The United States Football League’s 2022 draft got underway Tuesday night, and a trio former New England Patriots got the call.
In the position-based snake format, quarterbacks bookended the initial 12-round selection process. Defensive ends, offensive tackles and cornerbacks came off the board in between.
By the end of Wednesday — with wide receivers, safeties, centers, inside linebackers, guards, defensive tackles, running backs, fullbacks, outside linebackers, kickers, punters, tight ends and long snappers to follow in order — all eight teams will have filled out cards for 35 of their 38 spots on active rosters. An additional 10 spots will remain for each when also factoring in practice squads of seven.
But here’s a rundown of where the players from New England’s past have landed thus far.
NEW JERSEY GENERALS
Round 8, No. 3: De’Vante Bausby, cornerback
Now a General and the third cornerback taken overall, Bausby had worked out and signed to the Patriots’ practice squad in October. There, the 29-year-old out of Pittsburg State remained until his contract expired following January’s playoff elimination in the AFC wild card. It was a game that Bausby served as a standard elevation for, playing three defensive snaps against the Buffalo Bills. The 2015 undrafted free agent and Super Bowl LII champion made prior stops with the Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Las Vegas Raiders and San Antonio Commanders. In the regular season, his NFL résumé includes 26 games, six starts, 60 tackles and eight pass deflections.
Round 9, No. 3: Will Likely, cornerback
Drafted by the Gamblers in the second round of cornerbacks, Likely arrived as part of New England’s undrafted class in 2017. He handled 33 snaps on defense to go with a handful of snaps on special teams during his rookie preseason before being waived at the league’s 53-man roster deadline. Six tackles, one pass deflection and three returns were logged over that span for the 27-year-old Maryland product. Since then, Likely has made stops with the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, the DC Defenders of the XFL as well as the Jousters of The Spring League. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection at defensive back and kick returner in 2015, when Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year honors were also earned.
Round 12, No. 3: J’Mar Davis-Smith, quarterback
Davis-Smith finished his Louisiana Tech tenure with 759 completions for 9,523 yards and 51 touchdowns. The 2019 Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year proceeded to sign with the Patriots as a rookie free agent, but was waived as training camp opened in July as NFL rosters electing not to operate under a split-squad setup reduced to 80 amid the Covid-19 pandemic. A workout with the Green Bay Packers followed. The CFL’s Tiger-Cats then signed Davis-Smith last May. The 25-year-old quarterback now becomes the second one in the fold for the Stallions, joining Florida International alum Alex McGough, a seventh-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2018.
The USFL’s 10-game, 12-week schedule kicks off in April at Protective Stadium and Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.