Written By: Roy Countryman @PreacherBoyRoy
As we here @Blitzalytics continue to dive into the XFL teams and who they have come up with through the regular draft as well as the first supplemental draft we will be bringing you team features on every single player rostered, projected depth charts, and a small highlight of what they have to offer. We also will be giving you a brief summation of the type of schemes they may be looking to implement both on the offensive and defensive fronts. Enjoy #XFLNation!
Offensive Coaching Identity:
Jim Zorn(Head Coach): Bruising Running Style, with West Coast Concepts
Mike Riley(OC): One Back, Pro-Style Offense
Joe Callahan (Signed to Detroit Lions PS)
Quarterback Overview: The Dragons have one of the best QB rooms in the XFL.
Silvers has great accuracy, intelligence, and ability to throw with anticipation which fits in line with what Zorn and Riley are looking for. Silvers really played well down the stretch for the AAF, Memphis Express even getting a look with the New York Jets because of it.
Litton was just assigned to the Dragons before the Supplemental Draft, and he has intriguing traits with underrated arm strength, good anticipation, and an affinity for back-shoulder throws. He has spent time under the tutelage of Andy Reid in his limited time in the NFL and should be a high upside choice if Silvers does struggle.
Callahan is the type of QB who gets more out of the sum of his skill set by devotion, moxie, and preparation. He also was recently signed to the Detroit Lions PS.
B.J. Daniels is a scrambling QB whose accuracy wanes unless he gets into a rhythm.
Running Back Overview: The Dragons are two for two in skills positions with the RB depth and quality of talent amongst the best in all the league.
Williams is an explosive runner who has the juice to bounce it outside and take it the distance, but he is also an adept pass catcher and return man.
Farrow is the between the tackle grinder who picks up the dirty yards and is a keenly aware pass protector.
Gardner may be the 3rd RB on the depth chart, but don’t be surprised to see him sitting on the top by midseason because he has the best overall skill set with a low center of gravity, bowling ball running style, pass-catching prowess, and enough speed to bust off big gains. He was one of the stars of the AAF and a vital piece of the San Diego Fleet.
Coleman is RB, dripping with talent that had a decorated career at Washington both as a runner and special teams player, but he struggled with nagging injuries.
Jalen Rowell (Robinette)
WR Corps. Overview: Wow! The front office really did a good job of surrounding Silvers with playmakers all around the offense. They have an impressive blend of skill sets and positional versatility that will make them hard to match up with. The Breakdown is by how I think the targets will flow.
Ross was Dak Prescott’s go-to wideout while at Mississippi State, and he has a nice blend of size, speed, quickness, and route-running ability to be the go-to target for Silvers.
Rowell is a big-bodied target and knows how to go up and make catches at its apex. He had to serve a 2-year tour with the Air Force before being able to return to his football career if he wouldn’t have had that commitment he would have probably already had an opportunity at the next level.
John Santiago is a big play waiting to happen whether as a Slot WR, KR or even at RB. His quickness is evident and can gain separation in small spaces with ease.
Robertson was a sleeper throughout the draft process because of his size, vertical ability, and strength after the catch that makes him a big-time playmaker.
Jones is a big-bodied wideout who has better quickness than pure speed and can win horizontal routes with his strength. He flashed while in the AAF with the Atlanta Legends.
Brady was just selected in the Supplemental Draft, and he also is a big-bodied target that excels at coming down with combat catches.
Williams is versatile WR, who could play the X or Z, and has the route running ability and understanding of body positioning to endear himself early to his QB.
Keenan Reynolds is a converted college QB, that has excellent quickness but is somewhat raw in the small intricacies of route running.
Holder was underutilized at San Diego State because of their endearment with the running game, but that made him refine his skills as a blocker, which he excels at, but don’t sleep on his quickness and route-running prowess that allow him to get open. Think of a very poor man’s Hines Ward.
Proehl is a quicker than fast slot WR that wins with route running and small subtleties to get separation.
Mwehla is a small, but elusive slot type that doesn’t have great vertical speed and must gain separation quickly or else he will struggle to get open.
Connor Hamlett (Riley Coached him at Oregon St)
Tight End Overview: The Dragons have a clear plan in place out at TE, and that is to have a wide variety of complementary pieces to excel in all phases.
Amaro is a former high round pick in the NFL, and has the speed and size to threaten the seam, and shows good effort as a blocker.
Rodriguez is another NFL vet who wins in a variety of ways: In-line, from the FB position, or on the move. He has sure hands and good quickness to be an intermediate target.
Hamlett is a huge target (6’7”) who knows how to use it and is a very good blocker.
Ben Johnson is an athletic Combo TE who excels at getting open downfield as well as being a high-quality blocker.
Clear is a jumbo-sized TE who excels in the run blocking department by blowing defenders off the LOS. He also will sneak out and show off his sure hands as an outlet target.
Jeter is a big-bodied TE, who at this point is a better blocker than pass-catcher because lacks great athleticism to make a big impact in that department.
Offensive Line Overview: The Dragons had a plan during the OL phase of the draft and they knocked it out of the park by targeting starters and quality depth.
