Over the course of the past several days, the XFL revealed their pool of players for their upcoming draft. As we did with the Alliance of American Football, we’re going to highlight a number of names in the group who have had ties to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the past. There are a lot of names, so I’m not going to strive for an exhaustive list. I’ll highlight some of the more significant names and then provide a list of the rest that I’ve found.
By my count, there are 11 players entering the NFL draft who spent time on the Steelers’ 53-man roster at some point:
Terence Garvin: An undrafted free agent inside linebacker who was a rookie minicamp invitee, he ended up spending three years on the roster. Garvin would later find some success elsewhere in the NFL, and was a significant player in the AAF earlier this year.
L.T. Walton: A former sixth-round defensive end, Walton spent four years on the Steelers’ 53-man roster, including as the top backup nose tackle in 2017. He saw some significant playing time in 2016 due to injury, and played fairly well.
Sammie Coates: A former third-round pick, Coates had all the talent at wide receiver, but never really put it together. He got off to a strong start in his second season, but a finger injury seemingly ended his run. The Steelers traded him to the Browns the following year.
Doran Grant: A fourth-round pick at cornerback, he spent parts of two years on the 53-man roster, but never really got on the field outside of special teams.
Zach Mettenberger: Unlike the other names on this list, Mettenberger never actually took a snap. He was their number three quarterback a couple years ago, but had starting experience prior to that. Another player who was somewhat notable in the AAF.
Brad Wing: Wing spent one year as the Steelers’ punter before Jordan Berry. They traded him to the Giants the year after that.
Demarcus Ayers: A seventh-round pick at wide receiver, he spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad, but was called up very late in the year, and was able to make a few plays, including a touchdown in the finale.
Johnny Maxey: Like Walton, Maxey played meaningfully in 2016 due to injury. He was an undrafted free agent that year out of a small school, but he only lasted that one year, starting off on the practice squad.
Weslye Saunders: The guy some Steelers fans still want them to sign. A tight end from several years ago who had one year with the team and made a few catches, and I believe one touchdown.
Al-Hajj Shabazz: A former undrafted free agent at cornerback. I believe it was in 2016 that he bounced around with the team, on the practice squad, the 53, and even getting claimed off waivers before finding his way back. He saw some dime snaps covering tight ends thanks to his size, but not much.
Caushaud Lyons: A defensive end the Steelers claimed off waivers at the beginning of the season a few years ago. He was moved to the practice squad after a few weeks.
Quick notes on a few others names. Colin Holba is there, the long snapper they drafted a couple years ago. Outside linebacker Farrington Huguenin spent a couple years on the practice squad. Tight end Jake McGee had meaningful practice squad time and looked to have a shot at a roster spot in 2018 before he got injured in the spring. Several players had some success in the AAF, like cornerback Jamar Summers, defensive end Casey Sayles, defensive back Jack Tocho (who had a very brief stint on the 90-man roster this year), and L’Damian Washington. Several players were on the 90-amn roster this year, including Marcelis Branch, Garrett Brumfield, Travon McMillian, Brogan Roback, Dravon Askew-Henry, Damian Prince, Tegray Scales, and Darnell Leslie.
The other names: Jarvion Franklin, Ian Berryman, Ian Wells, Quadree Henderson, Damoun Patterson, Conor Sheehy, Justin Thomas, Ralph Webb, DuJuan Harris, Ladarius Perkins, Cameron Clear, Keith Kelsey, Scott Orndoff, David Cobb, Rajion Neal,Giorgio Newberry.