AJ McCarron Sets XFL Passing Record In St. Louis Battlehawks Win

2023 XFL Quarterback Tier List

The XFL finished their inaugural season a few months ago and since I was making the USFL QB tiers, it only made sense to do the XFL too. I am ranking every Quarterback that is currently rostered which means Jawon Pass, Quinton Flowers, and most importantly Ben DiNucci is not listed. Remember that this is just my opinion and be sure to check out my QB tiers for the USFL over on USFL Newsroom.

Tier 1: Plus Starters

This tier is QBs that I feel add something special to their offenses that put them above the typical league starter. These are also the players I feel have shown enough to get serious NFL looks.

1. AJ McCarron, St. Louis Battlehawks

McCarron was my biggest surprise from season 1. I am always skeptical of QBs in these leagues that have gotten extended looks in the NFL, but McCarron was far and away the best quarterback in the league this season. He reportedly has some NFL interest so it wouldn’t shock me to see him in the NFL but if he decides to stick around, he’s QB1 for me all day.

2. Jordan Ta’amu, DC Defenders

Ta’amu was coming off a rough season in the USFL in 2022 where it felt like he wasn’t much of a scheme fit for the Tampa Bay Bandits. Since then, he made the jump to the DC Defenders and has excelled ever since, being a true threat in the pass and run game and leading DC to the best record in the league last year. After the season, he had a workout for the Vikings, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see another stint in the league for Ta’amu. Just one of the most entertaining QBs in spring football right now.

Tier 2: Solid Starters

The players that fall under this tier don’t have the upside of the tier 1 players, but they are consistent, and they will bring a high floor to the position.

3. Luis Perez, Arlington Renegades

Mr. Spring Football himself, Luis Perez has been all over the map, playing in 4 leagues with 6 teams. His XFL stint started in Vegas where things didn’t go great and once the season was out of hand, he was traded to the Arlington Renegades where he quickly turn their fortune around and lead them to become the first XFL champions of the modern era. Perez maybe doesn’t have the highs of Ta’amu or McCarron, but he’s one of the most consistent QBs in the league.

Tier 3: Low End Starters with Upside

This tier of players hasn’t shown the consistency to make it into the 2nd tier but have some interesting traits that make it so the teams in question would feel comfortable heading into 2024 with them as a starter.

4. Quinten Dormady, Orlando Guardians

Dormady had a very rocky 2023 season with an allegation that got him cut from the Guardians only to be acquitted and came back to have the best QB performance of the season in their only win against the DC Defenders. After that moment, there were a lot of ups and downs that kept him from being tier 2, but there’s some potential and I’m ok with Orlando going all in on the Central Michigan Product.

5. Jalan McClendon, Vegas Vipers

McClendon has bounced around since coming out of college, with stints with Baltimore and Washington in the NFL and the LA Wildcats in the XFL but he had never had an extended look on the field until this year. He played well in his 4 starts going 67 for 112 with 873 yards and 5 TDs to only 1 pick. McClendon has all of the tools to be a tier 1 QB, but he clearly needs reps which makes him a very interesting player for the 2024 season.

6. Jack Coan, San Antonio Brahmas

Coan started the 2023 season by winning a QB competition against Reid Sinnett, but things didn’t go well for Coan in season. He struggled in the first half of the season and then was benched in favor of Sinnett only for him to get hurt so Coan comes back in then he gets hurt. The reason Coan is this high is the last two games of the season a light bulb seemed to go off as he put up back-to-back 300-yard performances against the Guardians and the Defenders and didn’t turn the ball over once. There is potential although he has competition with two other players in the same tier.

7. Steven Montez, Seattle Sea Dragons

Steven Montez had a relatively uneventful 2023 season. He only played one drive in week 1 where he went 1/2 for 6 yards. It’s a bold take given the stat line, but I think he belongs in this tier. Just like Jalan McClendon, the physical tools are there as the Colorado product is 6’5 and 235 lbs. and ran a 4.68 40 time. If DiNucci gets the job in Denver then I believe they’ll go with Montez and he has the highest potential of anyone in this tier, he just has to reach it.

8. Reid Sinnett, San Antonio Brahmas

Reid Sinnett had a rough go of things in 2023. He wasn’t able to win the Brahmas starting QB job out of camp, and once he got an opportunity, he breaks his foot. In his limited playing time, he looked good as he had a stat line of 13/19 for 97 yards with 1 TD and an INT on the play he broke his foot. Sinnett gives the Brahmas a mobility factor that Coan doesn’t which in spring football is very important with how rough the blocking can be. Sinnett is absolutely in the conversation of QB1 for the Brahmas next year.

