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Grading the XFL Draft, What teams won, who lost? What team will shine?

The XFL Draft is over, but who won the draft? Find out here!

The XFL Draft is over.  It was fun, and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I wanted to really look at the rosters and come up with a nice article on who won the draft, and what team we think on paper is going to be the team to beat.

I do not have a team yet in the XFL so I will not be bias in my opinion. I will breatk down what I think of the teams draft. I will post who I think is their best pick on offense and defense and we will go from there.  Let’s have some fun.

Dallas Renegades

The Renegades were allocated QB Landry Jones who was really the first real player to sign on with the XFL. I have been a big fan of his for years, and thought at one point he would be the best player in his draft class. I missed, but he could still dominate this league, especially with the talent he has around him. The Renegades went with a very fast approach. All of their offense minus their lineman are super athletic.  Their wide outs are quick burners who will scorch your secondary. Guys like Jeff Badet, Tommylee Lewis, and Kelvin McKnight are all quick kids with great hands.  Their running backs were guys like Cameron Arts-Payne and Lance Dunbar, really quick backs with speed and hands to catch, and their tight ends Sean Price and Donald Parham are two big and athletic tight ends. I feel they have a solid offensive line, and decent linebackers. They have some speed off the edge on defense with guys like Hau’oli Kikaha and Frank Alexander and they have some hogs in the middle of the field. Their secondary are tall kids with athletic ability, led by Kurtis Drummond. 

  • Best Late Round Pick on Offense: Joshua Crockett, WR
  • Best Late Round Pick on Defense: Tyrell Thompson, DT

I liked their draft and overall I am giving them an A- for their XFL Draft.

DC Defenders

The Defenders had the first pick in the Draft, and they were allocated one of the most athletic and gifted quarterbacks in the draft with Cardale Jones the former Ohio State gunslinger and Buffalo Bills draft pick. The Defenders went out and drafted Jhurell Pressley one of my top rated running backs in the draft, and then followed it up by getting Donnel Pumphrey.  The Defenders did a good job at finding possession type wide outs and added a huge red zone target with Max McCaffrey. I was a little surprised that the Defenders drafted three tight ends, but all of them are athletic and have played in the NFL.  Their offensive line was pretty solid. I loved their center pick with James O’Hagan.  There were quite a lot of players with Buffalo ties so I am bias when I say I liked that. The Defenders also added Tyree Jackson who will back up/compete with Cardale Jones. They have two of the strongest arm QB’s in the XFL. When it comes to the front seven, the team drafted several solid tackles. Guys like Jameer Thurman, Scooby Wright and Jonathan Celestin are steals at their position.  Their linebackers are set, their pass rush may suffer a bit. They have a solid secondary led by several former NFL players.  I was a little confused that they drafted a punter, but no long snapper and kicker. For that I have to take a little from them.

  • Best Late Round Pick on Offense: LB AJ Tarpley
  • Best Late Round Pick on Defense: S Max Redfield

I have to take a little from this team, but overall I think they had a B- draft

Houston Roughnecks

The Roughnecks have the coolest name, and they were allocated QB Phillip Walker the former Colts QB.  With their first pick though they drafted Connor Cook, which makes me wonder if they were not solid on Walker. The Roughnecks draft big, thick and quick wide receivers. Guys like Deontez Alexander and Sammie Coates will abuse you with their size.  They did not take a TE in the Phase 1 which was a little concerning. I guess with all the big targets they could consider one of them a TE? I am not a huge fan of their running backs minus Nick Holley.  Andre Williams is decent, and will likely be their starter week 1. The Roughnecks used Phase 2 on Interior lineman after going three straight Offensive Tackles. They drafted three centers which is concerning as well.  When it comes to their front seven, I am not seeing much at defensive end or defensive tackle in the draft.  Their linebackers however are stacked. They may have the best linebackers in the XFL, led by Edmond Robinson the former Newberry standout. I absolutely love what they did on special teams by drafting Austin Rehkow who can punt and kick. I am a fan of his. They drafted a few solid defensive backs but I think this team will struggle a bit on D, when I look at the roster on paper.

  • Best Late Round Pick on Offense: RB Akrum Wadley
  • Best Late Round Pick on Defense: DE Kony Ealy

I think Houston will struggle in the first year of the XFL, I hope I am wrong, but I am giving them a C+ for their draft

Los Angeles Wildcats

The Wildcats landed the best quarterback in the XFL when they were allocated D2 Legend Luis Perez. He was a force in the AAF and he led Birmingham to a solid record. The Wildcats did a good job at adding depth at all positions early.  I love the wide outs with Rasahd Ross, Nelson Spruce, KD Cannon, Keyarris Garrett and slot Donteaa Dye.  That is a good wide receiving core for Perez.  At running back they did well with Elijah Hood, speedster Larry Rose and small schooler Martez Carter. Their tight ends were good with Scott Orndoff and Brandon Barnes, they have some talent. LA stacked up on offensive guards and offensive tackles but forgot to draft and anchor for their line in Phas 2. The defensive front seven will be nasty in LA. I love Anthony Johnson from LSU, and Corey Vereen who was a sack machine in the AAF. Their linebackers are decent, I really like Eric Pinkins. They drafted some decent players in their secondary, but it looks like a weakness on paper.

