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Daryl Johnston expects more USFL players to sign with NFL teams in coming weeks

While they are separate entities, the original and current USFL leagues have one major thing in common, and that is the number of players who jumped from their leagues to the NFL. While Reggie White, Steve Young, and other future stars moved from the USFL to the NFL in the mid-1980s, more than 50 players participating in the USFL’s recently concluded 2022 season are currently on the NFL roster .

According to former NFL star and current USFL executive vice president of football operations Daryl Johnston, the rapid influx of USFL talent into the NFL is one of the major goals of the current league.

“I give everything to our players and our coaches,” Johnston told CBS Sports this week. “It exceeded my expectations. . . . I still think I’m surprised how many people haven’t been invited to training camp yet, but we’ll wait and see what happens next.”

One of those players was running back Mark Thompson’s Houston Gamblers, who was one of the NFL leaders last season in rushing yards, touchdowns and all-purpose yards. While he acknowledges that the NFL has strayed from the classic powerback, Johnston believes Thompson’s skill set fits into the plans of several NFL teams.

“I think Tennessee’s Mark is a great fit,” Johnston said. “I think he’s a Derrick Henry-style guy. . . . It’s unique when you’re 6-foot-3 and 235 years old and can stay away from the crowd.”

While he doesn’t have Johnston’s chance yet, he thinks a USFL player like Thompson will have a chance to join an NFL team in the coming weeks, especially if the team continues to get injured at specific positions.

“There’s an opportunity for those of us who are in football shape and ready to go to NFL training camp,” Johnston said. “The experience they’re going to have in the [NFL] is why we’re doing this. I’m very happy for the players who have the opportunity to spend that time in training camp.”

with Players and coaches together, Johnston cites the USFL’s schedule as one of the main reasons the league has been successful in getting players onto NFL rosters. The league ran a 10-week regular season, ending with three-game playoffs in two weeks.

“I just feel like the way the calendar is structured — even if you’re in the championship game on July 3 — you have enough time to get your body back in shape to get into the NFL playbook, ‘ said Johnston. “You’re already in football shape, you’ve just finished a 10, 11, 12 game season. Your body is ready for football.”

All in all, the USFL has had a successful inauguration The season kicked off with a very interesting championship game. Another victory for the USFL was that they were the first Spring League season to complete in more than 20 years.

In addition to these successes, Johnston believes that one of the USFL’s greatest successes is its growing partnership with the NFL, as this season’s NFL games will be filled with former USFL stars.

“We knew what the NFL’s brand was, and we knew we couldn’t compete,” Johnston said. “We want to be an independent professional football league that provides an unconventional approach to the NFL.”



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