9. Kurt Benkert, San Antonio Brahmas

Benkert was supposed to be the starting quarterback for the Roughnecks last season but decided to be with his family instead, then when the Brahmas lost their top two QBs in one game, Benkert was traded to be their starter before broken ribs ended his season too. I’m not sure if Benkert will be back in San Antonio next year but wherever he ends up, he’s someone that has some ability that could be more realized when he’s not trying to develop chemistry with his receivers in game.

10. Cole McDonald, Houston Roughnecks

McDonald is the perfect QB to have at the end of the upside tier cause I’m not sure if he’s a finished product or not. McDonald was the mobile QB that would take goal line reps away from Brandon Silvers but found a bigger role once Silvers started to struggle. He had a great game against DC, but the rest of the season wasn’t great including a playoff performance going 9 for 25 for 82 yards and a pick. McDonald is only 25 so there is some room for growth but finishing the season that way leaves a bad taste.

Tier 4: Low End Starter Without Upside

These are Low End Starters that don’t have the potential as the tier above but still are ok options as a starter or are high end backups.

11. Brandon Silvers, Houston Roughnecks

Brandon Silvers started the year off strong with the Roughnecks going 4-0 and him firmly in the MVP conversation. Things started to unravel once his top target Jontre Kirklin was ruled out for the season with a pec tear then Silvers started splitting time with Cole McDonald. He has a great relationship with the OC AJ Smith, and he can command the offense but with limited mobility and being 29, Silvers shouldn’t be plan A, even if he is a solid starter in a pinch.

12. Brett Hundley, Vegas Vipers

Hundley was supposed to be the starter for Vegas but that never truly materialized as he split time with Luis Perez early in the year then both were benched in favor of Jalan McClendon. He finished the season with 496 yards with 3 TDs and no picks but just 53% completion percentage. The former 2015 5th round pick will at best be in a QB competition with the younger McClendon in 2024.

Tier 5: Backups with Upside

These QBs aren’t quite starters yet but have some interest traits that could make them higher tier starters if they get the chance and hit on their upside. I Place this tier above the next tier because these are developmental league and so these QBs are higher valve even if their play might be lower right now.

13. D’Eriq King, DC Defenders

King is an interesting player. First off due to the Covid college rules, he’s a second season year player who is turning 26 next month. The Miami and Houston product was a change of pace QB that would be brought in once the Defenders were up and needed to burn clock. He wasn’t given many opportunities to be in a drop back situation last year but if Ta’amu ends up getting an NFL opportunity, he could end up at being the guy in those situations. Would be a very interesting question mark for next year.

14. Drew Plitt, Arlington Renegades

Drew Plitt was able to win the starting job for Arlington, but things didn’t end up panning out for him in 2023. Plitt was benched in favor of Kyle Sloter then had a knee injury that ended his season. Although I wouldn’t call his play great, he showed flashes and now is a situation where he gets to sit behind a veteran in Perez. He’s only 25 so there is room for improvement before getting another opportunity to be a starter.

15. Kaleb Eleby, Houston Roughnecks

In the post-covid era, it’s rare to see QBs in these spring league under 24 but Eleby left college early and is only 23-year-old after playing a full XFL season. Eleby spent most of the season as the QB3 but was able to get some playing time in week 10 against Arlington where he went 4/7 for 28 yards. It wouldn’t shock me if they went with Eleby over Silvers and McDonald but that seems unlikely for the moment.

16. Harrison Frost, Seattle Sea Dragons

Harrison Frost was at this time last year getting ready for his last season college season at West Georgia. Then in January, Frost forgoes the NFL draft process to sign with the Sea Dragons where he would be the third string QB the whole season. With DiNucci gone, Frost moves to QB2 and might even compete for the starting job with Steven Montez.

17. Lindsey Scott Jr., Houston Roughnecks

Lindsey Scott Jr. was a popular player in spring football this offseason. He was selected 3rd overall in the USFL Collegiate Draft by the Pittsburgh Maulers and was a selection by the Roughnecks in the XFL Draft. Based on his Instagram bio, it seems he made his choice, as the Roughnecks are the team listed. With the position unresolved in Houston, they might even be an opportunity to start for the 25-year-old rookie but most likely, he will start as a backup.

