XFL draft pool offers intrigue, former Chargers
The 2019 NFL season will continue to dominate the sports landscape through the rest of the calendar year. However, the relaunched XFL will hold its player draft next week in advance of its inaugural season. The league announced its draft pool, which includes several former Los Angeles and San Diego Chargers.
Kicker Roberto Aguayo headlines the list of ex-Chargers. Aguayo hasn't kicked professionally since Los Angeles released him during final cuts in 2018. He originally entered the NFL as a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and appeared in just one regular season with the team before receiving a pink slip. Aguayo also had short stints with the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers.
In addition to Aguayo, the list of former Chargers in the XFL draft pool includes safety Micah Hannemann, wide receiver Nelson Spruce, and cornerback Channing Stribling. Though some believed quarterback Cardale Jones might throw his hat into the ring as well, he did not appear on the league's initial list of draft candidates.
The XFL's draft pool gained attention for more than just its ex-NFL players. West Virginia safety Kenny Robinson Jr. decided to forgo his remaining college eligibility and include his name on the list of prospects. Robinson earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2018 and would have become eligible for the NFL draft next year. However, the program booted him for violating the student code of conduct, derailing his college career. Rather than transfer down or sit out a year moving to a new FBS program, Robinson will see what the XFL has to offer.
Accordingly, the XFL could become a resource for NFL teams in the future. While the XFL doesn't see itself as a feeder league, NFL teams could mine it for talent should prospects like Robinson or second-chance players like Aguayo prove their worth.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH