Stock Up, Stock Down: XFL to NFL Players Preseason Week 1 | Ben DiNucci

Stock Up, Stock Down: XFL In NFL Preseason Week One

The XFL has done an outstanding job of giving their players opportunities in the NFL. As of the time of writing this, the XFL has 53 players and counting that are getting ready to play in the NFL preseason week 2, but before we go onto week 2, let’s look back at week 1 to see who raised their stock, and who’s may have fallen last weekend.

This list will not include anyone that was cut or placed on IR which discounts WR Chris Blair, WR Charleston Rambo, and DL Matthew Gotel but everyone else is on the table. Let’s get into it.

Stock Up

QB Ben Dinucci / WR Michael Bandy, Denver Broncos

Both of the XFL players that are in Denver combined for a nice 4th quarter performance. Dinucci was by far better than backup Jarrett Stidham who Sean Payton said they were in a competition for the backup spot. Dinucci led a go ahead drive during his time in the 4th and a big reason for his success was his connection with Roughnecks WR Michael Bandy who caught 3 catches for 27 yards on only 7 routes run. There was a command of the offense that wasn’t seen in the first three quarter when they were on the field. They both look to get a bit more playing time as they fight to be on the 53-man roster.

DL Bruce Hector, New York Jets

Bruce Hector wasn’t even on the team yet when they played their first preseason game last week but in their game this week, he made his mark. Hector made a splash play when he was able to force a strip sack and recovery on Panther QB Matt Coral but that wasn’t the end to his good play. He graded out exceptional as on an insane 30 snaps for a guy signed days earlier, he graded out with a 90.5 pass rush grade and a 90.7 defense grade. He’s certainly been a big surprise for New York and he’s doing his best to at least get on the practice squad.

CB Bryce Thompson, Miami Dolphins

During his time with the Seattle Sea Dragons, Bryce Thompson was listed as a safety but played mostly as a slot corner. The Dolphins clearly liked what they saw there because Thompson had a by far team leading 23 snaps at slot and actually got the start there with the starters resting. He played really well this week with grades in the high 60s across the board (60 is average) and not even getting targeted once during his time there. This clearly shows that Miami is interested in him at slot and he hasn’t let them down yet, so his stock is definitely rising.

HM: G Jack Snyder MIN, WR Marcell Ateman BUF, and DL Kobe Smith NYG

Stock Down

WR Hakeem Butler, Pittsburgh Steelers

Hakeem Butler was a player listed on my 5 top opportunities for XFL article from last week but week 1 painted a very different picture for Butler. The former Battlehawk didn’t get into the game until the 4th quarter and during his 8 routes, he had one catch and one rough drop. This might not be as bad as it seems on the surface as the starters for Pittsburgh were in for an extend period, but Butler hasn’t given them any reason to let him see extended playing time in a position battle that has a lot of heads to feed.

RB Abram Smith, Minnesota Vikings

Abram Smith was by far the best back in the XFL for the DC Defenders but it didn’t look that way this week for the Vikings. He had a rough 7 carries for 18 yards and didn’t grade out well in any category. The positive spin a person might put on this is that fact that Smith is fighting for the 4th string / Practice Squad RB position with 7th round rookie Dewayne McBride who played leagues worse, and it seems the staff doesn’t trust him but it’s hard to get excited when Abram struggles on the ground like that. A good performance next week could easily make Smith catch up on lost time.

DL Niko Lalos, New Orleans Saints

Niko Lalos was a pretty safe bet to make the Saints practice squad with him spending time their last year and having a great XFL season in-between then and now, but his performance might call that safe bet into question. Lalos had only 18 snaps and didn’t do anything that’s going to get him more as he scored below average on every single category he qualified for. This led to a rough total grade of 43. Lalos needs to turn it around if he’s going to get that practice squad spot.

HM: QB Reid Sinnett CIN, TE Alize Mack TEN, and WR Lucky Jackson MIN

What are your thoughts on these XFL to NFL athletes? Which will make the official rosters? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!