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Will XFL or USFL Alum Score Touchdown in 2023 NFL Season?


The XFL and USFL have made it clear they want to send players to the NFL. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – one of the XFL owners – has consistently said he revived the league to give players a second chance at making the NFL. We saw some USFL alums make impacts last season, like return specialist KaVontae Turpin on the Dallas Cowboys.

Will XFL or USFL Alum Score Touchdown in 2023 NFL Season?
KaVontae Turpin #9 of the Dallas Cowboys | Sam hodde/getty images/afp

Several XFL and USFL alums have joined NFL teams during the offseason. They still have a big hurdle to pass, as roster cuts will take place in the final week of August. Which alums could make an NFL roster and make an impact during the 2023 season by scoring a touchdown? Who knows? Maybe an alum could even become a consistent contributor, impacting online NFL betting.

Alums on NFL Rosters

The USFL only has three 2023 alums on NFL rosters: Kicker Brandon Aubrey (Cowboys), tight end Josh Pederson (Jaguars), and quarterback Alex McGough (Packers). The XFL has a decent chance of seeing an alum produce with 21 players on NFL rosters:

  • OL Barry Wesley – Atlanta Falcons
  • K John Parker Romo – Detroit Lions
  • DL LaCale London – Atlanta Falcons
  • LB Niko Lalos – New Orleans Saints
  • DL Antwuan Jackson – Carolina Panthers
  • DL Jack Heflin – New Orleans Saints
  • DL Austin Faoliu – Seattle Seahawks
  • S Lukas Denis – Atlanta Falcons
  • DL C.J. Brewer – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • CB Luq Barcoo – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • RB Jacques Patrick – Denver Broncos
  • S Bryce Thompson – Miami Dolphins
  • QB Ben DiNucci – Denver Broncos
  • TE Jordan Thomas – Carolina Panthers
  • WR Gary Jennings – Carolina Panthers
  • OT Jaryd Jones-Smith – Washington Commanders
  • WR Charleston Rambo – Philadelphia Eagles
  • WR Hakeem Butler – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • P Daniel Whelan – Green Bay Packers
  • LB Willie Taylor III – Jacksonville Jaguars
  • LB Alize Mack – Tennessee Titans

Most of the XFL alums on NFL rosters are defensive players (11 of 21). There also seems to be a connection between the NFC South and XFL, as 9 of 21 alums signed with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints or Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It’s extremely unlikely a defensive player, kicker or punter will score a touchdown. Cornerback Luq Barcoo could be the defensive player with the best chance of scoring. He was one of the XFL’s best defensive backs in the 2023 season. Barcoo was a ballhawk with San Diego State, totaling nine interceptions in his final collegiate season. He also has a decent chance of making the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster, as they lack cornerback depth.

Who Could Enter the End Zone?

The Jacksonville Jaguars signed coach Doug Pederson’s son, tight end Josh Pederson from the USFL. Pederson did not score in the USFL, and it’s unlikely he makes the roster after recording only 325 receiving yards with the Houston Gamblers. This could be Jacksonville doing its coach a favor, similar to the Jags entertaining Tim Tebow at tight end in 2021.

Running back Jacques Patrick and wide receiver Hakeem Butler could have the best chance of scoring a touchdown in the 2023 NFL season.

Patrick was with the Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. He was the San Antonio Brahmas’ top running back, totaling 443 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. He signed with the Denver Broncos, who could have their third and fourth-string spots up for grabs. Plus, starting running back Javonte Williams comes off a torn ACL and could have his touches limited early in the season.

Butler was one of the XFL’s best wide receivers in the 2023 season. He totaled 599 receiving yards and eight touchdowns with the St. Louis Battlehawks. At 6-foot-5, he is an excellent red-zone target. The Steelers also lack depth at receiver, and Allen Robinson II is a wild card after struggling last season.

According to NFL odds, the Broncos and Steelers have a projected win total of 8½. There’s a decent chance either of these teams finish with losing records. Struggling teams will often search for answers by giving more playing time to backups, which would increase the likelihood of Patrick or Butler scoring six.

The XFL still has a couple of standout players that have not signed with an NFL team. Running back Abram Smith (791 yards) and wide receiver Jahcour Pearson (670 yards) led the league in rushing and receiving yards. Smith could get a shot on another NFL roster after being cut by the Saints in 2022. Pearson is also working out with the Cleveland Browns this week, per Jordan Schultz.

Turpin, who played in the USFL in 2022, could have the best chance among all alums to score a touchdown. He excelled as a return specialist for the Cowboys last season, earning Pro Bowl honors. He did not score a touchdown, but Turpin should be one of the NFL’s top return men once again and his role could increase on offense.

It’s unlikely any XFL or USFL alum has a major impact on the NFL, especially when it comes to online gambling. How they fare in the NFL could be something fun to watch for in the upcoming season, though. The XFL and USFL will be hoping for the best, as they will promote any success to lure more players for the 2024 season.

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