Creating XFL Rosters: Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Franchise

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Philadelphia is the second of eight cities we believe should obtain an XFL franchise. The Philadelphia Designated Media Market, perhaps surprisingly, is the fourth-largest in the United States (just behind New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago). With just one NFL team (Philadelphia Eagles) and one college team (Temple) in the direct vicinity, Philadelphia has room to support more football. Additionally, the attitude of the Philadelphia fanbase is somewhat perfect for supporting an XFL franchise – these are the type of fans that load up on “dog masks” before an NFC Championship Game and there are posts on most major news websites about this fan base is the rowdiest. Bringing the XFL to Philadelphia is an easy call. Philadelphia is the second of four teams in the East Division.

This blog post is the second installment of an eight-part Nachmany Football series on our newly created XFL Blog in which we will try to create 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: 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.

Roster

QB Michael Vick (NFL Free Agent)
RB1 Bernard Pierce (NFL Free Agent)
RB2 Perry Baker (USA Rugby)
WR1 Kain Colter (NFL Free Agent)
WR2 Madison Hughes (USA Rugby)
WR3 Carlin Isles (USA Rugby)
TE Arthur Lynch (NFL Free Agent)
LT Mekhi Becton (NCAA Junior)
LG Gino Gradkowski (NFL Free Agent)
C Peter Konz (NFL Free Agent)
RG Robert Hainsey (NCAA Junior)
RT Calvin Ashley (NCAA Junior)

EDGE Trevardo Williams (NFL Free Agent)
DT Devon Still (NFL Free Agent)
DT Brandon Thompson (NFL Free Agent)
EDGE Eyabi Anoma (NCAA Freshman)
LB Jarvis Jones (NFL Free Agent)
LB Micah Parsons (NCAA Sophomore)
LB Jonathan Davies (International Rugby)
CB Justin Gilbert (NFL Free Agent)
FS DeAngelo Gibbs (NCAA Junior)
SS Nate Ebner (USA Rugby/NFL Free Agent)
CB Shaun Wade (NCAA Junior)

The Philadelphia team is led by none other than former Eagles great Michael Vick, who would bring instant credibility and eyeballs to the XFL. A few players from USA’s rugby team fill out the offense, including the lightning-fast Carlin Isles (who happened to be an amazing kick returner in college on the gridiron). The offensive line is solid, with Gino Gradkowski and Peter Konz protecting Vick’s face and former Northwestern college quarterback Kain Colter providing Vick with a legitimate weapon on the outside. Do not sleep on Perry Baker, another rugby player who played for the Eagles before going on to do this on the rugby pitch:

The star-studded roster on defense features a few former Steelers, like Jarvis Jones and Justin Gilbert, to bring in fans from around the state. Former New England Patriots Super Bowl Champion Nate Ebner now plays rugby on the USA’s team, but he returns to football to play with his rugby teammates in the upstart league. Snagging Devon Still, a player with a feel-good story who disappeared from the NFL all of a sudden, would add to the intrigue.

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