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XFL Diamonds: Potential Prospects for the XFL 2020 – Defensive Front 7 Edition

XFL will be here soon, and here are a few players that could be a great addition to the new football league

XFL Diamonds: Potential Prospects For the XFL 2020  Vol. 3 by Matt Anzio

Defensive Front 7 Edition

  • LB – Cardell Rawlings
  • Wingate
  • Height : 6’ 2      
  • Weight: 240 lbs

Rawlings is one of the highest rated LB’s not in a camp.

His career alone should have put him in a team in need of some pass rush & stability in the middle of the field.  In my personal opinion, Rawlings is one of the, if not the best outside pass rushing outside linebacker available. This is a real head scratcher for the life of me can not understand why he is not getting ready for training camp as I write this.  

The Outside LB had an outstanding career with a Senior campaign that included A First Team All American Honor courtesy of the Associated Press.  First Wingate prospect to earn such a high honor since 2014. Was named the SAC Defensive player of the year, All Conference, All Region, All-SAC a Cliff Harris & Gene Upshaw nominee. Just to name a few of his many accolades quite an impressive list of achievements on the field as well as academically.

Straight savage season as a Senior had a school record 18 sacks with 87 tackles,  23 TFL, 4 FF, 2 FR, 20 QBH & 3 PBU in 2018.

First featured Rawlings on my 2019 Dream Bowl  Recap that you can google. Had a pick & a sack was active all day around the ball when on the field. Scouts were high on him from what I heard. No doubt in my mind he would take the XFL by storm be an All-Pro sack machine.

Has it all when it comes to outside LB traits can blitz, contain the run cover make ints. Vicious tacklers show up in every D statistic known to man. What else someone has to do to earns a spot, Rawlings is a special player.

  • DL – Joe Achour
  • Shenandoah
  • Height: 6’ 3
  • Weight: 300 lbs

Has the ideal frame & traits  to be a pro interior DL for many years.

Good upper body to win the battles in the trenches. Has swiftly moving feet to blast around O lineman like they are standing still. Can hold the line at the point of attack win 1 on 1’s with consistency. Short area movement ability to locate the running back & has long arms good reach to create disruption in the passing game.

Sometimes things beyond a players control can cause him to get overlooked or passed on.   

Achour never had much money growing up. Coming from a single parent home with not much help sometimes not even having a roof over his head or enough food to eat. Things were never easy for the big man.   Didn’t have the money to play Pop Warner or little league football. He got recruited to play HS ball & was a better reality then he was living. Even if he had to walk 5 miles just to catch a bus to go to the better school/ football program. During 2 a day was walking up to 20 miles a day but never gave up.

When he got into High School it was obvious that Achor had a natural ability & love of the game.  He strived on the field so much he had a full ride to MWSU. That would sound like a happily ever after story but that’s where again his life took another tragic turn. He could not take the full ride because his Mother fell ill, the 1 person he could always count on. He had to go the JUCO route goes out to Cali with $100 in his pocket & no housing. Then Unfortunately as an SR had to take a year on ineligibility to take care of his  Mom in her time of need. Family first that is something most of us can relate to & I am happy to say his Mom is doing better but it has not been easy.

If anything, less tread on the tires & the film he does have is nothing to sneeze at. He possesses the quickness you prefer at the DT position that even can swing outside in odd fronts. Bull rush power quickness to get their technique strength to finish.

  • LB – Brenton Allen,
  • Pace  University
  • Height: 6’0  
  • Weight: 235lbs

This is the type of player the XFL should build their League behind.

Men like Allen are rare his work ethic, his drive determination & passion I recognized from the day I first spoke with the young ILB from Pace.

Not many LB’s over the last decade you can compare to the great Ray Lewis & I am not saying he is a HOF player this early in his career. Just saying certain traits the fight, the toughness, the attitude giving 100% every play every rep in practice & in the game.

Not feeling sorry for himself wondering why he is not in a camp he is out there making opportunities. Getting shots in Canada with the CFL now getting shot to go pro in the International  Rugby circuit.

Allen doesn’t waste time looking for the next opportunity he creates them.  One of the most determined guys to fulfill his goals. Will stop at nothing to reach his ultimate dream of playing Pro football can’t think of a better option for a young team.  A true leader both vocally & by example, Allen will be a success not only on the field but I lived. Any team would be lucky to have a player with his talents & his character. He should be a high priority prospect when the XFL assembles their rosters.  

