USFL Draft start time, pick order & more: A complete guide to how the 2023 college draft will work

The USFL is doing what no Spring Football League has done in a long time. It’s coming back for a second season.

The USFL always planned to make their quest for spring football a multi-year endeavor. While much of the attention was focused on the XFL’s return in mid-February, the USFL is starting to make some noise in preparation for its second season.

The 2023 USFL Draft is scheduled to take place on Tuesday. The league will add 80 new players to its ranks in hopes of expanding its rosters and preparing for the start of the 2023 season in mid-April.

“We are building the USFL for long-term success, and our first-ever collegiate draft demonstrates our clear focus on building winning teams for Season 2, Season 3 and beyond,” said .

“The USFL will continue to seek and rank the best players for our league,” said Daryl Johnston, executive vice president of football operations, in a press release. “We’re excited to see who the next KaVontae Turpin will be to turn an opportunity in the USFL into a stepping stone to NFL success. The execution of our first College Draft shows that the USFL is committed to providing these talented players with an alternative path to their professional football dreams.”

Indeed, the 2023 USFL Draft will be a big day for the league, but how exactly does it work? Here’s what you should know about the league’s player selection process in 2023, and how it differs from the league’s draft last season.

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When is the 2023 USFL Draft?

  • Date: Tuesday 21 February
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET

The USFL draft for 2023 takes place on Tuesday, February 21st. The event will only be a one-day process as each of the league’s eight teams will select the rights to 10 players to build their rosters for the 2023 USFL season.

This differs from the 2022 USFL Draft, which was a multi-day event where teams built their entire rosters. This time around, each of the eight teams already has players on the roster and will seek to complement their talents with players who have either completed their college education, exhausted their eligibility, or renounced their remaining eligibility. You don’t have to create an entire roster from scratch.

How does the USFL draft work?

The USFL draft works similarly to the NFL draft, but with a few exceptions. There are no restrictions on what position a team can draft with their picks, which is a departure from the 2022 USFL Draft, which required teams to pick specific positions at specific times.

The most notable difference between the USFL and NFL drafts is that there will be no trades during the USFL draft. The league prohibits teams from trading picks or players already under contract for the rights of other players. It’s unclear if that’s only true during draft, or if it’s for a period afterward.

In terms of time, each team has five minutes in the first three rounds to make a selection. In the last seven rounds, the clubs have three minutes to choose from. There is also a five-minute break between rounds.

By the end of the draft, each team will have selected 10 new players to join their organization.

MORE: How Birmingham Stallions beat Philadelphia Stars in USFL championship game

USFL Draft Player Pool 2023

The USFL has not clarified which players will be available in their 2023 draft. The league announced in a press release that approximately 3,000 players will be eligible to play professional football, giving the league many options.

Overall, only 80 of the 3,000 (2.7 percent) eligible players will be selected. It’s not clear if all of the players selected will play for the USFL, or if some will play for other leagues while the team in question holds on to their rights.

USFL draft pick order

Below is the draft order for the first round of the 2023 USFL draft.

Choose team
1 Michigan Panther
2 Pittsburgh Maulers
3 Houston player
4 Memphis show boats
5 New Orleans breaker
6 Philadelphia Stars
7 Birmingham stallions
8th Generals of New Jersey*

The USFL draft order is the reverse order of league rankings for 2022 with a twist. The Panthers and Maulers actually played a head-to-head game in Week 10 to decide which team would be the #1 pick in the draft. The Panthers won the game, so they were granted the #1 pick.

Additionally, the generals were penalized for violating the USFL’s off-season roster management rules. Therefore, they have no selection in the first round and all of their selections from rounds 2 through 9 are made at the end of the round.

In Round 10, New Jersey makes its normal selection of 6th overall for the round. It then gets the final draft pick to compensate for not having a first-round pick. This ensures that each of the USFL’s eight teams selects 10 prospects each.


How much will USFL players make?

USFL players have a chance to earn a maximum salary of about $60,500 in 2023, a source familiar with negotiations told The Sporting News. That would require players to be active for every regular-season game, attend all training camps, and win a championship, since USFL players are paid weekly and have incentives built into their contracts.

Below is a breakdown of what a USFL contract pays:

  • Maximum Total Salary: $60,500
  • active player: $5,350 per week
  • inactive player: $2,500 per week
  • training camp: $400 per week
  • Championship Win Bonus: $5,000

In the USFL’s first season, players were paid $4,500 per week when active and $1,500 when inactive. The new payout totals mean increases of 18.8 percent and 66.6 percent, respectively.

The league will also offer annual benefits to players $26,000 per player, covering retirement, per diem, training camp accommodation and education.

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