The NFL offseason has officially begun, and for many, it’s more exciting than the actual season. The draft has become one of the biggest events in sports, but some still have the itch for live football. A myriad of spring leagues have failed, and the XFL is back to try its hand once again. This time, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be the face of the league, and several former Falcons will make their debuts, including Vic Beasley.
- Vic Beasley — Vegas Vipers
- Stansly Maponga — Orlando Guardians
- Brian Hill — St. Louis Battlehawks
- Sterling Hofrichter — St. Louis Battlehawks
- Tuzar Skipper — Seattle Sea Dragons
- Cameron Nizialek — Seattle Sea Dragons
- A.J. McCarron — St. Louis Battlehawks
- Ryan Becker — Orlando Guardians
Vic Beasley is the obvious headliner here. After being drafted No. 8 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Clemson product led the league in sacks the following season in 2016, totaling 15.5 during the team’s Super Bowl run. He’s actually the only member of the club to post double-digit sacks over the last decade. However, we all know how that story unfolds. Atlanta didn’t bring him back following the 2019 season, and after stints with the Raiders and Titans, Beasley found himself out of the league.
AJ McCarron is another high-profile player in the XFL. The Falcons rostered the Alabama legend as a backup to Matt Ryan, but he ended up suffering a season-ending injury in the preseason.
Brian Hill actually had two stints with the Falcons after being drafted in the fifth round. He totaled 945 rushing yards, 313 receiving yards and four scores during his time in Atlanta. Another fifth-round pick, Stansly Maponga flamed out quickly, playing in 24 games over two years and only recording one sack.
There are also a pair of former Falcons punters in Sterling Hofrichter and Cameron Nizialek. The former was a seventh-round pick and was expected to take over for Matt Bosher, which never panned out. Nizialek bounced from the practice squad and active roster in 2020 and 2021 before ending up on the IR.
The XFL is an exciting venture, but I’m not sure how it will ever work because the NFL hardly has any dead time. The league is a master of maximizing each and every event — combine, draft, free agency, etc. I will be tuning in though because I need my football fix.
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