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USFL: The 50 Best Players Not Yet Signed By NFL Teams

The USFL 2022 to NFL pipeline continues to grow. As of press time, 39 USFL players have been signed by NFL teams. Singings have been so hot and heavy recently that more names could be added to the overall tally by this article’s publication. After all, USFL players are still working out for NFL teams as the entire league prepares to kick off its preseason schedule.

Below is the current list of USFL players signed by NFL teams.

USFL Players Signed By NFL Teams (*39*) (8/7/22)

QB- Luis Perez- New Jersey Generals-LA Rams

QB- Kyle Sloter- New Orleans Breakers-Jacksonville Jaguars

RB- Matthew Colburn- Philadelphia Stars-Jacksonville Jaguars

WR- Devin Gray- Philadelphia Stars-Kansas City Chiefs

WR- KaVontae Turpin- New Jersey Generals-Dallas Cowboys

WR- Darrius Shepherd- New Jersey Generals- Denver Broncos

WR- Maurice Alexander Jr.- Philadelphia Stars-Detroit Lions 

WR- Victor Bolden- Birmingham Stallions-Arizona Cardinals

WR- Derrick Dillon- Tampa Bay Bandits- Cleveland Browns

WR- Bailey Gaither- Pittsburgh Maulers-Baltimore Ravens

WR- Rashard Davis- Tampa Bay Bandits-New York Jets

WR- Isaiah Zuber- Houston Gamblers-Las Vegas Raiders

WR- Osirus Mitchell- Birmingham Stallions-Green Bay Packers

WR- Lance Lenoir- Michigan Panthers-Philadelphia Eagles

WR- Ishmael Hyman-Michigan Panthers-Green Bay Packers

TE- Sal Canella- New Orleans Breakers-Green Bay Packers

TE- Sage Surratt- Birmingham Stallions-Los Angeles Chargers

TE- Bug Howard- Philadelphia Stars-Tampa Bay Buccaneers

OL- Garrett McGhin- New Jersey Generals-New York Giants

OL- Alex Akingbulu- Philadelphia Stars-Washington Commanders

OL- Darrin Paulo- Tampa Bay Bandits-Detroit Lions

DE- Chris Odom- Houston Gamblers-Cleveland Browns

DE- Carlo Kemp- Pittsburgh Maulers-Los Angeles Chargers

DT- Doug Costin- Birmingham Stallions-Pittsburgh Steelers

DT-Jeremiah Pharms- Pittsburgh Maulers-New England Patriots

DT- Domenique Davis-Houston Gamblers-Cincinnati Bengals

DT- Tomasi Laulile- Houston Gamblers- San Francisco 49ers

LB- DeMarquis Gates- Birmingham Stallions-Chicago Bears

LB- Christian Sam- New Orleans Breakers-Dallas Cowboys

LB- Tegray Scales- Houston Gamblers-Cincinnati Bengals

CB- Quenton Meeks- Tampa Bay Bandits-New Orleans Saints

DB- DeJuan Neal- New Jersey Generals-Washington Commanders

CB- De’Vante Bausby- New Jersey Generals-Washington Commanders

DB- Terrell Bonds- Pittsburgh Maulers- Tennessee Titans

DB- Shakur Brown- Pittsburgh Maulers-Tennessee Titans

CB- Channing Stribling- Philadelphia Stars-Washington Commanders

CB- Tae Hayes- Birmingham Stallions-Carolina Panthers

DB- Tino Ellis- Michigan Panthers-Miami Dolphins

CB- Ike Brown- New Orleans Breakers-Las Vegas Raiders

The National Football League kicked off its 2022 preseason schedule last Thursday night at, ironically enough, Tom Benson Hall Of Fame Stadium, the location of the 2022 USFL Championship game a month earlier. So it was fitting that three of the USFL’s 2022 players would be playing in the game for the Jacksonville Jaguars (QB Kyle Sloter) and the Las Vegas Raiders (DB Ike Brown & WR Isaiah Zuber).

