Yesterday afternoon, at 3:31 EST, the XFL made their decision to cancel the remainder of their reboot season. The league offered their brand of football during the NFL offseason wasn’t able to complete the first season due to COVID19. Due to this decision to cease the 2020 XFL regular season, XFL players across the eight franchises can sign on Monday at 9am with the NFL after the exit physicals are complete. We’ve witnessed players come from the AAF and make a splash in the NFL in 2019.
One of those teams that witnessed was the Philadelphia Eagles. Last season was an injury-plagued season for the Eagles offense where just about every wide-receiver had an injury. DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffrey, and Nelson Agholor all missed playing time due to injury. Philadelphia relied on JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins at wide receiver, but heavily on Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert at tight end. Just like when the Eagles stumbled upon cornerback depth in 2018, they stumbled upon Greg Ward Jr in 2019.
Every team will have positions to fill in this offseason. The Philadelphia Eagles are in a hole with key players leaving in free agency. Notable moves have been made at cornerback, on the defensive line, and at the safety position. Finding players with talent on a cheap contract is a gem for any franchise in any sport. Here are seven XFL players that could help the Eagles in 2020:
S Cody Brown – Houston Roughnecks
During his time this shortened XFL season with the Houston Roughnecks, Cody Brown finished tied for second in the league in interceptions. In the season, Brown made 24 tackles, picked off a pass twice, and sacked a quarterback once. He played college football at Arkansas State and carries a bigger frame than Rodney McLeod and Jalen Mills. The Philadelphia Eagles don’t need to worry about him being undersized in the NFL.
Cody Brown is familiar with the NFL in some capacity. He was recently a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars before signing with the Houston Roughnecks in the XFL. Brown has remained active in football, playing previously in the AAF for the Salt Lake Stallions. In college, he earned second-team All-Sun Belt honors in 2015 at Arkansas State. What a story it would be if he became a discovered talent from the XFL to the Philadelphia Eagles, allowing Jalen Mills to play corner in the red zone.
TE Donald Parham – Dallas Renegades
Donald Parham is the only tight end to place top five in receiving yards in the XFL. He was the best piece of the Dallas Renegades offense and the only real target for Landry Jones. Parham accounted for 43% of Jones’ total passing yards. Of 24 catches, four were for touchdowns. Parham has a height advantage of three inches on Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert.
Redzone targets are a hot commodity with the Philadelphia Eagles. The shift should be towards a receiver who can take the top off of a defense, but at tight end, Parham could be a nice fit. He can also be used in the same way that Josh Perkins was used. Previously, he played college football at Stetson. His most recent time in the NFL was with the Washington Redskins on the practice squad.
CB Deatrick Nichols – Houston Roughnecks
A teammate of another player on this list, Cody Brown, Deatrick Nichols was arguably the best defensive back in the entire XFL this season. He led the league in interceptions. During the season, Nichols intercepted three passes, while replicating the tackles and sack amount that his teammate, Brown did. Nichols played college football at the University of South Florida. The only knock here is that Nichols is undersized in comparison to Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, and Darius Slay.
In college, Deatrick Nichols was a two-time first-team All-AAC defensive back with the University of South Florida. He has some NFL experience with the Arizona Cardinals, recording his first tackle in the NFL on special teams against the Los Angeles Rams in 2018. He appeared in two games, exclusively on special teams in the NFL. The Cardinals later waived Nichols during the final roster cuts headed into the 2019 NFL season. He’s the only defensive player on this list with playing time in the NFL regular season.
WR Cam Phillips – Houston Roughnecks
Regardless of what there is to say about Cam Phillips, the Philadelphia Eagles are going to draft a wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft. It’s still worth discussing the leader in receiving yards this XFL season. Phillips caught 31 passes, nine for touchdowns, totaling 455 yards. Look at that catch to touchdown ratio! 29% of his catches result in points on the scoreboard.
Cam Phillips played college football at Virginia Tech. While the Philadelphia Eagles were winning Superbowl 52, Phillips was named first-team All-ACC. He spent his time on the Buffalo Bills practice squad before being waived in 2018. Phillips has greater height and size than Greg Ward Jr. If Ward Jr can make the jump from the AAF to the Eagles, I have faith that Phillips can too.
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Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports