The XFL 2.0 proved to be a showcase for some very talented football players in 2020 and it looks to be that way again in the future. There are so many talented free agents who could get a first, or second look when the XFL re-launches.
Today we are going to take a look at the Tight End position and provide a breakdown of how the XFL could be an appealing option for them and the league.
Seth DeValve attended Princeton and was a wide receiver during his time there. He did not play a lot as a Freshman, but in his Sophomore year he became more important to the offense with 20 receptions and 219 yards.
He had his best statistical year as a Junior. He had 49 receptions for 527 yards and 4 touchdowns which was good enough for Top 10 in Ivy league ranks. What would have been his Senior year was cut short due to injuries, but in the 2 games he played, he had 19 catches for 243 yards and 1 touchdown. He missed 4 games in his 5th year, but still turned in impressive numbers. He had 33 receptions for 337 yards and 1 touchdown.
DeValve was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2016 in the fourth round. That is the highest draft position for a Princeton football player in the modern draft era. This is when he began being listed as a Tight End as opposed to a Wide Receiver.
During his NFL career, he has had several productive seasons with his career best being in 2017 with 33 catches, 395 yards and 1 touch down. He is currently a free agent and is definitely a candidate to show what he could do with another chance to showcase his abilities.
Braunecker was an undrafted free agent signing by the Chicago Bears in 2016 and his career stats don’t jump out at you. His career best in yards was 59 in 2019 and he has never caught more than 10 passes in a year. It is worth mentioning, that during that time, the Bears were going through Coaching changes, Offensive Coordinator changes, and Quarterback changes.
If you are a Bears fan, all of that is nothing new, but if you are an undrafted free agent, that makes it hard to stand out. If you look back at his college career at Harvard, you will see that he was an All-American and had 48 catches for 850 yards and 8 touchdowns. He may not be a household name, but he is certainly someone who could shine a spotlight on himself and get noticed by other NFL teams.
Alex Gray is an intriguing candidate for the XFL for two big reasons. On one hand, he has been off and on the Atlanta Falcons practice squad up until this year when he was waived. He has never had a chance to really show what he can do and has dealt with some injuries during that time.
The other reason he is such an interesting candidate, he is a former rugby player and left his career as a rugby player to pursue football. If Gray is able to land on an XFL squad, he could show NFL teams what he can do on the field, but he will also provide some international appeal. The NFL has been trying to expand into England with the games they have been playing there, and the XFL could have an inside track with someone like Gray playing for them.
Sticking with the international theme, Bohringer was the first European player selected in the draft without playing any college football. Bohringer decided to pursue a career in football after watching highlights of Running Back Adrian Peterson.
He played 16 games in the German Football League and has an impressive career stat line of 59 catches, 1,232 yards and 13 touchdowns. Adding to those stats, he also had 14 kickoff returns for 415 yards. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, but was never able to break on to the main roster. He was picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018, but was unable to make it to the main roster there and was released on August 3rd of 2020.
Like Alex Gray, Moritz would be an interesting candidate because he hasn’t been able to showcase his abilities, and could provide an even broader fan base for the upstart league.
DIllon Gordon had an interesting college career. He played in 13 games for LSU as a Freshman, but was not a starter in that season. In his Sophomore year he led all LSU tight ends with 6 catches and 88 yards. The following season he was once again the starting tight end, but he was primarily a blocking tight end in their offensive scheme since they had Leonard Fournette as their running back.
During his senior year he injured his Achilles in week 3. He tried to come back in week 7, but injured it again and was done for the season. He tried to come back for a 5th season, but was denied by the NCAA. Once he was denied, he put together his own showcase and was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles.
While he was with the Eagles, they switched him to an offensive guard due to his blocking ability. After his time with the Eagles, he was picked up by the Chiefs, and then the Panthers. He has dealt with injuries since college, but many teams could benefit from a strong blocker at the tight end position.
Ed Dickson has had a long and pretty successful NFL career. Dating back to the beginning of his career in 2010, Dickson has 190 catches, 2,128 yards, and 15 touchdowns. He has been with the Ravens, Panthers, and Seahawks during his time with the NFL. He was with the 2012 Super Bowl Champion Ravens and the 2016 Panthers who played in the Super Bowl, so he has plenty of big game experience.
He signed with the Seahawks, but has battled with injuries since and was let go in March of this year. Dickson could be like another former Raven in Will Hill III and play in the XFL to bring his experience and talent to players who haven’t been around as long as he has.
This is obviously not a comprehensive list of all available Tight Ends who do not currently have a team, but these players could help themselves and the league when the XFL kicks off again.
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