Many USFL players who have signed with NFL teams have previous experience in the league. The USFL provided a vehicle for many players like Kyle Sloter to find their way back. Sloter, who threw the game’s only touchdown pass, reunited after the game with Derek Carr. The two signal-callers were teammates with the Raiders last season.

Roster Openings For USFL Players

Although all 32 NFL teams are nearly maxed out at 90 players and are starting up their preseason slate. There could still be some more openings on rosters for USFL players.

The unfortunate and inevitable reality of injuries opens the door for other players. For example, the player who caught Kyle Sloter’s td pass on Thursday, RB Nathan Cottrell, was waived with an injury designation three days after the game. Cottrell’s injury opened the door for Stars RB Matt Colburn to work out for Jacksonville and earn a roster spot.

The back end of NFL rosters can be very unforgiving. Currently, teams are at 90 players, but three layers of cuts will be in the next few weeks.

Key NFL Roster Dates

Tuesday, August 16: NFL rosters reduced from 90 to 85

Tuesday, August 23: NFL rosters reduced from 85 to 80

Tuesday, August 30: Final cuts from 80 to 53

After final roster cuts, Then from there, teams will put together their 16-player practice squads. But NFL rosters are subject to change on a weekly basis. So that could leave the door open for many USFL players throughout the NFL season that are still available.

There are plenty of USFL players deserving of an NFL opportunity. But unfortunately, the numbers game can’t allow every player to get a shot. Be that as it may, here are the players I think should be on NFL rosters right now.

Below are my top 50 USFL players that, as of August 8, had not signed with an NFL team.

Players are listed by their position.

The 50 Best USFL Players Not Yet Signed By NFL Teams

Quarterbacks

Jordan Ta’amu, Tampa Bay Bandits
J’Mar Smith, Birmingham Stallions
DeAndre Johnson, New Jersey Generals

Honorable mention: Bryan Scott, Philadelphia Stars. Had it not been for an early season injury, Scott was on pace to lead the USFL in every passing category.

Notes: Stars QB Case Cookus would be on this list if not for a broken leg in the USFL championship game. Depending on recovery time, the injury could keep him out of action for 9-12 months. KJ Costello, who replaced Cookus in the big game, has been on the NFL workout circuit and could get more looks. Maulers QB Vad Lee has also received workouts.

At this late stage, hopping on an NFL roster for a quarterback is very challenging, and the likelihood is that you’d have to hope for a role on a team’s practice squad.

But what does help players like Ta’amu, who led the league in passing yards and touchdowns, is previous experience. Ta’amu has had plenty of it the last two years on NFL practice squads. J’Mar Smith is still only 25 years old and showed good poise and dual-threat qualities for the champion Stallions. DeAndre Johnson is raw, but before the injury, he was arguably the most dynamic athlete in the USFL. In practice, Johnson could have value on a PS simulating the opposing team’s mobile quarterbacks.

Running Backs

Darius Victor, New Jersey Generals
Reggie Corbin, Michigan Panthers
Bo Scarbrough, Birmingham Stallions
Mark Thompson, Houston Gamblers
Jordan Ellis, New Orleans Breakers
Trey Williams, New Jersey Generals

Notes: Surprisingly, only one USFL RB has signed on with an NFL team at this point.

Even more surprising is that USFL offensive player of the year Darius Victor and Reggie Corbin have not signed onto an NFL roster. Both are very talented and deserving—two of the more exciting runners in the USFL this past Spring. Victor led the league in rushing touchdowns, and the big-play Corbin led the league’s top runners in yards per rush (5.5).

Like Victor and Corbin, Bo Scarbrough has been on the NFL workout radar. The former Crimson tide bruiser joined the USFL in midseason and made quite the impact for the Stallions. Jordan Ellis may not have been as flashy as some other backs in the league. But he led the USFL in rushing.

