As the new United States Football League (USFL) approaches its inaugural postseason, dozens of players across the startup’s eight teams have been honored as part of the All-USFL Team, announced Thursday. In the NFL, meanwhile, teams are gearing up for crunch time of the offseason, with 90-man rosters preparing for training camp and preseason competitions.
So which USFL all-stars have the best chance of making the leap to the NFL, even if just as offseason competition? Here are some names to keep an eye on this summer:
QB Kyle Sloter
Team: New Orleans Breakers | Age: 28 | College: Northern Colorado
You’ve probably heard his name before, because he’s already spent time with seven different NFL teams, mostly as a No. 3 or practice-squad veteran. But the ex-Vikings prospect could find himself back in a battle for an emergency role after leading the USFL in passing yards and ranking fifth in touchdowns. Most recently, he fought through an injury to help lead New Orleans to a playoff berth. At 28, he’s still plenty young enough to be somebody’s camp arm.
WR/KR Maurice Alexander
Team: Philadelphia Stars | Age: 25 | College: Florida International
A converted college quarterback who split time at receiver and returner before going undrafted in 2020, Alexander is small (5-11, 180) but speedy, leading the USFL in kick return yards (707) and averaging over 30 yards per runback. He’s also been dynamic on punt returns, averaging 12.6 yards per return. His athleticism could justify a look as a hybrid running back/receiver/return man.
DE Chris Odom
Team: Houston Gamblers | Age: 27 | College: Arkansas State
You can never have enough pass-rushers in the NFL, and Odom doesn’t just have his own NFL experience, floating between practice squads and active rosters with Washington and the Packers between 2017-2019, logging two sacks with the former. He’s also been dominant in a starring role in the USFL, leading the league with 11 sacks to go along with six forced fumbles.
Team: Birmingham Stallions | Age: 26 | College: Ole Miss
Just call him the king of developmental leagues. Since a short-lived stint with the Browns as an undrafted rookie, Gates has wreaked havoc in the AAF, XFL and now the USFL, leading the league in tackles for loss (10) while adding 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. He’s got the size (6-2, 230) and playmaking reputation to vie for a reserve LB job.