With lots of friends in the front offices of the new XFL, I have been pretty excited about the league, but a little nervous about the league’s two-day draft, which took place Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. How do you populate 70-man rosters from scratch? Especially when media coverage is minimal, players are scattered across the country, staffs are tight and budgets are limited?
From the sound of things, without too much trouble. I reached out to several of the league’s scouts and executives after this week’s draft, and without exception, they were very excited about how well the draft went. Here are their responses:
- “Players were following the draft online. Agents were great to deal with. Players and agents have seen the success the players had from the AAF and getting NFL contracts. The players were great to deal with, even ones that were high NFL draft choices. This league will benefit from what the AAF started. I thought it went very smooth.”
- “For the first time anybody ever tried to tun a 70-man draft, with 1,100 in the player pool, there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong, and really it went off without a hitch. The guys in the main office did a great job, and there were no problems communicating with the front office. We got the guys on the phone as we made the pick or right before, so we were able to get hold of all of our guys and I didn’t hear any bitching or moaning from agents or players. From what I heard, they were all excited to get the call.”
- “For the most part, agents and players were very accessible throughout both days of the draft. Players almost to a man were fired up to get another opportunity to play, and you could feel their emotion over the phone. Really excited to get to work with them in December.”
- “Thought it went surprisingly smooth. Out of our 70 guys drafted, I think 68 of them were very excited and pumped. We had called about 600 guys prior to the draft. Came across some that said they were not going to play for that little of money, so we took them off our board. But many many more are excited about the opportunity. For a 70-player draft, it went excellent. We are obviously excited about our draft and feel we knocked it our of the park, but the proof will come in (February).”
Of course, I wanted to get a fuller view of the draft, and to do that, I also reached out to a handful of agents to get the other side. I cautioned them not to rant; I only wanted specifics (good and bad) about the draft, with an eye toward constructive criticism. Nobody’s perfect, after all. They gave me several interesting and well-thought-out responses, which will be in today’s Friday Wrap that comes out this evening.
I hope you’ll check it out. If you’re already registered, it will be in your inbox at the customary 6:30 p.m. CT. If you aren’t, you can go here and rectify that.