The 2023 XFL draft is officially in the books, and several former members of the Chicago Bears will be getting new opportunities.
The draft took place over three days, from November 15-17, at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Approximately 1,700 players were eligible for the 528 spots slated to be available in training camp for the eight XFL franchises. Those 528 slots will ultimately be whittled down to 400 roster spots.
Owned by a group led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the league features eight teams: the Arlington Renegades, San Antonio Brahmas, Orlando Guardians, Vegas Vipers, Seattle Sea Dragons, Houston Roughnecks, DC Defenders, and the St. Louis BattleHawks.
The primary goal of the XFL is to give players shot at getting a call from an NFL squad, and players drafted included undrafted free agents who have never taken an NFL snap along with former NFL veterans who have fallen out of the league for one reason or another.
Here’s a look at some of the former Bears who were selected.
CB Kevin Toliver Spent 2018 & 2019 Seasons With Bears
Former Bears cornerback Kevin Toliver may be the most notable former Bears player selected, getting drafted in Round 17 by the Roughnecks. Toliver signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent out of LSU in 2018, and he played in Chicago for two seasons, appearing in 27 games (two starts), finishing with 32 total tackles and four passes defensed.
Toliver landed with the Denver Broncos in 2020, reuniting with former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. He appeared in two games that year, and hasn’t played in the league since.
Quarterbacks were selected on Day 1 of the draft, and two former Bears practice squad QBs were also chosen. Ryan Willis signed with the Bears in December of 2021, and was moved to the active roster for Chicago’s December 25 game against the Seattle Seahawks. He spent January 2022 until May 2022 with the Bears before his release. Willis was drafted by the BattleHawks.
Kyle Sloter, another QB who spent time on Chicago’s practice squad in 2020, was also selected in the first round by the Breakers.
Other Bears Taken in XFL Draft Include WR Kevin Shaa
Wide receiver Kevin Shaa (Seattle Sea Dragons) was taken sixth overall in the first round, which featured offensive skill players. The Bears signed Shaa as an UDFA out of Liberty, and he seemed like a lock to make the practice squad before getting released during roster cuts.
“We’re getting somebody that is fast and has a great understanding of the game,” Sea Dragons coach Jim Haslett said about Shaa, via the Seattle Times. “He had a great camp with Chicago, (and) fits our system. We’re going to do the run-and-shoot, so we wanted a receiver that could run a little bit and he fits the bill.”
Other former Bears players selected in the XFL draft include cornerback Dee Virgin, who was taken by the Guardians in Round 14, offensive lineman LaCale London (BattleHawks) and former Ohio State running back De’Montre Tuggle, who was taken 10th overall in Round 2 by the Renegades.
“Sometimes in life all you need is one shot to prove yourself and the XFL provides that chance,” Dwayne Johnson said about the league, per The Source. “These players have been working hard and beating the odds. We have seen their passion at the showcases, we have seen their commitment to the game, and now we – as owners, coaches and trainers – are in a position to take their game to the next level.”