USFL Wideouts and Corners: Who will get picked up in the Draft?

The United States Football League will kick off its “new” season on April 16 with the 2022 USFL Draft approaching quickly.

American Football International continues its look at key players likely to get picked up in the draft and today we will be reviewing wide receivers and cornerbacks.

Wide Receivers

KaVontae Turpin

KaVontae Turpin is an undersized but electrifying playmaker at the wide receiver position. At 5’9’, 160 pounds, Turpin was a playmaker on offense and special teams at TCU, returning a punt for a touchdown in each of his four seasons with the Horned Frogs and returning a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns as well. He has most recently played in Poland with the Wroclaw Panthers, where he racked up over 700 all-purpose yards along with six touchdowns in just five games. Turpin is a gamechanger in special teams and would be a welcome addition for any USFL squad.

KaVontae Turpin

Donald Rutledge Jr.

Donald Rutledge Jr. is a name to watch on the defensive side of the ball. The 24-year-old played college ball at Georgia Southern and later was picked up by with the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL before getting waived in training camp. The 6’1”, 216-pound safety will be looking to stand out in the USFL in hopes of getting another shot at the highest level.

Donald Rutledge

Cam Echols-Luper

Another intriguing option at receiver is Cam Echols-Luper. At 6’0″, 200 pounds, Echols-Luper is a well-rounded player who combines great speed with solid fundamental skills. The 26-year-old is well-traveled, spending time at TCU, Arkansas State, and Western Kentucky at the collegiate level. After college he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Indianapolis Colts before playing in The Spring League, where he earned another deal with the BC Lions of the CFL. Echols-Luper has impressed several teams with his skillset in the past, so he looks to show it off on the field in the USFL.

Cam Echols-Luper

Defensive Backs

Prince Charles Iworah

Like Echols-Luper, Prince Charles Iworah is a former Western Kentucky Hilltopper who is seeking to break out in the coming months. At 28 years old, Iworah is a gritty veteran who has bounced around several teams. He was drafted in the 7th round, 249th overall, in the 2016 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He was on the team there for over a year before having stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Commanders, Atlanta Falcons, and the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes. He most recently played with the Conquerors of The Spring League. The experienced cornerback has blazing speed, as he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash back at his pro day.

Western Kentucky DB Prince Charles Iworah (30) intercepts Navy’s two-point conversion attempt Photo: Patrick Semansk/Associated Press

Dontez Byrd

Another NFL tested veteran in wide receiver Dontez Byrd. The former walk-on at Louisville transferred to Tennessee Tech before the 2016 season. Over the next two years, he had 152 catches, 1,936 yards, and 13 touchdowns with the Golden Eagles, breaking school records in the process. He then proceeded to play for five teams in five leagues (NFL, AAF, XFL, AAF, IFL), so the USFL would be his 6th of each. The 5’10″, 180-pound playmaker can play at running back and return kicks as well.

Dontez Byrd

Afolabi Laguda

Finally, Afolabi Laguda is a rangy cornerback at 6’1”, 205 pounds. The former Colorado Buffalo was an effective tackler in college, registering nearly 50 tackles in both 2016 and 2017. After spending time with the Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta Falcons, and Edmonton Elks, the 26-year-old could be a great asset for a USFL team in the secondary and on special teams

Afolabi Laguda Photo: University of Colorado Athletics

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.