Players to Watch
QB Brogan Roback
We have long awaited the return of Hard Knocks favorite Brogan Roback. Roback played at Eastern Michigan and was cut after one preseason with the Cleveland Browns, but he shined on TV – as he captured the hearts of America in his RV with Baker Mayfield. Oh, and he also has an awesome name. He is the most electric third-string quarterback in the history of sports.
QB Nick Fitzgerald
He is the most electric fourth-string quarterback/maybe fourth-string tight end in the history of sports. Nick Fitzgerald is a pretty horrendous passer. In his three years as a starter at Mississippi State, his best season in completion percentage was only 59% and his best year in yards per attempt was only 6.7. However, Fitzgerald is an outstanding runner, as he finished his career with 3,607 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns.
QB Jordan Ta’Amu
Slated to be the starting quarterback, Ta’Amu was a standout at Ole Miss. He originally got the starting job after filling in for an injured Shea Patterson. After Ta’Amu’s successful season, Patterson opted to transfer to a team he thought he had a better chance to win at, and where he would have a guaranteed starting spot rather than have a quarterback competition with Ta’Amu. Ta’Amu was an UDFA, but signed with the Houston Texans. However, he never got to play in a preseason game and was cut less than a month after he signed. Ta’Amu certainly deserves the starting job on this team, but his skillset isn’t as unique as Fitzgerald’s and his name is cool, but not as cool as Brogan Roback.
S Kenny Robinson
Robinson might not be well known to many fans, but he is probably the most important player in the XFL. The star safety’s career could cement the XFL as an alternative to college football. Robinson is only 21 years old – making him the youngest player to enter the XFL draft. Robinson was a standout at West Virginia, coming in as a three-star recruit and ended his career with not only an All-Big 12 honorable mention, but also – a year later – a spot on the All-Big 12 first team. However, Robinson’s mother was diagnosed with cancer that year. Robinson looked to enter the transfer portal to go to a school closer to his hometown of Pittsburgh, but a new opportunity presented itself with the XFL draft. The XFL offered the whole package for Robinson, he would be able to make money to support his family and his sick mother, and would be preparing for the NFL draft. Additionally, the XFL is paying for Robinson to attend classes so he can also continue his education. Robinson is a tremendous defensive back with a unique story, and he made the bold choice to try an alternative route to the NFL and I’m sure more will follow in his footsteps.
S Will Hill
Will Hill started in 32 games over his 4-year NFL career and was a capable NFL defensive back. In 2015, Hill failed a drug test and was subsequently cut by the Ravens. He never returned to the NFL and is now joining his fifth (yes, FIFTH) professional football league. Hill has played in the National Football League, the Arena Football League, the Canadian Football League, the Alliance of American Football, and now the XFL. That alone is insane and is a feat I don’t think anyone outside of him has accomplished. Hill will (haha) certainly bring experience to what should be a loaded secondary led by him and Kenny Robinson.
P Marquette King
Marquette King was the most exciting punter in the NFL outside of Pat McAfee during his five-year stretch with the Raiders. King was one of the few punters to be known for his great personality on and off the field, but he was also a stellar punter.
King was an All-Pro in 2016 and is fourth all-time in yards per punt. The Raiders shockingly cut him to clear cap space in 2018 and he was later cut by the Broncos that same year.
RB Christine Michael
Christine Michael was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Michael was meant to be Marshawn Lynch’s successor and split carries with him, but he was never used much in Seattle. He only had 18 carries his first year and 34 in his second before getting traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a 7th round pick. Michael then bounced around the league, playing last in the 2018 season. Michael was signed and waived by the Seahawks two more times. Michael has certainly been given the label of a bust, but he now has a chance to prove himself in the XFL and – as a 29-year-old running back – this is likely his last shot.
Three Facts About Head Coach Jonathan Hayes
- Bengals TE coach 2003-2018
- Played TE in the NFL from 1985-1996
- Coach Hayes’ son Jaxson was a first round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and is currently on the New Orleans Pelicans