Twelve USFL to NFL Signings To Practice Squads | Alex McGough

Twelve USFL Players Officially Sign To NFL Practice Squads

In addition to the two USFL athletes who made it to 53 man rosters, the USFL has seen 12 players officially sign to NFL practice squads.

During the offseason, 39 players made their way from the USFL to the NFL. While a high percentage of those athletes were cut, a solid portion of them have re-signed back to their respective organizations. There is a total of 14 athletes on a roster, or practice squad as of this article being written.

QB Alex McGough | Green Bay Packers

Not surprisingly, the USFL’s MVP is back in Green Bay. After dominating the USFL over the past couple of seasons with the Birmingham Stallions, QB Alex McGough landed with the Packers, beating out Danny Etling to be a part of the final three signal callers in preseason.

While he was released from the 53 man roster, McGough now rejoins Green Bay on the practice squad, and will backup Jordan Love and Sean Clifford as the QB3.

WR Austin Watkins | Cleveland Browns

Austin Watkins was electrifying during the preseason for the Cleveland Browns. He took the entire country by storm with his outstanding performances, leading the NFL’s wide receivers in multiple categories through three weeks.

Watkins played for the Birmingham Stallions, winning a USFL Championship this past July. His stint with the Browns proved to be an excellent fit, and he now lands on the practice squad ahead of the NFL season.

DT Khalil Davis | Houston Texans

Khalil Davis was quietly one of the top defensive tackles in the USFL, posting 29 tackles and a sack. After joining the Houston Texans during preseason, he got right to work.

Davis impressed this past weekend, posting a few tackles and a sack in a win against the New Orleans Saints. Now, he’ll be a part of the practice squad in Houston for the time being.

DB Lorenzo Burns | Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns must’ve liked what they saw in Lorenzo Burns – someone who’s been exceptional in the USFL for the past two seasons.

Burns won back to back USFL Championships with the Stallions, and impressed with the Browns throughout training camp. He’ll join Austin Watkins as two Birmingham alumni on the same practice squad.

DB Matt Hankins | Los Angeles Chargers

Hankins was a late addition to the Stallions during the 2022 USFL season, but immediately made an impact, taking a fumble to the house in a clutch week nine win that clinched the team a postseason berth.

The former Iowa standout won the USFL Championship, before joining the Los Angeles Chargers during preseason. He saw playing time in the final game against San Francisco, posting two tackles during the affair.

TE Josh Pederson | Jacksonville Jaguars

Doug Pederson’s son is staying put in Jacksonville. Doug Pederson, the former Houston Gamblers tight end, has joined the Jaguars practice squad.

Pederson impressed in the USFL, serving as one of the stronger tight ends who could both run routes, and block efficiently. Josh joined Jacksonville early on, being the second USFL player to sign with an NFL roster. Now, he sticks with his father’s team ahead of the season.

DB Nehemiah Shelton | New York Jets

Similar to Matt Hankins, Shelton joined the Memphis Showboats during the USFL season. He played in a couple of games, racking up two tackles.

With the New York Jets, Nehemiah saw limited snaps in preseason (one tackle) – but did enough to make the practice squad.

WR D.J. Montgomery | Indianapolis Colts

D.J. Montgomery joined the Michigan Panthers late in the USFL season, seeing a bit of action during their playoff run. D.J. was targeted once in their postseason outing against Pittsburgh.

After signing with Indianapolis, he quickly proved his worth to the organization. Montgomery posted five receptions for 75 yards during the preseason, and now heads to Indianapolis’ practice squad.

WR Kaden Davis | Arizona Cardinals

Once again, Kaden Davis is another example of a player who joined the USFL midseason. He quickly made an impact in Michigan, serving the team with solid special teams play.

Kaden was excellent for Arizona in the preseason, recording 73 yards and a touchdown. It’s excellent to see someone like Davis stick with the Cardinals, considering the team had signed quite a few USFL alumni this offseason.

WR Devin Ross | Las Vegas Raiders

Devin Ross is a bit of an anomaly, having not played a snap for the Michigan Panthers this season. He was one of their leading receivers in 2022 – and joined the squad midseason, but was almost immediately placed on injured reserve.

After a successful workout with the Raiders yesterday, he now signs with the practice squad – being the 40th USFL player to head to the NFL from the 2023 season.

DE Levi Bell | Seattle Seahawks

Levi Bell was, by far, one of the most impressive candidates of anyone during the preseason. He was one of the top ranked defensive rookies according to PFF’s grades, and showcased his skill sets throughout the few weeks of action in training camp.

Bell joined the Michigan Panthers as an undrafted rookie, and made the most of his opportunity. He’s continued to get better over the past several months, and now lands on Seattle’s practice squad.

DB Josh Butler | Dallas Cowboys

What a story for Josh Butler, who has officially made the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. Butler has been through quite a bit of adversity throughout his career – but found new life in the USFL with the Panthers. He was one of the top corners in the league, and it showed once he joined Dallas.

In the preseason, Butler was excellent. He had multiple passes defensed, was 5th on the team with nine total tackles, and made a couple of impressive plays in the backfield. Butler’s opportunity is extremely well deserved.

Had it not been for the national platform that the USFL provided these players with, who knows if these NFL opportunities would have come along.

What are your thoughts on these USFL to NFL signings on the practice squads? Which USFL prospect is next? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

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