The XFL season is nearly upon us. The Super Bowl is in the rearview mirror. What’s ahead? A spectacular kickoff this weekend, as XFL quarterbacks prepare themselves for week one.
Not us breaking the internet on someone else's big day… 👀
See y'all this weekend.#FootballAintOver
— XFL (@XFL2023) February 13, 2023
It is going to be quite the entertaining slate of football. As with any new league, there are many unknowns. Sure, we can analyze all we want – but, until we see the product each team actually puts on the field, pre-season predictions can only go so far.
With that in mind, it’s time to make some predictions. Let’s take a look at who’s likely in line to start for each XFL team – and, which quarterbacks should make the biggest impact this weekend.
Arlington Renegades: Kyle Sloter
The Arlington Renegades are ready to raise hell during opening weekend. Under the leadership of Bob Stoops, the team is set to do great things in 2023.
1️⃣➡️1️⃣5️⃣@Kylesloter and @Brandon_zylstra add to the #Vikings lead. pic.twitter.com/ZPc0xBBH2T
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) August 31, 2018
It would make sense to see Kyle Sloter play a major role in Arlington’s offense, at least to start. Sloter is, by far, the most accomplished quarterback on the Renegades roster. He has had plenty of success with multiple NFL organizations, and most recently spent pre-season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Sloter played in the USFL in 2022. He helped lead the New Orleans Breakers to the playoffs, serving as an All-USFL QB for the team.
For those of you might be unfamiliar with Kyle Sloter (playing in the HOF game), he was one of the USFL's premier quarterbacks; when healthy. It's great to see him back on an NFL field.
The #USFL continues to prove that they had quality talent in 2022. pic.twitter.com/vTCidISu2V
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenPFN) August 5, 2022
If Bob Stoops takes the same approach that he did in 2020, expect Sloter to start. Stoops stuck with Landry Jones for most of the 2020 season – at least, when Jones was healthy – due to Jones’ previous accolades as a quarterback.
In addition, Sloter is already familiar with some of Arlington’s pieces (i.e. Sal Cannella). If Sloter can settle into a comfortable role in Stoops’ system, the Renegades will have one of the most potent offenses in the XFL.
DC Defenders: Jordan Ta’amu
Things are made a bit more clear for us in DC. Jordan Ta’amu is back. The XFL fan favorite from 2020 is set to start for the DC Defenders on Sunday, when they face off against Seattle.
A true dual threat.@JTaamu10 put on a show in the #XFL pic.twitter.com/W5emVwR2ar
— XFL (@XFL2023) March 24, 2020
Jordan Ta’amu brings quite a bit of talent to DC’s starting lineup. Reggie Barlow has a very versatile QB in Ta’amu, as he can impact the game through the air – and on the ground.
In 2022, Ta’amu led the USFL in passing yards, and touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Bandits. Unfortunately, the team didn’t make the postseason; but, Ta’amu performed quite well considering how inconsistent the pieces were around him.
THERE WE GO 🔥@rasharddavis6 hauls in a dime from @JTaamu10 and gets us on the board
📺: @FOXSports pic.twitter.com/JIEzprwBbu
— Tampa Bay Bandits (@USFLBandits) June 12, 2022
Now, Ta’amu will look to bring a Championship to DC. Defenders fans should be thrilled to have the spring football legend on their squad for 2023.
Houston Roughnecks: Cole McDonald
Wade Phillips has some decisions to make in Houston. The team has three QBs currently on the roster – including former XFL starter, Brandon Silvers.
.@Bsilv_12 to @AustinProehl11. Touchdown. #ForTheLoveOfFootball | #BreathingFire 🔥🐲 pic.twitter.com/z5UC94WSut
— Seattle Sea Dragons (@XFLSeaDragons) February 8, 2020
Silvers has been around in plenty of spring leagues himself (AAF, TSL, XFL). He has the starting experience that most other 2023 quarterbacks don’t have in spring football. For all intents and purposes, Silvers would be the “safe” choice for Houston.
In contrast, Cole McDonald could prove to be the guy that the Roughnecks need to stay undefeated. McDonald was sensational in college at Hawaii. Like almost every other XFL quarterback, though, he hasn’t proved himself at a professional level.
