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Five ex-Wildcats drafted into the new XFL

Northwestern’s representation within the realm of professional football has swelled significantly.

NCAA Football: Music Bowl-Kentucky vs Northwestern Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple recent Northwestern graduates heard some good news on Wednesday. The XFL, which will be relaunching in 2020 with a new eight-team structure, held its inaugural draft this week, and five former Wildcats were selected in the process.

Three of the players, Flynn Nagel, Tommy Doles, and Jordan Thompson, are still in their first year post-Northwestern. Each saw at least some time during training camp with an NFL team, though Nagel earned only a workout. A fourth, Kyle Queiro (pictured), is a year older, and was a member of the Cowboys’ practice squad last year.

Hunter Niswander, the former NU punter and fifth and final member of the Evanston brigade, has not seen time with an NFL team in any capacity (as far as we can tell based on publicly available knowledge) since a 2018 rookie minicamp stint with the Steelers.

Including the ten players on active NFL rosters, the four members of practice squads, Trevor Siemian and Ibraheim Campbell (each currently on injured reserve), and longtime CFL running back Tyrell Sutton, who recently caught on with the Hamilton TigerCats, the total number of pro ‘Cats stateside* has now grown to 22.

*Thanks to a commenter, we now know that Fred Wyatt and Ian Park have begun to play in the Japanese X League this year. The two are currently teammates on the Lixil Deers.

Niswander was the first ex-Northwestern player selected, with the DC Defenders even throwing in a bit of a joke as they took him off the board early in the fifth phase:

After him, Thompson and Queiro, the only two former Wildcat defenders taken in the draft, each headed west, where they will be teammates once again with Jim Zorn and the Seattle Dragons.

Nagel, also picked late, will travel to Texas and join Bob Stoops.

Last but not least, Doles, who, along with Queiro, probably spent the most time in NFL camps this offseason, will be off to the Empire State.

The draft spanned five phases and 71 rounds, with the first four based on position and the fifth open to all players. Each Wildcat was selected in that final phase.

Rosters will be cut from their current size (71) down to 52 before the season is scheduled to begin on February 8th, directly after the Super Bowl. We will do our best to keep you updated on the continued progress of these former Wildcats.