  • Best Late Round Pick on Offense: Taryn Christion QB
  • Best Late Round Pick on Defense: Shawn Oakman, DE

This team did not draft a center at all? You have the best quarterback in the league and do not get him a true center? That is a problem. Overall Grade: C

New York Guardians

The Guardians were awarded QB Matt McGloin the former Raiders quarterback to lead the way. I love the help they gave him at wide out with Tanner Gentry, Mekale McKay, Demarcus Ayers and DeAngelo Yancey. At running back I feel there is a hole.  They did draft some former NFL tight ends which will help out McGloin. I love NEW YORK’s OL. They went in, drafting some massive men. They will do a great job at protecting McGloin and opening up holes. You will have a tough time running the ball on New York. While the edge presence is not great, the DT’s are huge men. They have TJ Barnes, Garrison Smith, and Joey Mbu who will make it hard to run on. Nick Deluca is a special linebacker, and he will be teamed with Ben Heeney and D’Juan Hines. I like this group a lot. When it comes to corners I love the Jamar Summers pick and David Rivers pick.  My favorite safety on their roster is Andrew Soroh, but they could use another safety. They drafted a longsnapper, but no kicker or punter……

  • Best Late Round Pick on Offense: Jake Sutherland, TE
  • Best Late Round Pick on Defense: Vic Ochi, DE

I try to be serious when grading the drafts because I feel all units are key. But no specialist pisses me off, as I was a kicker.  So Overall Grade, B-

St. Louis BattleHawks

BattleHawks landed Jordan Ta’amu from Ole Miss as their allocated QB.  He is a gunslinger, and his team found him some weapons. Christine Michael is a speed back with great hands.  The team also landed him De’Mornay Pierson-El and L’DaMian Washington. Two of their Phase 1 guys were signed to NFL Practice Squads already (Wes Saxton and Ishmael Hyman) which hurts. I love Alonzo Russell though, he is a huge taret who catches touchdowns. The BattleHawks also had their center called up to the NFL as well. Their offensive line is good, not great. Their front seven will send guys to the NFL.  They have a talented group led by former West Virginia LB Terence Garvin. Bronson Kaufusi was also signed to an NFL practice squad. Their secondary has two of my favorite players in Dexter McCoin and Joe Powell. They drafted an entire special teams unit so that is good.

  • Best Late Round Pick on Offense: Brandon Reilly, WR
  • Best Late Round Pick on Defense: Jake Payne, DE

This team has already sent four players to the NFL, and they have not played one game yet.  This team is stacked with talent and they will be a good team. B+

Seattle Dragons

The Dragons were given Brandon Silvers in the quarterback allocation. While he is a good player I think they drafted a better quarterback in the open phase.  They landed some solid running backs early in Kenneth Farrow and Trey Williams. At WR they have some studs like Fred Ross, Kasen Williams and Keenan Reynolds. I love the talent they have at tight end, landing two former NFL tight ends in Evan Rodrgiguez and former Jets draft pick Jace Amaro. Their offensive line is serious, I am a huge fan of it.  They have some hogs. On defense they have some big Poly boys and I am a huge fan of that.  Add in Jacquies Smith off the edge and they will get some pressure on QB’s. Their secondary is suspect, I love Sterling Moore and former AAF standout Tyson Graham but after those two I think they will be ok.

  • Best Late Round Pick on Offense: Joe Callahan, QB
  • Best Late Round Pick on Defense: Anthony “Gut” Johnson, DE

I think the Dragons did a good job at drafting, and I think they will win games. They built the offensive and defensive lines right and that will help their QB play. Overall B

Tampa Bay Vipers

I want to take a quick second to thank the Tampa Bay Vipers scouting staff, because as someone who followed the entire draft, they were the most prepared team. They knew who they wanted and followed their board. The longest they stayed on the clock was 16 seconds.  That is impressive. Let’s talk about the Vipers draft now. Vipers landed Tampa native Aaron Murray and the first thing they wanted to do is get him huge targets. They did that and while many criticized their first pick I thought it was genius. Nick Truesdell was the best tight end in the AAF at one point catching 29 balls in a row without a drop. He is a huge target in the red zone as well. Then the Vipers added Seantavious Jones, Jalen Tolliver, Rannell Hall, Alonzo Moore and Reece Horn. The Vipers killed it when it comes to weapons. They drafted Quinton Flowers and De’Veon Smith at running back which I feel could be a weakness. When it comes to offensive line they landed the best center in Jordan McCray, and one of my biggest sleepers in Martez Ivey.  They have a top 3 offensive line in my opinion. Their front seven is a little suspect, I like the Deiontrez Mount pick, but they could have did a better job in my opinion there. At defensive back they are stacked. The Vipers have some depth for days, they drafted cornerbacks after cornerbacks. I like it.

  • Best Late Round Pick on Offense: Willie Quinn, WR
  • Best Late Round Pick on Defense: Nikita Whitlock, DT

I think the Vipers are ready, and I think they won the draft.  I am going to give them an A overall.  Great job and they were well prepared

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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