18. Connor Degenhardt, Arlington Renegades

Connor Degenhardt was the other QB drafted in the XFL draft last month as a pick for the Champion Renegades. In a perfect world the 25-year-old rookie never sees the field as Luis Perez and Drew Plitt would almost certainly be ahead of him but he’s an interesting D2 product that could eventually see the field.

Tier 6: Backups Without Upside

These are Quarterbacks that I view as quality backup options but don’t have the upside Tier 5 has due to inconsistent play.

19. Nick Tiano, St. Louis Battlehawks

Another hot take but I am not as high on Nick Tiano as a lot of people in this community are. Tiano’s play when coming in for AJ McCarron when injured was meh going 20 for 36 with 199 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs. The Battlehawks have sent 4 receivers to the NFL and Tiano didn’t play great with all of that surrounding talent. He can win a game every now and then but If McCarron were to jump to the NFL, I think they’d need to bring in a QB to at minimum compete with Tiano.

20. Deondre Francois, Orlando Guardians

Deondre Francois was not the reason Orlando struggled last season, but he wasn’t saving them either. Francois eventually found a solid role as the mobile QB for Orlando when Dormady mobility limited him, but I don’t feel great about a QB competition between the two. Francois is fine as a backup though.

21. Paxton Lynch, San Antonio Brahmas

The Former 1st round pick jumped from the USFL to the XFL to start for the Guardians but things didn’t work out and Lynch would end up being cut before signing with San Antonio when they were dealing with QB injuries. Lynch at this point has played himself out of being considered a spring league starter despite flashes of the potential he has. He is currently QB4 on the Brahmas and will probably have to fight for a roster spot in 2024.

22. Manny Wilkins, St. Louis Battlehawks

Wilkins was a very late training camp addition after Battlehawk QB Ryan Willis decided to jump leagues to the USFL and Wilkins would spend the season as a QB3 and QB2 once Tiano was hurt. Wilkins never played but the coaching staff has talked highly of him, so he seems to be QB3 until further notice.

23. Kevin Anderson, Arlington Renegades

Anderson is a spring league vet, playing in the AAF, TSL, and now the XFL. The 28-year-old only threw one pass for 5 yards this season. With a room that currently rosters 6 QBs and a vet starting QB in Perez, he might find himself on the outside looking in.

Tier 7: The Rest

24. Todd Centeio, Orlando Guardians

Centeio was a very late addition to the Guardians after they released Quinton Flowers. Centeio led JMU in the top 25 for a time last season and was named sun belt conference player of the year. He’s only 24 and is currently QB3 behind Dormady and Francois so for the moment he has some job security.

25. Kelly Bryant, Arlington Renegades

Kelly Bryant was a very late season addition to be a goal line QB to come in for Perez. He didn’t have many opportunities as in the regular season, he only logged a 24-yard run. There are a lot of QBs in the Arlington Renegades room so he will have to work to find a spot.

26. Geremy Hickbottom, DC Defenders

Hickbottom was brought in for DC when Eric Dungey left the team and served as QB3 in the back half of the season. He certainly won’t be guaranteed a spot on the team.

27. Vinny Testaverde Jr., St. Louis Battlehawks

Vinny Testaverde Jr. has the tough deal of having to live up to his dad who played in the NFL for 16 years. Testaverde has been on arena teams, the CFL, and even had a stint with the Tampa Bay Vipers in 2020 but Testaverde was brought in after Nick Tiano’s injury and is currently QB4 in St. Louis.

28. D’Angelo Fulford, Vegas Vipers

Fulford is the third Quarterback of this trend of players that signed late in the season and never took a snap. He, just like Hickbottom, is currently QB3 but he’s also not a lock, especially with a new coaching staff coming in.

29. N’Kosi Perry, Seattle Sea Dragons

Perry is a UDFA signing for the Dragons that is currently their QB3 with DiNucci in the NFL. He had a very brief stint in the CFL for the Ti-Cats last month but is currently a free agent who has a spot waiting in Seattle.

30. Connor Blumrick, Arlington Renegades

When Blumrick was signed by Arlington he was listed as a QB but I’m pretty sure he will be a tight end since he played both positions in college and there are currently 5 other quarterbacks on the roster.

Which XFL quarterbacks would be in your top five? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.