RB)
  • Jazz Ferguson (WR)

Former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops begins the 2020 XFL campaign with plenty of familiarity under center. Landry Jones played under Stoops in Norman from 2009-2012 and put up massive numbers. It’s worth noting that a minor knee injury could force Landry to miss Sunday’s opener against the BattleHawks, but the old Sooner QB shouldn’t miss much more time than that.

Lance Dunbar is a speedy running back who played six years in the NFL — five with the Cowboys and one with the Rams. Lance will do most of his damage catching balls out of the backfield, as Cameron Artis-Payne also figures to be involved. Nevertheless, Dunbar is the most electric RB on the Renegades roster.

Looking at Jazz Ferguson run routes and catch passes, it’s hard to imagine an NFL team didn’t have room for him on their 53-man roster. Here’s a 6’5’ 230-pound athlete who ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at the combine and was highly touted coming out of high school when he landed at LSU. While things haven’t panned out for Ferguson thus far, his time with the Renegades could very well be his coming out party.

DC Defenders Top Players

  • Cardale Jones (QB)
  • Donnel Pumphrey (RB)
  • Scooby Wright (LB)

There were lots of options here as the DC Defenders are among the favorites to win it all, according to XFL futures odds. Eli Rogers was a nice slot guy with the Steelers, and Matt Elam was a productive safety for the Ravens. But it all starts with Cardale Jones.

The former Ohio State quarterback has a lot to prove after an unsuccessful stint in the NFL, and he’ll no doubt be one of the bigger draws the XFL has to offer.

Donnel Pumphrey might not be a household name for XFL fans just yet, but San Diego State alumni like myself know all about the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher. That’s correct — Pumphrey’s 6,405 yards as an Aztec are more than any other player has gained in FBS history.

Scooby Wright never translated his undeniable success in college (he won the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and the Lombardi Award in 2014 at Arizona), but perhaps a fresh start in the nation’s capital is exactly what was needed. Wright hopes to lead what is arguably the best linebacking core in all of the XFL.

Best Players on the Houston Roughnecks

  • Connor Cook (QB)
  • Sammie Coates (WR)
  • Kony Ealy (DE)

Connor Cook only appeared in one game during his short run in the NFL, which is surprising considering his success at Michigan State. Cook tossed 70 touchdowns compared to 21 interceptions as a three-year starter in East Lansing, and I know he’ll be hungry to accomplish big things with the Roughnecks. Cook was passed around the Panthers, Bengals, and Lions practice squads before eventually being released in the summer of 2019.

Sammie Coates was a third-round pick for Houston in the 2020 XFL Draft and is a guy who is expected to contribute right away. Sammie brings four years of NFL experience with him to Space City and should provide a safety blanket of sorts for Cook in pressure situations.

Kony Ealy tapered off during his time in the NFL, but at just 28 years old, he could find his way back into the league as early as next season. The 6’4” 275-pound pass rusher brings ferocity to Ted Cottrell’s defensive unit thanks to compiling 14 sacks with the Panthers from 2014-2016.

LA Wildcats Top Playmakers

  • Elijah Hood (RB)
  • Josh Johnson (QB)
  • Nelson Spruce (WR)

Elijah Hood has a chance to be one of the top running backs in the XFL in 2020. The Wildcats drafted him with their first-round pick in 2020 and are hoping he can get back to dominating games like he did at Chapel Hill back in 2015. The good-sized back tumbled for more than 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns during his sophomore season at UNC.

Josh Johnson has bounced around more NFL organizations that one can keep track of since completing four years at the University of San Diego. What keeps NFL scouts entertained is the idea that he’s got a strong arm and can also beat defenses with his feet once he escapes the pocket. The XFL could be a perfect fit for Johnson.

Talk about wide receivers who were fruitful in college — few wideouts can boast about putting up the kind of stats that Nelson Spruce did at Colorado. He once caught 19 balls in a game versus Cal, and when he ended his career in Boulder (2015), he was the Pac-12’s all-time leader in receptions.

