New York is the first of eight cities we believe should obtain an XFL franchise. The New York Designated Media Market is the largest in the United States, and while New York easily supports two NFL teams, there are no major NCAA players in the market (except perhaps Rutgers, who may be a respectable contender in the Big Ten by the time the XFL launches). Establishing a foothold in New York gives the XFL access to a football market that is almost impossible to saturate and places a team on the front porch of the NFL’s headquarters on Park Avenue. New York is the first of four teams in the East Division.
This blog post is the first installment of an eight-part Nachmany Football series on our newly created XFL Blog in which we will imagine rosters for each team. The only way for the XFL to succeed is for its teams to bring in high-quality, marketable talent to play in the league.
In a recent long-form column, we laid out a roadmap to success for the XFL. If you want to read that piece, it provides an exhaustive analysis of the league’s potential pitfalls and opportunities for success, and you can check it out here. As it pertains to this series, we lay out eight cities in the United States where it would make sense to place a team, as well as identifying a talent pool that would make sense from the standpoint of recruiting.
Below is a roster from across the spectrum of recommended talent for the league from our original post: NFL free agents, star college football players who will not be eligible for the NFL (and therefore compensation), top-flight international and U.S. rugby players, and former service academy football players (Army, Navy, and Air Force). We tried to place players where they have some sort of tie to the geographic region, but if that was not possible, we looked for the best fit given their personality or background. For NCAA players, we list in parenthesis the class year they would forgo to prepare for XFL play during the fall of 2019.
Continuing on the topic of NCAA players, raiding the college ranks USFL-style is the perfect way to generate buzz and bring in some of the top talent in football – the fact that these college players are not paid, despite their play generating billions of dollars in broadcast revenue, is a significant market gap. Imagine if the XFL started poaching Heisman winners before the NFL even had a crack at them.
After looking at the roster, we will discuss the makeup of the team. Make sure to follow our parent Twitter account @NachFootball and our XFL blogging account @XFLBlog, where we will be posting this, so we can continue the conversation. Also, subscribe to our Nachmany Football YouTube channel for video content throughout the football year.
QB Jake Fromm (NCAA Junior)
RB1 Jonathan Taylor (NCAA Junior)
RB2 A.J. Dillon (NCAA Junior)
WR1 Rueben Randle (NFL Free Agent)
WR2 Jerry Jeudy (NCAA Junior)
WR3 Justin Shorter (NCAA Sophomore)
TE Nick Kasa (NFL Free Agent)
LT Tyrus Thompson (NFL Free Agent)
LG Eric Herman (NFL Free Agent)
C Ben Petrula (NCAA Junior)
RG Ryan Seymour (NFL Free Agent)
RT Isaiah Wilson (NCAA Junior)
EDGE Quinton Coples (NFL Free Agent)
DT Kendall Reyes (NFL Free Agent)
DT Khyri Thornton (NFL Free Agent)
EDGE Maro Itoje (International Rugby)
LB Sio Moore (NFL Free Agent)
LB Khaili Fortt (NFL Free Agent)
LB Yawin Smallwood (NFL Free Agent)
CB Dee Milliner (NFL Free Agent)
FS Calvin Pryor (NFL Free Agent)
SS Beauden Barrett (International Rugby)
CB Dwayne Gratz (NFL Free Agent)
The New York team is made for primetime. By this time, Georgia’s Jake Fromm will be a household name, and his combination of poise and arm talent makes him a must-have for the league. A combination of two star running backs from the Northeast in Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor (New Jersey native) and Boston College’s A.J. Dillon (Massachusetts) will make for a lethal rushing attack.
On defense, a few former high-profile Jets are the building blocks for a solid unit. Quinton Coples, Dee Milliner, and Calvin Pryor are all known to the Jets faithful, and they headline the roster. The allure of New York is likely necessary to court international rugby superstars Maro Itoje and Beauden Barrett from their respective nations, and adding these tremendous athletes would take New York’s defense to another level.