Cole McDonald may throw for a 100 TDs last year. pic.twitter.com/5nZCXLD2SF
— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) August 25, 2019
While McDonald isn’t exactly a dual threat QB, he is surprisingly quick for his size. He ran for over 700 yards in his final two seasons at Hawaii, on top of throwing for almost 8,000 yards and 70 touchdowns. Given the potential that McDonald possesses, it would be wise to let him start the season as the signal caller.
Orlando Guardians: Deondre Francois
The situation in Orlando is pretty unique. Deondre Francois was originally assigned to the team back in November. However, since then the former first round NFL pick – Paxton Lynch – signed with the Guardians.
It will be interesting to see how everything plays out. First and foremost, Lynch certainly possesses quite a bit of talent. We saw him display his leadership down the stretch in the USFL, leading the Michigan Panthers to a big-time win to finish the season.
The @PaxtonLynch Game: 275 yards, 3 TD | Week 10 vs. Pittsburgh
When healthy, Lynch was quite impressive for the @USFLPanthers. He certainly fit Michigan's offense well. Should Jeff Fisher roll with Lynch heading into 2023? #USFL | @USFLNewsroompic.twitter.com/LrOKXIGXcJ
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenPFN) July 18, 2022
With that in mind, Francois is an intriguing prospect simply because we don’t know what he is fully capable of. Francois has been excellent in the FCF over the past couple of years. He is also a dual threat QB, bringing an additional set of skills to the team.
Fans were able to pick team names, submit & choose logos, draft players, call plays and so on.
[QB Deondre Francois (@_Dirtie) hits WR Richaud Floyd (@Richaud_Floyd17) for a 25 Yard TD] pic.twitter.com/ODz3AeWWn5
— The Alternate Football Scout (@altfbscout) December 2, 2021
Considering Francois brings more potential upside to the Guardians, it could pay off to hand him the keys to start. If things go downhill, then Lynch can take over to try and turn things around.
Last time we played UNC. @_Dirtie had 404 total yards and did this 😢 pic.twitter.com/kHe7X3q9n9
— . (@Nole352) October 17, 2020
With Orlando’s ridiculous core of receivers, Francois could be the x-factor in bringing success to the XFL franchise.
San Antonio Brahmas: Jack Coan
The San Antonio Brahmas announced that Jack Coan will be their starting QB in week one. Coan is certainly one of the sleepers in the XFL. He doesn’t get the “hype” that others (i.e. McCarron, Hundley) may get.
That being said, Jack Coan is a solid choice for Hines Ward in San Antonio. Coan had an excellent college career at Wisconsin, before transferring to Notre Dame for his final year.
Jack Coan popped his finger back in and then threw the game winning TD
FOOTBALL GUY pic.twitter.com/WnNYtcRtBv
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 11, 2021
His senior year at Notre Dame was special. Coan threw for over 3,100 yards – and 25 touchdowns. He was an impressive leader for Notre Dame all year long.
Former Notre Dame QB Jack Coan has his first career NFL preseason touchdown pass.
Dart. Dime. pic.twitter.com/omsy9aSFEV
— Tyler Horka (@tbhorka) August 20, 2022
After a short NFL stint with the Indianapolis Colts, Coan now lands in the XFL. With all of the weapons that the Brahmas have on the roster, expect Coan to do well in Ward’s system.
Seattle Sea Dragons: Ben DiNucci
As of right now, everything points to Ben DiNucci being the starter in Seattle. Since arriving in Seattle, DiNucci has been on everyone’s radar, and for good reason.
A little window for @B_DiNucci6 and @_BSmith12's there!
📺: #DALvsAZ on @NFLNetwork (or check local listings)
📱: https://t.co/xnJMihfsxy pic.twitter.com/8k8UjVGAqu
— NFL (@NFL) August 14, 2021
Ben is looking to find his footing on a professional stage. He spent a few years with the Dallas Cowboys, seeing some production here and there. Now, he turns to the XFL for the next chapter of his career.
DiNucci put up excellent numbers at James Madison. In just two years he threw for 5,700 yards and 45 touchdowns. In addition, he did play reasonably well during his limited minutes in Dallas throughout both the pre-season and the regular season.