NY Guardians Best Players

  • Jamar Summers (CB)
  • Mekale McKay (WR)
  • Matt McGloin (QB)

Rather than make a name for himself at the collegiate level or in the NFL, it was what Jamar Summers did last year in a shortened AAF season that caught the eyes of GMs across the XFL. Of the 80 defensive backs selected in Phase 4 of the 2020 XFL Draft, Summers was the second name who came off the board.

Mekale McKay is a gifted WR who was starting to come into his own last year in the AAF. Ranked third in receiving touchdowns and seventh in receiving yards when the league abruptly dissipated, McKay has an opportunity to shine in the Big Apple.

Matt McGloin’s NFL experience includes six games started for the Raiders back in 2013. The three-year starter at Penn State walked onto the team in University Park and wound up setting a school record in touchdown passes. Matt possesses the exact type of determination and grit that a coach in the XFL wants to see out of his leader.

Top Players on the St. Louis BattleHawks

  • Christine Michael (RB)
  • Will Hill (S)
  • De’Mornay Pierson-El (WR)

If the name Christine Michael rings a bell, that’s because he ran for seven touchdowns during the 2016 NFL season as a member of the Packers and Seahawks. There’s a reason that St. Louis drafted Michael in the first round in October’s XFL Draft, and that’s because head coach Jonathan Hayes plans on utilizing him early and often.

Failed drug tests forced Will Hill out of the NFL in 2016, but nobody has doubted this guy’s talent for a second. With 50 games (32 starts) at the highest level under his belt, Will Hill is certainly one of the most formidable safeties in the XFL. He’ll also be depended on to serve as a mentor of sorts to 21-year-old Kenny Robinson, who became the first player with college eligibility remaining to enter the XFL Draft.

Former Nebraska WR De’Mournay Pierson-El ranked third in the AAF with 36 receptions and can do a little bit of everything on the field. Look for offensive coordinator Chuck Long to script a whole bunch of plays for Pierson-El in 2020.

Seattle Dragons Best Playmakers

  • Kenneth Farrow (RB)
  • Steven Johnson (LB)
  • Dontez Byrd (WR)

Kenneth Farrow will be the top running back off the board in lots of XFL fantasy drafts, plus he was recently named as one of the team captains. Farrow flashed with the Chargers in 2016, but current Dragons teammate Keenan Reynolds think Kenneth is the perfect choice to be the offensive captain.

“Kenneth is just that type of guy, the way he carries himself. He’s in the weight room early. He’s just that type of guy.”

Steven Johnson has played in CenturyLink Field before, so he knows how dedicated the fan base in Seattle can be. The 31-year-old linebacker played 41 games for the Broncos before brief tenures in Tennessee, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. Along with Farrow, Johnson was named as one of the Dragons’ team captains.

Dontez Byrd made a whole bunch of plays during his time at Tennessee Tech, and he’s hoping to make enough plays with the Dragons to eventually get back into the NFL. Jim Zorn has a number of capable wide receivers at his disposal, but I expect Byrd to be the most reliable of the bunch.

Tampa Bay Vipers Top Stars

  • Quinton Flowers (QB/RB)
  • Reece Horn (WR)
  • Aaron Murray (QB)

Quinton Flowers could turn out to be the most electric player in all of the XFL thanks to all the rules that favor offensive creativity. Flowers ran for 41 touchdowns and threw 71 more as a three-year starter at South Florida. As a junior in 2016, he was named the AAC Offensive Player of the Year.

Reece Horn isn’t the flashiest receiver in the XFL, but he’s worth a look as a DFS value play in Week 1. With Antonio Callaway now out of the picture, Marc Trestman is going to have to look elsewhere for production. Horn could be the guy who ends up filling the void.

Aaron Murray was a star at the University of Georgia, but Tampa Bay is really is home. That’s where Murray was born and raised and evolved into a stud quarterback. Taylor Cornelius might get some looks, and I already mentioned the influence of Quinton Flowers. However, when Trestman wants to sling the ball around and push the ball up the field, Aaron Murray is going to be his guy.

Michael Wynn
Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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