With the XFL Draft now behind us, the league shifts its focus towards training camp. Believe it or not, we are only a month or so away from the XFL teams officially coming together in January.
Our team identities began to take shape this week.
The #XFLDraft, presented by @ZipRecruiter, was just the beginning. Training Camp, here we come! pic.twitter.com/ITC4tjxZvW
— XFL (@XFL2023) November 20, 2022
There will be a supplemental draft held in early January before training camp begins. That being said, training camp rosters have been mostly filled out at this point, with only a few holes to fill.
Let’s take a look at a few wide receivers returning to the XFL, and what they bring to their respective teams.
Austin Proehl | St. Louis Battlehawks
Austin Proehl is back in the XFL. The Seattle Dragons legend now joins Anthony Becht and the Battlehawks in St. Louis.
Round 11 #XFL Draft Recap:
DC: WR Lucky Jackson
STL: WR Austin Proehl
SA: TE Deandre Goolsby
Orl: WR Cody Latimer
VV: TE Grayson Gunter
Sea: WR Jaylon Redd
Arl: WR Jordan Smallwood
Hou: RB Brycen Alleyne
Austin Proehl is BACK! He scored the first TD in the XFL 2.0. Legend. pic.twitter.com/8GhnhxTYnU
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenMI) November 16, 2022
Proehl was a bigtime playmaker for Seattle in 2020. In fact, Austin scored the first ever touchdown in the XFL 2.0, on a pass from Brandon Silvers.
Brandon Silvers ➡️ Austin Proehl
The first TD from the new XFL 🙌 pic.twitter.com/g99Kp5Gi8b
— ESPN (@espn) February 8, 2020
He finished the short season with 16 catches for 225 yards, and three scores. Proehl is the son of Ricky Proehl, who played 17 seasons in the NFL. Interestingly enough, Ricky is on Becht’s staff in St. Louis. Clearly, he played a part in bringing Austin to the Battlehawks. Expect Austin to do big things in the XFL in 2023.
Saeed Blacknall | Vegas Vipers
An exciting prospect for the XFL’s 2023 season is Saeed Blacknall, formerly of the Los Angeles Wildcats. Blacknall is an explosive target, with size – and an amazing ability to track the football.
I'm excited to see WR Saeed Blacknall back in the #XFL. Rod Woodson snagged a gem for the Vegas Vipers.
In 2020, Blacknall was an elite target for Josh Johnson & the Wildcats. This moment, in particular, is one of my favorites from spring football.pic.twitter.com/x23i700jyI
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenMI) November 30, 2022
In 2020, he only caught four passes; but those grabs went for 120 yards, including two touchdowns. Blacknall was drafted by the Vegas Vipers, and will look to settle into Rod Woodson’s system. If all goes well, Saeed should be a star in the XFL this year.
Jalen Tolliver | San Antonio Brahmas
Hines Ward picked up a gem in the XFL draft. Jalen Tolliver, who played for the Tampa Bay Vipers, now joins the San Antonio Brahmas. Tolliver was one of the league’s best wide outs, racking up 21 receptions for 297 yards.
Taylor Cornelius is on 🔥🔥🔥
Check out this bullet to WR Jalen Tolliver for 6 (via @ESPN)
1-point conversion GOOD.
Tampa Bay still ahead, now 24-6 in the 2nd Quarter.#XFL | #FangGang pic.twitter.com/SHvEa1fYa0
— XFL Moment (@XFLMoment) March 9, 2020
Despite the Vipers’ constant carousel of quarterbacks, Tolliver was consistent throughout the season. Week in and week out he made plays for Tampa Bay, showcasing his impressive skill sets. If his level of play is anything close to what we saw in 2020, Jalen will be outstanding in San Antonio.
Dontez Byrd | Orlando Guardians
Dontez Byrd is back in the XFL, which is great news for the league. Byrd struggled to find a rhythm in Jim Zorn’s system in Seattle – but has proven himself to be a playmaker on the spring football stage. He caught five passes for 44 yards with the Dragons in 2020.
Setting up that first touchdown — Brandon Silvers to Dontez Byrd for 28 yards pic.twitter.com/FsfVwPWVG3
— Arif Hasan, hates turkey 🙅♂️🦃 (@ArifHasanNFL) February 8, 2020
Byrd now joins the Orlando Guardians, under the leadership of Terrell Buckley. Byrd is a versatile receiver, and was used in a variety of different ways by the Memphis Express in the AAF. Expect Byrd to make an impact in Orlando.
Brandon Silvers is getting it DONE!
Dontez Byrd with the TD reception and Orlando is on upset alert! 🚨🚨🚨
— PFF_XFL (@PFFXFL) March 30, 2019
Jeff Badet | Vegas Vipers
The speedster himself, Jeff Badet, lands in Vegas with the Vipers. Badet played with the Dallas Renegades in 2020. Similar to Tolliver, Badet dealt with multiple quarterbacks who were in and out of the lineup.
Jeff Badet pick up 14, 4 and out for Dallas #XFL #XFLFootball pic.twitter.com/5VVtM3P8HB
— XFL Highlights (@XFLPlays) February 16, 2020
Despite this, Jeff was an important piece to Bob Stoops’ offense in Dallas. Badet finished the season with 16 receptions for 108 yards. His performance was enough to earn himself a stint with the Washington Commanders in 2021. Now, Badet will return to the XFL to begin a new chapter in his career.
Generally speaking, the XFL brought in quite a bit of talent for their 2023 season. Each team drafted quite well across the board, as the competition should be quite entertaining come week one.
We’re pleased with all of the familiar faces we saw in the draft, and can’t wait to see all these exceptional athletes hit the field in February. Stay tuned, folks.
Josh Johnson with the 💣 and the game is TIED
🖥 https://t.co/iqMWPR5nuH pic.twitter.com/sbqTMWIAQN
— XFL (@XFL2023) February 29, 2020
Which wide receiver are you most excited to watch in the XFL this season? Of these five wide outs returning in the XFL Draft, who do you think will make an impact? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!