.@dallascowboys WR Johnnie Dixon got 🆙 for that TD!@YoungKing_JD5 | @B_DiNucci6
📺: #JAXvsDAL on @NFLNetwork (or check local listings)
📱: https://t.co/38GyzbwYJW pic.twitter.com/wxfRMsoWk4
— NFL (@NFL) August 29, 2021
Steven Montez has decent upside as well, but it would make sense to see DiNucci get the start. He has professional experience already, and seems to have a solid connection with WR Josh Gordon.
St. Louis Battlehawks: AJ McCarron
Anthony Becht wanted AJ McCarron on his team. Now, with only a few days left in training camp, it appears as if McCarron will be the starter.
This fit feels natural for the team. Given that the Battlehawks released QB Ryan Willis, McCarron has emerged as the likely signal caller for St. Louis. Nick Tiano will be next in line, and the team did just sign Manny Wilkins. However, given McCarron’s current status on the team, we should expect to see him get minutes before anyone else.
57 days until Alabama football, celebrate with a 57 yard BOMB by AJ McCarron! pic.twitter.com/P9iZpOqKB5
— #1 TEAM IN THE COUNTRY BARSTOOL BAMA (@BarstoolAlabama) July 8, 2022
McCarron has had quite the journey to the XFL. The former standout at Alabama saw some success in the NFL, with the Cincinnati Bengals. After that, he was bounced around between a couple of other NFL organizations, but couldn’t find stability.
Özlemişiz bee! Bigün efsane olacaksın @10AJMcCarron@Bengals #NFL pic.twitter.com/wSKhakvykA
— JT26 (@John____Terry) August 13, 2016
Clearly, Becht wanted AJ in St. Louis. He played a major role in getting him into the XFL. With kickoff just around the corner, those St. Louis faithful will likely be cheering for McCarron as they watch the Battlehawks return to their city.
Vegas Vipers: Brett Hundley
Rod Woodson has a very unique situation in Vegas. The team abruptly released Bryan Scott mid-way through training camp, signing NFL veteran Brett Hundley.
You would think that a move like this means that Hundley is the starter. However, that isn’t guaranteed just yet, especially when you consider the other potential starting QB on the roster.
Luis Perez is a spring football journeyman. He’s played in almost every spring league known to man. Perez is the ultimate game manager. He just came off a spectacular USFL season, completing 71% of his touchdowns. He also threw nine touchdowns, to just one interception.
Luis Perez is coming off of his best spring football season yet. The journeyman led the @USFLGenerals to a 9-1 record, dominating the #USFL. He completed 72% of his passes in 2022, throwing 9 TD's to just 1 INT.
Does he start for the @XFLVipers? #XFLpic.twitter.com/hFjUhtkoUY
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenPFN) February 2, 2023
The thing that makes this scenario so interesting is the unknown potential that Hundley brings to Vegas. Woodson knows what he’s going to get with Perez.
Meanwhile, Hundley has been in the NFL for years – but hasn’t touched spring football yet. At the same time, it would be odd for the team to pursue the NFL vet if they didn’t intend on him playing a role in the offense in 2023.
Brett Hundley – 2023 XFL MVP pic.twitter.com/O6UgC2Uo3X
— Swervin³² | J-Lo SZN? (@Swervin32_) February 13, 2023
While it’s still currently a toss up, it would make sense to see Hundley get the start. If the Brett “experiment” doesn’t go according to plan, Woodson can let Perez take the reins. Given Hundley’s NFL status (and his paycheck), the Vipers should probably start him in week one.
At the end of the day, we’ll just have to wait for game day. Not every team has announced their starting quarterbacks quite yet. However, the XFL’s kickoff is just days away…so these reveals should be on their way soon.
The XFL will kickoff on Saturday, the 18th. First, the Vegas Vipers take on the Arlington Renegades at 3pm ET. Then, the Houston Roughnecks host the Orlando Guardians at 8:30pm ET.
MOOD: 5 DAYS TIL KICKOFF. Cannot wait to see you all this weekend @XFL2023 Nation !
🎟 🔗 in BIO pic.twitter.com/FEaDr5pIyc
— Dany Garcia (@DanyGarciaCo) February 13, 2023
Which XFL Quarterbacks do you want to see play this season? Are there any teams that could see changes during the season? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!