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PR: USFL Unveils Unique Format For Inaugural Player Draft

Birmingham to Host Historic Two-Day Event February 22-23

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., February 18, 2022 – The new United States Football League (USFL) today unveils the details for its 35-round inaugural Player Draft. This historic two-day event will take place February 22-23 in Birmingham, home to all regular-season games in 2022.

“We’re looking forward to conducting our inaugural USFL Draft and selecting the League’s first 280 players over two days,” said Brian Woods, USFL President, Football Operations. “For the 2022 season, we’re using an analytic modified snake system that’s equitable for all our teams during our first-ever draft. Our teams have needs at every position, so we also chose a unique format that made our teams focus on evaluating and drafting key positions first.”

Officially known as the Player Selection Meeting, Day 1 of the inaugural USFL Draft will be Tuesday, February 22, from 6:00-9:00 PM CT. It will consist of 12 rounds and will distinctively proceed by position, beginning with quarterback (Round 1 Overall), followed by edge rusher/defensive end (Rounds 2-4), offensive tackle (Rounds 5-7), cornerback (Rounds 8-11), and back to quarterback (Round 12). Teams will have two minutes per selection on Day 1.  For the first time in a major professional sports draft, the selection order will use an analytical modified snake system between positional rounds so that each team has two number-one picks at two positions.

Yesterday, the USFL Draft lottery draw was conducted live nationally on FS1 during Speak for Yourself by co-hosts Marcellus Wiley and Emmanuel Acho. This resulted in each team being assigned a selection number 1 through 8 for each round. The Michigan Panthers will make the first-ever draft pick in the new USFL. The following “Inaugural USFL Player Draft Order” illustrates how the specific team draft positions for 280 picks in 35 rounds used an analytic modified snake system to provide maximum fairness. Here are three highlighted rounds to demonstrate how this unique format provides three different teams the top pick for three different positions:

Round 1 (Overall)                               Round 2 (Overall)                               Round 5 (Overall)

QUATERBACK                                   EDGE/DEFENSIVE END                     OFFENSIVE TACKLE

(Round 1, QB)                                     (Round 1, Edge/DE)                           (Round 1, OT)

1.  Michigan Panthers                          8.  New Orleans Breakers                    7.  Pittsburgh Maulers

2.  Tampa Bay Bandits                         7.  Pittsburgh Maulers                          6.  Birmingham Stallions

3.  Philadelphia Stars                           6.  Birmingham Stallions                      5.  Houston Gamblers

4.  New Jersey Generals                      5.  Houston Gamblers                          8.  New Orleans Breakers

5.  Houston Gamblers                          4.  New Jersey Generals                      1.  Michigan Panthers

6.  Birmingham Stallions                      3.  Philadelphia Stars                           4.  New Jersey Generals

7.  Pittsburgh Maulers                          2.  Tampa Bay Bandits                         3.  Philadelphia Stars

8.  New Orleans Breakers                    1.  Michigan Panthers                          2.  Tampa Bay Bandits            

Day 2 of the USFL Draft will start at 9:00 AM CT on Wednesday, February 23, and will proceed until 35 rounds are completed. During rounds 13-23, teams will have 90 seconds to execute a pick, and the position order will be: wide receiver (Rounds 13-17); safety (Rounds 18-19); center (Round 20); inside linebacker (Round 21); and guard (Rounds 22-23). The selection time will be one minute for rounds 23 through 35, and the position order will be: defensive tackle/nose tackle (Rounds 24-26); running back/fullback (Rounds 27-28); outside linebacker (Rounds 29-31); kicker (Round 32); punter (Round 33); tight end/h-back (Round 34), and long-snapper (Round 35). Teams are required to draft at least one player from each position group.

Should a team let its time expire in any round without a selection, it can still choose a player, but it risks letting the team on the clock take the player it was considering.

Trades between teams to achieve a different selection order or acquire a player or players will not be permitted. However, a team may elect to pass during any round in exchange for a compensatory pick that may be used at the conclusion of a different position round. If more than one team utilizes a compensatory pick in a given round, the draft order within that position round will determine the order for compensatory selections.

USFL teams are drafting from a pool of 450-500 players who have already signed contracts to play in the League. Only players who have signed contracts are eligible for selection.

The USFL will also conduct a 10-round supplemental draft on March 10 to select 80 more players. This gives potential players more time to opt in with a signed contract. Teams will have two minutes between selections during the supplemental draft, and teams may select from any position group. At the conclusion of the supplemental draft, each team will have 45 players, for a League total of 360 players. Once the season begins on April 16, each team’s active roster will have 38 players plus a seven-man practice squad.

Closed to the general public, the USFL will provide real-time coverage of the 2022 Player Draft, including selection reporting, features, and behind-the-scenes content through its League and team social channels on theUSFL.comTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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About the USFL

The United States Football League (USFL) is a new, independent football league controlled by FOX Sports through USFL HoldCo, LLC, a new business entity, and it is not associated or affiliated with the USFL of the 1980s or its owners. As a spring football league, the USFL will launch April 16 with eight teams split into two divisions: the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits in the South Division; and the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, and Pittsburgh Maulers in the North Division. Each team will play a 10-game regular-season in Birmingham Alabama. Playoff semifinals between the top two teams in each division, and a championship game between division winners will be played in Canton, Ohio. The USFL will hold an inaugural Player Draft February 22-23, and training camps will open on March 21. The USFL will provide an opportunity to play professional football for more than 360 athletes, as each team will carry a 38-man active roster plus a seven-man practice squad. USFL players will receive base compensation in addition to being eligible for victory bonuses. NBC Sports and FOX Sports are the League’s official media partners, committed to carrying all 43 regular- and postseason games on FOX, FS1, NBC, USA, or Peacock networks. Brian Woods is President, Football Operations, and former Dallas Cowboys standout and long-time NFL on FOX game analyst Daryl Johnston is Executive Vice President, Football Operations. Former NFL Vice President of Officiating and FOX Sports’ NFL and college football rules analyst Mike Pereira is Head of Officiating, and FOX Sports’ Edward Hartman is Executive Vice President, Business Operations. For more information, visit http://theUSFL.com and follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Mark is the founder and editor of USFL News Hub. The site was started in February of 2022. He is an expert on all things spring football related. Contact him directly by emailing mark.perry@usflnewshub.com

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