The XFL is back. . . again.
The spring start-up league is set to return for its third iteration three years after its initial reboot was shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This time, the league returns with owner Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at the helm, and he is excited to see what the league’s eight teams will be able to do in the league’s first season back.
Of course, before we get to that point, teams will have to actually construct rosters; they are set to do that this week as a part of the XFL Draft.
Each XFL team is set to have a 50-man roster in 2023, but teams will be allowed to carry 66 players into training camp. As such, the draft will contain a lot of rounds and, potentially, some familiar names.
The XFL has a 1,700-player pool from which the teams can select. They will be able to pick and choose their targets during the 2022 XFL Draft and build rosters full of players that were overlooked by NFL teams or starred in other defunct, fledgling leagues, such as the XFL and AAF.
But just how does the 2022 XFL Draft work? Here’s what to know about the league’s player selection process ahead of its 2023 season.
When is the XFL Draft 2022?
- Day 1: Tuesday, Nov. 15 (2 p.m. ET)
- Day 2: Wednesday, Nov. 16 (11:30 a.m. ET)
- Day 3: Thursday, Nov. 17 (10:30 a.m. ET)
The XFL Draft is set to begin on Tuesday, Nov. 15. It will be a three-day event and will be comprised of at least 50 rounds of player selections.
The first day of the draft will be a special quarterback selection show on ESPN. The event will be hosted by ESPN’s Stormy Buoanthony and each XFL team will leave with at least one quarterback. That will occur Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET.
The second day of the draft begins Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. ET, and it will likely be the longest day. During that time, each team will make 44 selections on a position-group-by-position-group basis to build the core of their teams. The only players that won’t be selected during those rounds are kickers, punters and long snappers.
The final day of the draft will begin Thursday at 10:30 a.m. ET. At that point, teams will be eligible to select specialists; after that, teams will be able to draft players regardless of position to round out their rosters.
How does the XFL Draft work?
The XFL Draft will follow a similar format to the one that the league used in 2019. Each team will select players from the same position pool in each round. The draft order will be determined by a virtual lottery that ensures teams will remain competitively balanced for the 2023 season.
One notable difference between the XFL Draft and the USFL Draft is that the XFL will allow teams to pick from a group of positions rather than the exact same position. As such, the XFL Draft is subdivided into just six phases compared to the 17 for the USFL Draft.
Below is a breakdown of which positions will be eligible to be selected in each round.
- Quarterback selection show (13 picks)
- First 11 rounds: Offensive Skill positions (WR, RB, TE, FB)
- Next 11 rounds: Defensive Backs (CB, Safety, Nickel)
- Next 11 rounds: Defensive Front Seven (ILB, Edge, DE, DT)
- Final 11 rounds: Offensive Line (LT, LG, C, RG, RT)
- Specialists (Kicker, Punt, Long Snapper)
- Open rounds (any position)
It isn’t yet clear how many rounds will comprise the 2022 XFL Draft, but the teams are expected to have 50-man rosters in 2023. That said, the league is planning to have a supplemental draft early in 2023, so they may not have teams fill all 50 roster spots.
For context, the USFL had each team draft 35 players for a 45-man roster, so the XFL may leave similar flexibility for player additions.
XFL Draft player pool 2022
The XFL has a player pool of 1,700 players, per ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. The league has not yet released that list and may not do so ahead of the draft.
That said, there are a couple of notable NFL veterans in the player pool, including former Steelers wideout Martavis Bryant and Mohamed Sanu, who has played for the Bengals, Falcons and Patriots, among others.
Additionally, the XFL has 13 quarterbacks confirmed to be joining its ranks. They are as follows:
- Ben DiNucci (Pitt, James Madison)
- Quinten Dormady (Tennessee, Central Michigan)
- Eric Dungey (Syracuse)
- Kaleb Eleby (Western Michigan)
- Deondre Francois (Florida State, Hampton)
- D’Eriq King (Houston, Miami)
- Jalan McClendon (NC State, Baylor)
- Steven Montez (Colorado)
- Jawon Pass (Louisville)
- Drew Plitt (Ball State)
- Anthony Russo (Temple, Michigan State)
- Brandon Silvers (Troy)
- Ryan Willis (Kansas, Virginia Tech)
A handful of those passers have NFL experience; DiNucci made a start for the Cowboys in 2020 while Dungey, King, McClendon and Montez have all been on 90-man rosters before. That said, they are more fringe NFL candidates than anything else.
This will likely encapsulate the look of the XFL player pool, as the XFL’s senior vice president of personnel Doug Whaley explained to ESPN.
“If anything, it’s skewing toward guys that are anything from two or three years removed out of college to a max of four or five,” Whaley said. “Looking at the guys that we’ve targeted, there’s not many that are four to five years out from college.”
XFL Draft pick order
Below is the draft order for the first round of the 2022 XFL Draft.
|2||St. Louis Battlehawks|
|3||San Antonio Brahmas|
|6||Seattle Sea Dragons|
How many rounds is the XFL Draft?
The XFL hasn’t specified exactly how many rounds its draft will have. That said, we know that there will be at least 44 rounds on “Day 1” of the draft and the teams will have 50-man rosters for the 2023 XFL season. However, teams reportedly will carry 66 players in training camp, so there will likely be more players drafted than make the team.
How much will XFL players make?
The league explained its player compensation model at an XFL Town Hall event in July. At the time, the league detailed that the base value of an XFL contract would be $59,000 but there would be up to $20,000 in additional benefits, which include health insurance, housing and meals.
The league will also offer pay during training camp and bonuses throughout the season for the winning teams.
Below is a breakdown of how the XFL contract pays:
- Total Salary: $59,000
- Training camp: $800 per week
- Per game: $5,000
- Winning bonus: $1,000
- Playoff bonus: Unspecified
It’s notable that inactive players will still be compensated for games. They will receive $1,500 per game if inactive but will still be eligible for the winning bonus. So, players can still make up to $2,500 a week even if they aren’t playing.
Contracts will not be signed until after the 2022 XFL Draft is completed.