Scooby and friends: 3 ex-Arizona Wildcats picked in XFL draft

Scooby Wright made two sacks in a preseason game with the Patriots.Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Gimino

Former Arizona All-American linebacker Scooby Wright has played in the NFL, the AAF, was recently on the New England Patriots' practice squad.

Next stop: The XFL?

Wright was one of three ex-Wildcats who were selected Tuesday on the first day of the XFL draft, picked by the DC Defenders. The draft's first day consisted of three phases. The eight teams could selected offensive skill players in the first phase, followed by offensive linemen and defensive front seven personnel.

Wednesday will feature defensive backs in the fourth phase and then a final phase in which any remaining player in the draft pool can be selected.

Also picked Tuesday were former Arizona offensive line -- Gerhard de Beer and Lene Maiava. The Houston Roughnecks picked de Beer in the sixth of 10th rounds among the OL group, with Maiava going in the eighth round to the Los Angeles Wildcats. (For a league that wants to be known for being louder and more extreme, the best it could nickname it could do for L.A. was Wildcats?)

Wright was with the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football league, which folded this spring during its inaugural season. Wright then got a chance to show what he can do when the Patriots signed him before their final preseason game.

He had a strong audition, making two sacks among his four tackles, but his late addition meant that he was an easy cut, although New England was intrigued enough to sign him to its practice squad a few weeks later. Those practice squads are usually pretty fluid, and Wright was released on Oct. 1.

He was not on the initial XFL draft list of about 1,000 approved players released late last week, but he was added before the draft. The Defenders picked him in the fourth round in phase three. Originally drafted in the seventh round by the Cleveland Browns in the 2016 NFL Draft, Wright went on to play in 13 games for the Arizona Cardinals in 2016 and 2017, making two tackles.

Available on Wednesday in the open phase of the draft is former Arizona linebacker Marquis Flowers (who has 53 games of NFL experience), center Steven Gurrola and defensive tackle Larry Tharpe Jr.

The average salary in the XFL, whose season starts Feb. 8, reportedly will be $55,000.

De Beer was in training camp with the Buffalo Bills in 2018 and with the Green Bay Packers this summer.

Maiava was with the Seattle Seahawks in the summer of 2016 before being released.

Another UA connection: Ex-defensive line coach Vince Amey is the D-line coach for the L.A. Wildcats.

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