Mark Thompson is as gifted an athlete as any back in the USFL. But his off-field issues at Florida may work against him. Age could work against Trey Williams, who will be 30 in December. But he showed outstanding leadership and versatility for New Jersey. Williams finished second in the USFL with 579 rushing yards, and he probably would have finished first if not for Darius Victor finishing third in the league.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Jonathan Adams, New Orleans Breakers
Jordan Suell, Philadelphia Stars
Tre Walker, Pittsburgh Maulers
Marlon Williams, Birmingham Stallions
Johnnie Dixon, New Orleans Breakers

(TE) Cheyenne O’Grady, Tampa Bay Bandits
Connor Davis, Michigan Panthers

Honorable Mention: KR: Cameron Echols-Luper, New Jersey Generals, Taywan Taylor, New Orleans Breakers

Notes: 15 USFL WR/TEs have signed on with NFL teams. An impressive number. And a talented bunch. KaVontae Turpin, the league’s MVP, who signed a three-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys, could be the most significant difference maker in the NFL coming out of USFL 2022.

Jonathan Adams and Jordan Suell have great size (6’3 & 6’6) and are coming off productive springs. The Stallions Marlon Williams was third in the league in yards per catch (14.8). Tre Walker and Johnnie Dixon were effective on offense and in the return game. TE Cheyenne Grady was ninth overall in the league in receiving and finished second in receptions (32) for all league tight ends, behind only Sal Canella.

Offensive Line

Jake Lacina, OC, New Jersey Generals
Jordan McCray, OC, Birmingham Stallions
Jared Thomas, OC, New Orleans Breakers
Cameron Hunt, OG, Birmingham Stallions
Jarron Jones, OT, Tampa Bay Bandits
Terry Poole, OT, New Jersey Generals
Calvin Ashley, OL, New Jersey Generals

Damien Mama, OL, Tampa Bay Bandits

Notes: Five players in the above list made the All-USFL team. The Generals and the Stallions had the two best offensive lines in the league. Terry Poole, the former Seattle Seahawks fourth-round pick, was a standout in the AAF, the XFL, and was fantastic for New Jersey in the USFL.

OL Calvin Ashley was a five-star recruit in college, but things didn’t pan out for him or during his brief stint in the NFL coming out of school. But at only 24 years old, Ashley still has excellent upside.

Defensive Line

Toby Johnson, DT, New Jersey Generals
Davin Bellamy, DE, New Orleans Breakers
Reggie Howard, DT, New Orleans Breakers
Adam Rodriguez, DE, Philadelphia Stars
Freedom Akinmoladun, DT, Philadelphia Stars

Daylon Mack, DT, Tampa Bay Bandits
Travis Feeney, DE, Tampa Bay Bandits
Willie Yarbary, DT, Birmingham Stallions

Notes: Toby Johnson was the USFL’s best interior player against the run. He made the All-USFL team in 2022. Davin Bellamy and Reggie Howard also received the same honor. Adam Rodriguez was second in league with nine sacks in 10 games.

Linebacker

Scooby Wright, Birmingham Stallions
Jerod Fernandez, New Orleans Breakers
Donald Payne, Houston Gamblers
Frank Ginda, Michigan Panthers
D’Juan Hines, New Jersey Generals
Chris Orr, New Jersey Generals
Greg Reaves, Tampa Bay Bandits

Vontae Diggs, New Orleans Breakers
Kyahva Tezino, Pittsburgh Maulers

Notes: Scooby Wright had a phenomenal 2022 season with the Stallions. Like his teammate DeMarquis Gates, who signed with the Bears, Wright has had a lot of success in spring pro football the last few years. Wright is overdue for another shot in the NFL.

Veteran Donald Payne was highly productive in the USFL. He registered 117 tackles in ten games, three interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, and recorded two sacks.

Defensive Backs

Will Likely, CB, Houston Gamblers
Jameson Houston, CB, Michigan Panthers
Dravon Askew-Henry, DB, New Jersey Generals
Shalom Luani, S, New Jersey Generals
Bryce Torneden, S, Pittsburgh Maulers
Cody Brown, S, Philadelphia Stars

Special Teams

Cole Murphy, K, Michigan Panthers

Brandon Wright, P, Tampa Bay Bandits

Ryan Navarro, LS, Philadelphia Stars

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Todd

    August 20, 2022 at 3:25 pm

    Yeah, Scooby Wright should be on a team. I am sure some of these players will need to hone skills next spring again, but they could see time with injuries throughout the fall

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