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5 Houston Roughnecks players you should watch

HOUSTON – Houston’s XFL team brings a collection of near-NFL talent to the city, including a handful of players you know from the league. While some of the XFL players have struggled to get a shot in the NFL, they were more than likely standouts in college.

Here are 5 players to watch for the first season of the XFL’s Roughnecks.

The QBs: P.J. Walker and Connor Cook

Two college standouts will battle for the QB job.

Connor Cook led Michigan State to the College Football Playoff before getting drafted in the 4th round by the Raiders. Cook started a 2016 playoff game against the Houston Texans, losing 27-14. Cook struggled, passing for 161 yards, one TD and three interceptions.

You may remember P.J. Walker from Temple, where he and Robby Anderson (now of the Jets) had a great connection in Matt Rhule’s offense.

Andre Williams, running back

The 2013 Doak Walker Award winner is one of only a handful of players to rush for 2,000+ yards in a season, which he did at Boston College. Williams played for the Giants and Chargers between 2014-2017. Williams had his best NFL season as a rookie, rushing for 721 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014.

Sammie Coates, wide receiver

A short-time Houston Texans player, Coates best made his mark at Auburn where he played in the 2014 National Championship game.

Coates was a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers and played two full seasons for the Steelers, where he started five games. Coates has 29 catches for 528 yards and two TDs in his NFL career.

Kony Ealy, defensive end

A second-round pick of the Carolina Panthers, Ealy started 19 NFL games for Carolina and the New York Jets. Ealy recorded 15 sacks and two interceptions in four seasons as a half-time NFL starter.

Ealy was also an All-SEC standout at Missouri. He’s best known for his great performance in Super Bowl 50, sacking Peyton Manning three times in 23 snaps. Ealy also intercepted Manning in the loss. He’s the first player in NFL history with an interception and multi-sack game in a Super Bowl. His three sacks is a tie for an NFL record – with Darnell Dockett and Reggie White.