USFL will hold a college draft on Tuesday
The USFL 2.0 will be back for a second season in 2023. And they’re doing something different when it comes to acquiring players.
The USFL will conduct a college draft, on Tuesday.
The Michigan Panthers earned the first pick in each round by beating the Pittsburgh Maulers in the final game of the season. Both teams entered the game with 1-8 records. In lieu of incentivizing losing, the USFL encouraged the Panthers and Maulers to win, giving the victor the spoils.
“We are building the USFL for long-term success and our first-ever College Draft demonstrates our clear focus on building winning teams for Season 2, Season 3, and beyond,” USFL executive V.P. of football operations Daryl Johnston said in a release announcing the draft. “The USFL will continue to search for and evaluate the best players to join our league. We are excited to see who the next KaVontae Turpin will be to turn an opportunity with the USFL into a springboard for success in the NFL. Conducting our inaugural College Draft shows that the USFL is committed to providing these talented players an alternative route to pursue their professional football dreams.”
The challenge for the USFL teams picking college players will come from selecting the ones who aren’t likely to get drafted by the NFL -- and who recognize the potential benefit from playing in the USFL.
That’s why Johnston mentioned Turpin. Go to the USFL, tear it up, and get an NFL opportunity.
Still, good luck selling a player who thinks he’ll be drafted by the NFL (and far more who ever get drafted think they will be) to commit to the USFL before knowing when or if he’ll even be drafted by the NFL.
The sweet spot will be players with the self-awareness to realize they aren’t going to be drafted, and with the confidence that they’re good enough to go to the USFL and get noticed.
Even then, there’s a chance that one or more of the players drafted tomorrow will sign up for the USFL and still get drafted by an NFL team. That, to put it mildly, will be awkward.