Intelligent strong tough takes good angles high football IQ & character. Shined in the All-star circuit & killed it at the HBCU SOA game. Featured Allen a few times cause of his passion determination. Young men like Allen are the type of players you can build a D around.

One shot l is all he needs like to see him on the East Coast maybe Wash D.C. or N.Y.

  • DT/DE  Levi Watson
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Height: 6’5      
  • Weight: 280 lbs

Watson Has Ideal Size & Agility To Fit Many Roles Along The D Line.

Not ranked out of HS Watson’s opportunities to play college ball was limited. After some time he did receive offers from CSU – Pueblo.  Which was close to where he grew up but he found it would be much less distracting to leave his home turf.

Finally found an opportunity at ITASCA Community College where in 2015 he was the D line Player of The Year.   Figured the offers would come pouring in after that year but being in that area it took longer than expected. Eventually landing in Eastern Illinois where he finished his college career as.

Vice grip big powerful hands to move blockers aside like a fat guy moves his free small salad to the side at the pizza buffet.  Everything is large on the 6 ft 5 Watson hands, arms wingspan with functional strength. Gifted athletic naturally strong with very rapid short area burst steady moving feet intense motor. Heavy-handed with good hand placement. Can be moved inside or out an every down D lineman that can be moved around as needed like a chess piece.

It is all untapped potential if you observe the film you can see a DL prospect that if he went to a bigger program would undoubtedly be on his way to training camp.  From just a physical talent stand point he is better than many guys in camps right now. The XFL should jump on this prospect immediately cause he is the prototype interchangeable D lineman.

  • DE/ DT  Anthony Johnson SR
  • Florida International University
  • Height: 6’ 4        
  • Weight: 275 lbs

Buc’s Rookie MiniCamp Invite Looks to Find a Home In The XFL.  

Tampa Bay didn’t keep any of the tryout guys, which is often the case. They are kept on speed dial in case of an injury at any point during the Summer workouts.  Still many times this opens the door to other opportunities. A new League is going to examine any & all the players cut by NFL teams. Was already featured on the This is the XFL podcast  Small school Diamonds segment on Google podcasts to learn more about his journey.

Cause I am going to dive into his attributes on the field. As a DE/DT versatile DL prospect think he fits the edge rusher role best. Has an interesting array of moves he learned from his innovative coach at FIU has a special arsenal of the move she teaches & AJ   mastered them like a seasoned vet.

Johnson who had a stellar year with  40 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 4 PBU & 7 QBH.  Long strong fast off the edge pass rushing superstar that should become something special for some team if not the NFL then the XFL for sure. He is on many radars & it is only a matter of time before he wreaks havoc for a Pro unit.

  • DL/ DT Donte Rumph
  • Kentucky  (Arena)
  • Height:   6’3      
  • Weight: 320 lbs

Been a Huge Fan Of Rumph Since his Kentucky days.

Many might be familiar with Rumph from the show “ Hard knocks” on HBO training camp with the Atlanta Falcons. Where some will remember he was let go on the show despite having a good showing.  Really made a humble man like Rumph feel “ humiliated” as he revealed in his inspiring video. That’s just a numbers game at times but that didn’t stop a determined Rumph sure football fans remember he camped in a tent in front of the Falcons facility for a month trying to get another opportunity.

A man of Faith with a good work ethic is not easily knocked off his path to success. He has played in various places Arena Indoor ball even leading his AAL Arena team the Atlanta Havoc to a National Championship in 2018. Has continued to work his craft train, study film & dominate at the Arena level.

Still, his desire to get back to the pro’s in unwavering & the XFL being a league of 2nd chances. Maybe this could be a good opportunity for him most definitely be getting a seasoned vet that can still move & comes in with a lot more knowledge life experience than a rookie.  A player you know is going to give you all he has cause he has the heart of a champion.

Those not familiar with his playing style he is a big physical interior D lineman with good burstable to take up 2 blockers most times. Wins with power quickness, strength & physicality can fit in various fronts.  Think most football minded ppl can see that he has gotten much better over the years. Picking up techniques & good work habits from the places he’s been.

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NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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