The 2022 USFL Draft: Everything you need to know

The United States Football League or USFL will take its next crucial step in its highly anticipated comeback on February 22 with its inaugural “player selection meeting” or “draft”.  During the two-day event, all eight teams and their respective coaching staffs will have a chance to mold their rosters as the league’s stars and marquee matchups take shape.

The Draft format

Similar to the XFL draft in 2020, the USFL draft will move in a “snake” format for each phase, in which the draft order reversed with each round. The draft order was shuffled for each phase as predetermined through lotteries. A draft pool of over 3,000 eligible players will be available for the USFL’s coaches.

  • Phase 1: quarterback selections 
  • Phase 2: offensive skill positions (other quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends)—10 rounds
  • Phase 3: offensive linemen (offensive tackles, guards, and centers)—10 rounds
  • Phase 4: defensive front seven players (defensive linemen and linebackers)—10 rounds
  • Phase 5: defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties)—10 rounds
  • Phase 6: open draft (any position)—30 rounds. Special teams players (including long snapper, punter, placekicker) have no separate position phase and are relegated to the open pool.

The Player Pool: 

Not much information has been made available about the league’s potential players. However, several NFL veterans have shown interest in the new league including former wide receivers Matt Hazel, Rashad Ross, and Dontez Byrd, and linebacker Dale Warren

Promising some star power, Gene Hallman a Birmingham businessman working with the league stated that there will be about five or six high-profile players that are “instantly recognizable” on each team according to xflnewsroom.

In a new twist, the USFL could dip into the college football pool earlier than the NFL signing underclassmen wishing to go pro. The league will allow any player to be eligible if they’ve graduated from high school in 2020 or earlier.

This untraditional thinking is something to keep an eye come draft night,  especially with the NCAA’s transfer portal filled with over 1,500 players.

Player Salaries: 

According to USFL News players will make an average of 45k for the season not including the teams $600 a week pre-season. Practice squad players will earn about 15K on average for the season. The USFL also promises victory bonuses rumored to be $850 a player.

Each team will have a 38-player active roster and a seven-person practice squad. These reported salaries are around the same as the XFL paid their players last back in 2020 and compare well with average salaries in the Canadian Football League especially when taking the USFL’s shorter season into account.

Fans are hoping that the salaries and television exposure could lure some marquee talent to the league as the April kickoff date looms closer. The USFL is scheduled to be broadcast on FOX and NBC and has received heavy investments from Foxsports. With that being said, both the league and network executives are hoping to drum up some buzz as the league rolls out its stars.

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football