While the XFL draft continues to roll into Day Two, the USFL lost another player to a different league. Days after seeing about 18 of their former players get drafted to XFL teams, the USFL saw Hunter Thedford, a Tight End for the Maulers become the 55th USFL player to sign an NFL contract. This time it will be as an Offensive Tackle with the New England Patriots.
Thedford is the 9th player from Kirby Wilson’s squad to be given an NFL opportunity. Thedford originally came to the USFL by way of Utah and SMU. Thedford played in 36 games, throughout his college career, recording 5 Receptions for 48 Yards. Though primarily a blocking Tight End, Thedford came into his own during the USFL’s 2022 season due to an injury to fellow Tight End Matt Seybert in which his role as a pass-catcher expanded.
Thedford added 13 receptions for 124 Yards and a touchdown during his USFL tenure. Despite his growth as a pass catcher, he did manage to put on an extra 30 pounds in an effort to increase his chances of earning an NFL contract. His time with the Patriots will be the second time he’s been given an NFL opportunity as prior to the USFL, he was in camp with the Detroit Lions in 2021. Regardless, the tenacity and grit Thedford has shown in an effort to earn NFL opportunities is definitely a worthwhile story.
As stated with the addition of Thedford to the Patriots, the USFL has had 55 players sign NFL contracts. As the season winds to an end, and the injuries continue to mount it’s not outlandish to believe that they could have a couple more players end up on practice squads and maybe make late season cameos. As the USFL continues to build rosters and look for talent the draw and opportunity they’ve provided for several members of the league is great recruiting tool especially with the XFL also now in the market for high level quality talent.