The 2022-2023 NFL season has sadly come to an end. The Atlanta Falcons haven’t played in months, but we all still got to enjoy some football until last weekend’s finale with the Super Bowl. Which then brings up the question — now what do we do?
Well, aren't we all in luck! With the NFL season wrapping up, there is some football yet that we can all enjoy this Spring. The XFL is back! That’s right, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia have brought back the XFL in 2023. The XFL, under new management, serves to not rival the NFL but give those hoping to return to the NFL and those who are hoping to make it for the first time, the opportunity to display their talents in a sort of supplemental league.
With that, there’s some former Falcons’ players who are giving it a go. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable and their teams. Maybe it’ll help you find a team to cheer for?
OL Willie Beavers, DB Jamal Carter, DB Josh Hawkins, DB Jordan Miller
Willie Beavers was signed to the Falcons practice squad at the start of the 2020 season. He was mainly a practice squad, reserve player for his stint in Atlanta before being released by the Falcons during the 2022 offseason. Jamal Carter was on the Falcons roster from 2019-2020 and was elevated to the active roster for the team’s October 5th game against the Green Bay Packers. He was then released on October 7th.
After a stint in the former XFL, Josh Hawkins signed with the Falcons during the 2020 offseason. He would remain a practice squad player for ten days before being released.
Jordan Miller was a former fifth-round selection by the Falcons in the 2019 NFL Draft. Miller was suspended for four games towards the end of the 2019 season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy and would never really regain his footing in Atlanta. After his return the following season, Miller was placed on injured reserve with an oblique injury and was waived from injured on December 22, 2020.
DL Austin Edwards
The lone former Falcons on the Roughnecks is defensive lineman Austin Edwards. Edwards was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Ferris State by the Falcons following the 2020 NFL Draft.
Edwards, who spoke with The Falcoholic that Summer, eventually went on to be a practice squad player for the Falcons and was elevated to the active roster for the team’s Week 7 game against the Detroit Lions. He’s currently on the Roughnecks’ reserve list.
WR Dontez Byrd, TE Ryan Becker, DL Stansly Maponga, LB Erroll Thompson
Dontez Byrd had a very brief stunt with the Falcons. Byrd was signed by the team as an undrafted free agent following the 2018 NFL Draft and was waived at the start of the 2018 regular season. Ryan Becker is one of the more recent former Falcons’ players. Becker was signed by the Falcons during the 2021 offseason but was eventually placed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. Although he was re-signed by the Falcons during the next offseason, he was released prior to the start of the 2022 season.
You read that right, Stansly Maponga is still playing football. Maponga was a fifth-round pick by the Falcons in the 2013 NFL Draft, almost a decade ago, and played two seasons in Atlanta. He was eventually waived at the start of the 2015 season. Erroll Thompson is another former Falcons’ player who was signed as an undrafted free agent. Thompson spoke with The Falcoholic that summer.
San Antonio Brahmas
OL Willie Wright, LB Jordan Williams
Despite not making the roster, offensive lineman Willie Wright spent a majority of the 2020 season on the Falcons’ practice squad. He was eventually elevated to the active roster for the Week 14 game against the Los Angeles Chargers before reverting back to the practice squad. Eventually, Wright was waived at the start of the 2021 regular season.
Another former Falcons’ player who spoke with The Falcoholic as apart of my annual UDFA Q&A, Williams is keeping his love of football alive by playing in the XFL.
Seattle Sea Dragons
WR Juwan Green, LB Tuzar Skipper, DB Shareef Miller, P Cameron Nizialek
Juwan Green may not have been invited to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing a career in professional football. Green was signed as an undrafted free agent following the draft that year and spent his rookie season on the team’s practice squad. He was eventually released towards the end of the 2021 regular season. A pretty cool name, Tuzar Skipper spent exactly one month on the Falcons practice squad at the start of the 2021 season.
Another player who spent a brief time in Atlanta, Shareef Miller spent roughly a month and seven days on the Falcons roster at the start of the 2021 season. Punter Cameron Nizialek was pretty solid in Atlanta but unfortunately was placed on injured reserve and never really got another chance with the Falcons.
St. Louis Battlehawks
QB A.J. McCarron, RB Brian Hill, DB Chris Cooper, P Sterling Hofrichter
Someone who had promise in Atlanta, quarterback A.J. McCarron was signed by the Falcons with hope of being a depth piece for the team in 2021. Unfortunately for him, McCarron tore his ACL during a rough preseason for him and his season was over.
One of the more memorable of the players mentioned, Brian Hill was a pretty solid running back for the Falcons. Hill had two stints in Atlanta, one as a fifth-round selection during the 2017 season and the other from 2018-2020 after spending time with the Cincinnati Bengals. In Atlanta, Hill totaled 945 yards and three touchdowns on 198 carries.
Chris Cooper was another player who spent most of his time on the team’s practice squad. Cooper was eventually cut by the team at the start of the 2020 regular season. Punter Sterling Hofricther is another easily recognizable name on the list.
Hofricther was drafted by the Falcons in the seventh-round of the 2020 NFL Draft. After one season with the Falcons, Hofrichter was released by the team at the start of the 2021 season.
WR Geronimo Allison, WR Jeff Badet, LB Vic Beasley
Geronimo Allison had a pretty decent career with the Green Bay Packer before signing with the Falcons during the 2022 offseason. However, he never made it to the regular season before being cut by the Falcons prior to the 2022 regular season. Jeff Badet spent some time with the Falcons in 2021 before being placed on injured reserve. With games already being played, Badet scored the first XFL touchdown of the 2023 season.
Last but certainly not least, the man who all of you will remember and definitely made the most impact for the Falcons out of everyone on the list: Vic Beasley. Beasley was the eighth overall selection by the Falcons in the 2015 NFL Draft and went on to lead the NFL in sacks in 2016 and was even selected as a First-Team All-Pro. After some lackluster seasons following 2016, Beasley entered free agency in 2020 where he eventually signed with the Tennessee Titans.
Well, that pretty much does it. The XFL is already underway and although it’s not going to match the excitement of the NFL, it’s football. Which team will you be pulling for?