The USFL last held a draft in 1986. A total of 92 players were selected with the final pick being made by the Baltimore Stars. They picked defensive back Tony Woods out of Bloomsburg University.
None of those 92 players selected in the ’86 draft ever played in the USFL. It folded after an ill-fated move to a fall schedule in 1986. It failed to gain the traction needed to challenge the NFL and ultimately didn’t play. That made the 1985 spring season the last USFL campaign.
But now, 37 years later, the league is returning to play in the spring once again. It isn’t technically the same league that folded in 1986, but it contains eight teams named after eight of the original USFL franchises.
LIVE: Tracking every USFL Draft pick by team
The USFL season won’t begin until April. However, the league is busy preparing to play its 12-week season. Next up on the list is forming its 38-man player rosters and seven-man practice squads during the 2022 USFL Draft.
Sports fans tend to love drafts, and those excited about the USFL’s return will surely be looking forward to finding out who will play as a part of their new favorite teams.
How can you pay attention to the USFL Draft? Here’s everything you need to know about how to follow the USFL’s first player selection meeting in nearly four decades.
USFL DRAFT: Player pool, rules, pick order & more
What channel is the USFL Draft on?
The USFL Draft is not scheduled to be broadcast live on TV. In fact, it won’t be broadcast at all.
Instead, the USFL’s social media accounts will announce the picks as they come in. It’s unclear if they will be announced one-by-one, round-by-round or otherwise, but that will be how fans find out which players will be a part of the spring league teams.
Below is a list of the USFL’s official league and team Twitter accounts to check out during the player selection meeting. You can also follow SN’s live team-by-team tracker for a complete list of picks.
- Birmingham Stallions
- Houston Gamblers
- Michigan Panthers
- New Jersey Generals
- New Orleans Breakers
- Philadelphia Stars
- Pittsburgh Maulers
- Tampa Bay Bandits
What time does the USFL Draft start?
- Day 1: Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 7-10 p.m. ET
- Day 2: Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 10 a.m. ET
The USFL Draft will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 22. It’s unclear at what time the first selection will be announced, but we do know that the pick belongs to the Michigan Panthers and it will be a quarterback, given the structure of the draft.
Day 1 of the USFL Draft will last roughly three hours and comprise the first 12 of the draft’s 35 rounds. The remaining 23 rounds will be completed on Wednesday, with the event beginning at 10 a.m. ET and running until the draft has been completed.
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How does the USFL Draft work?
The 2022 USFL Draft is reportedly going to operate similarly to the 2019 XFL Draft in that the teams will pick from the same position pool in each round. The draft will use a modified snake format to ensure that each team will receive the top choice in two of the position-specific rounds. That will ideally create competitive balance in the league.
How will the rounds be broken up? Below is a breakdown of each phase of the draft. The XFL was subdivided into six phases while the USFL Draft is a bit more complex.
- Round 1: Quarterbacks
- Rounds 2-4: Edge rushers/defensive ends
- Rounds 5-7: Offensive tackles
- Round 8-11: Cornerbacks
- Round 12: Quarterbacks
- Rounds 13-17: Wide receivers
- Rounds 18-19: Safeties
- Round 20: Centers
- Round 21: Inside linebackers
- Rounds 22-23: Offensive guards
- Rounds 24-26: Defensive tackles and nose tackles
- Rounds 27-28: Running backs and fullbacks
- Rounds 29-31: Outside linebackers
- Round 32: Kickers
- Round 33: Punters
- Round 34: Tight ends/H-backs
- Round 35: Long snappers
In total, 280 players will be selected during the inaugural USFL Draft. They will fill 35 of each team’s 38 roster spots, so teams will each have to add 10 players after the draft. Three to fill out the roster and seven for the practice squad.
MORE: When will the USFL return? Key dates, schedule explained
USFL Draft player pool 2022
There are roughly 500 players eligible to be selected in the 2022 USFL Draft. The league won’t release a full player pool ahead of the draft, according to Pro Football Talk.
The USFL will allow any player who graduated from high school in 2020 to be eligible for the draft. That means some college players could opt to compete in the league if they think it will give them a chance to prove themselves, make money and parlay their success into an NFL career.
So far, a few former NFL, AAF and XFL players with recognizable names have reportedly announced that they will be joining the league. That includes running back Kelvin Taylor, wide receivers Dontez Byrd and Bobo Wilson, defensive tackle Toby Johnson and linebacker Reggie Northrup II.
BENDER: Ranking the USFL’s uniforms from best to worst
USFL Draft pick order
Below is the draft order for the first round of the 2022 USFL Draft.
|2||Tampa Bay Bandits|
|4||New Jersey Generals|
|8||New Orleans Breakers|
The order will change on a round-to-round basis, as the league implements “an analytical modified snake system between positional rounds so that each team has two No. 1 picks at two positions.”
In other words, the order will change for competitive balance purposes.