The Houston Roughnecks are in an interesting position as the 2024 XFL season approaches. Aside from the USFL-XFL merger discussions and how that could determine the future outlook in Houston, the team boasts plenty of talent at the quarterback position, leaving decisions to be made this offseason.
After a 7-3 record in 2023, the Houston Roughnecks were poised to make a Championship run. They were stunned in the South Division Championship by the Arlington Renegades, though, falling short of the ultimate goal.
Heading towards 2024, the team currently has four signal callers on the roster. Let’s take a look at what each brings to the organization, and who could be the starter next year.
Right away, Brandon Silvers seems to be the clear choice for Houston at QB1. He spent most of the 2023 XFL season as the starter, and is a league “veteran”, having played with Seattle in 2020.
What makes Silvers such a good fit in Houston is his chemistry with offensive coordinator AJ Smith. The duo has worked with each other in the past, both participating in The Spring League with the Conquerors.
Brandon Silvers is back, and he's back to throwing touchdowns. Great offensive start for the @XFLRoughnecks, as they jump to a quick 6-0 lead.
Coming into the season, it was clear that AJ wanted to build upon that success with Brandon – and they did exactly that. The Houston Roughnecks finished with a 7-3 record, winning the South Division by a large margin.
In 2023, Silvers was consistent. He threw for 1,551 yards in eight games, tossing 13 touchdowns to nine interceptions. Brandon averaged 5.9 YPA, completing 59.5% of his pass attempts. His yards per attempt are on the lower side compared to others, but it makes sense given the overall scheme. AJ Smith’s offense is all about getting the ball out quickly, with receivers typically running shorter routes.
WOW. Houston catches Orlando off guard, taking advantage of the free play. Brandon Silvers with a perfect pass to Deontay Burnett, who mades a ridiculous catch – taking it all the way to the house.
While Brandon Silvers isn’t the flashiest signal caller on the market, he’s shown some drastic improvements since 2020. Silvers has serviceable traits, and displayed those in 2023 despite dealing with some injuries. As it stands now, one would expect Brandon to remain the favorite to start in 2024.
In 2023, Cole McDonald was primarily used as a gadget QB in AJ Smith’s offense. His mobility makes him a viable option for running RPO’s, alongside designed quarterback runs. While he has one heck of an arm, Cole remained as Silvers’ backup for most of the year.
This isn’t to say that Cole isn’t a talented passer. He had an outstanding college career at Hawaii, where he threw for over 8,000 yards in just two seasons.
In the XFL, McDonald racked up 437 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. He made two starts this year, when Brandon was dealing with an injury midseason.
On the ground, Cole made an impact. He rushed for 246 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 5.5 YPC. It’s likely that McDonald will play a similar role in 2024 – but, it would be intriguing to see him have an opportunity to be more of a passer at some point.
The former Western Michigan product never got much of a chance to shine in 2023 with Houston. Kaleb Eleby saw action in just one game, where he completed four of his seven pass attempts for 28 total yards.
Eleby has shown flashes of what he’s capable of, especially during his final year at Western Michigan. In 2021, he threw for over 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns – only turning the ball over five times.
Kaleb Eleby connects with COREY CROOMS for the 70+ Yard TD!!!
Barring any changes, Eleby is expected to be a backup once again in 2024 as it stands right now.
Lindsey Scott Jr.
The major question mark in the Houston Roughnecks QB outlook: Lindsey Scott. The Incarnate Word star was selected during one of the XFL’s drafts this past summer, and has since signed a letter of intent to play with the Roughnecks in 2024.
It's fascinating that the @XFLRoughnecks drafted QB Lindsey Scott, out of Incarnate Word.
Lindsey Scott is one of the most talented prospects coming into the XFL. He had quite the career in college, spending time at numerous different schools. His first playing time came in 2017, with East Mississippi CC. There, he threw for 3,481 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Interestingly enough, Lindsey Scott would spend a couple of years at Missouri, but didn’t play. He then transferred to Nicholls State, finally playing again during the 2020 season. There, he threw for over 3,800 yards and 34 touchdowns across two years (16 starts).
Scott really put himself on the map in 2022, at Incarnate Word. In 14 games, Scott compiled 4,686 passing yards alongside a whopping 60 touchdowns, to only eight interceptions. It’s one of the most impressive collegiate stat-lines in recent history, showcasing his remarkable talent.
Surprisingly, Lindsey Scott Jr. (UIW), the most electric player in Texas CFB, hasn’t been picked up yet. Whoever gets him is getting an absolute gem pic.twitter.com/8ovM61fgjO
In addition, Lindsey is a mobile quarterback. He can throw and run at a high level, which would bring an added dynamic to the Houston Roughnecks offense. With Incarnate Word, Lindsey rushed for almost 700 yards, adding another 11 scores on the ground.
Clearly, the Roughnecks are interested in what Lindsey Scott can do on the football field. If he can come into training camp and perform at a high level, it would not be surprising to see Scott earn valuable minutes in the XFL’s 2024 season.
Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see as to what happens regarding all of the variables surrounding 2024. The XFL and USFL are likely merging, but we are waiting for official word from the leagues on that end.
Whenever training camp begins – expect it to be a battle in Houston. Wade Phillips has built a talented offense, and features multiple quarterbacks who are capable of taking this team to the postseason next year.
After a 7-3 record that resulted in a playoff loss, the Roughnecks will look to build upon their success in 2024. Brandon Silvers and Lindsey Scott are the early favorites to win the starting gig, but in spring football – anything is possible.
Who do you think should be the Houston Roughnecks quarterback in 2024? Which XFL prospect should the team pursue? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!