Fayetteville is the third of eight cities we believe should obtain an XFL franchise. As we mentioned in our XFL Roadmap, the NFL is likely losing supporters of the military with the recent National Anthem saga. Therefore, we recommend doubling down on the military and placing four of the eight XFL franchises in military cities. Fayetteville, North Carolina, home to the Army’s largest base at Fort Bragg, is the first of these cities on the board. Fayetteville is the third of four teams in the East Division.
This blog post is the third 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.
QB Justin Fields (NCAA Sophomore)
RB1 Cam Akers (NCAA Junior)
RB2 Ahmad Bradshaw (Army Football)
WR1 Aaron Dobson (NFL Free Agent)
WR2 Edgar Poe (Army Football)
WR3 Tee Higgins (NCAA Junior)
TE Israel Folau (International Rugby)
LT Brennan Williams (WWE/NFL Free Agent)
LG Robert Myers (NFL Free Agent)
C Bryce Holland (Army Football)
RG Trey Smith (NCAA Junior)
RT Brett Toth (Army Football)
EDGE K.J. Henry (NCAA Sophomore)
DT Mike Martin (NFL Free Agent)
DT LaMonte McDougle (NCAA Junior)
EDGE Xavier Thomas (NCAA Sophomore)
LB Andrew King (Army Football)
LB Eddy Ruzga (Army Football)
LB Jeremy Timpf (Army Football)
CB Jayron Hosley (NFL Free Agent)
FS Xavier Moss (Army Football)
SS Reed Blankenship (NCAA Junior)
CB T.J. Carter (NCAA Junior)
The Fayetteville team is heavy on Army Football stars, and it is by design. Fayetteville may not be the largest market, but support for the Army is as big here as it is anywhere. On offense, four Army players give the roster a big boost, including quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw at running back. Along with the Army players, a few others stand out, including former NFL tackle and now WWE athlete Brennan Williams. Yes, I recognize that Vince McMahon said there would be no talent crossover, but this one should be an exception, given his obvious aptitude for the game. Finally, luring NCAA stars like Justin Fields and Cam Akers would be a big draw.
On defense, we find more Army players. The entire linebacking corps could be its own company, with former captain Andrew King leading the way. The defensive backfield may be a bit small, but it makes up for a lack of size with great speed and technique. Up front, three of four defensive linemen are also raided from the NCAA, giving the unit an infusion of youth and hunger that will serve it well.