Battle is a high-quality LT, that was coveted as a Supplemental Draft pick by the Rams a few years ago. He has a huge build and athleticism to match pass rushers out on the blindside.
Richardson was a stalwart at LG for the AAF, San Antonio Commanders front. He is a wide-body who is surprisingly nimble and can make an impact equally as a run blocker and pass protector.
Day is a grizzled SEC vet, who started a ton of games a C in one of the best conferences in all of college football. He doesn’t have great length, but he is a smart technician who fights with grit and intelligence.
Boulware was a big-time recruit for Tennessee that grad transferred to Miami (FL.) for his final year of eligibility. He features strength, length, and agility that give him an opportunity to be one of the best OL in this league. He has experience at LG or RG.
Eatmon was a 4-year starter at USF and was one of the reasons why RB, Marlon Mack had big-time success running the ball. He has good length, and decent footwork for pass protection, but where he really excels is at coming off the ball with attitude while run blocking.
McCorkle is a small school OT, who has good athleticism and experience at both bookends.
Myers is a big-bodied IOL who is better in a phone booth because of his lack of foot quickness and lateral agility. Played well at times for the Memphis Express.
Dunn is a versatile OL who has good length, strength, and intelligence to be a key reserve as he can play both OG and RT. He put up quality snaps for the Birmingham Iron while the league was in existence.
Rodgers is an OT who is a better pass protector than run blocker, but I believe he has the length and athleticism to manage at LT if need be but is better suited at RT.
Rose is a square bodied, and rugged OL who gets by on grit and intelligence rather than pure athletic traits.
Barron is a veteran C with tons of experience at Purdue who understands blocking schemes and is a great communicator. He lacks great athleticism.
Haskin is a former Arena League and small school football player who has good size and athleticism but needs a lot of refinement.
Defensive Coaching Identity
Clayton Lopez: 4-3 Base, w/ Press Zone tendencies.
Defensive Front Overview:
Stansly Maponga was their first target in the front seven phase of the draft and for good reason, he can rush with a hand in the dirt or standing up and with a defense that should have a lot of similarities to the NFL team in Seattle his powerful and explosive build should excel at wreaking havoc on the QBs in the XFL.
Sutton is a former 3rd round pick of the Chicago Bears and he is at his best shooting gaps upfield and penetrating into the backfield with his good quickness. Has shown the ability to get skinny through gaps and makes it difficult for OL to get their hands on him squarely.
Tupou has a smaller frame for an NT, but think of him more of a penetrating 1 gap, upfield NT. He has grown-man strength, quickness, and a variety of moves to rock OL back on their heels.
Smith has a litany of NFL experience with the majority of time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He can play both left and right end and has an impressive build that flashes heavy hands, great burst, and good technique to win against OTs in a variety of ways.
Anthony Johnson is an intriguing pass rusher who can be deployed all over the formation and can give IOL fits because of his blend of power and quickness off the LOS.
Palepoi was playing at a high level for the AAF, Salt Lake Stallions before they shut down. He has heavy hands and a motor that never keeps him far from the play.
Martin-Oguike is an explosive pass rusher who can dip around the edge with nice bend to get consistent pressure.
Frazier is a high energy pass rusher who utilizes active hands and a wide variety of moves to get past OL.
Tasini is a square bodied DL, who can play multiple techniques. He plays with good pad level and leverage and can push the pocket when given a good matchup.
Ifedi possesses tremendous measurables and his game is predicated as a power rusher who excels in run defense.
Thompson is a very quick penetrating DT who knows how to time up the snap. He lacks the bulk to be able to play on an every-down basis but could be a nice rotational pass-rushing DL.
Liggins is an intriguing athlete that played everywhere in his time at Ole Miss: TE, OL, DL, and even QB. He has great size, strength, and movement ability who just needs the time to focus on one position. The upside could be tremendous.
Ezechukwu is a perfect fit for the LEO position, and he has the strength to stand up at the POA, he has decent speed and get off the LOS, but will make his money on early downs as a run defender.
Bowman was a forgotten man during his time at Washington and has the measurables of a tweener DE/DT, but don’t discount this man’s heart. His motor is always revving and has active hands to be able to shed.
Moten is a scheme versatile DL who has good strength and effort, but he struggles to disengage from blocks.
Miles is an overachieving type DE who gets the most out of his talent by pure effort and determination.
Sam (Strong Side)
Will (Weak Side)
Temple was a player the Dragons coveted early because of his unique skill set. He is shorter than ideal, but man he has great lateral agility, take on strength, and he is able to react in an instant. He brings mean intentions when tackling and flows to the ball quickly because of his instincts.
Johnson is a grizzled NFL vet who has a record of standout special teams experience, but he was given an opportunity in the AAF to showcase his abilities as a starting MLB, and he did not disappoint. He is extremely smart and helps lineup his teammates, is quick to diagnose, and fills rushing lanes appropriately. As a pass defender, he can mirror and match most RBs and TEs that bleed out.
Quiero is a former college safety at Northwestern who will transition to the weak side position due to his quickness, size, and tackling ability. His background as a safety will allow him to be a chess piece pass defender against TEs.
Paul was a high-level producer for the AAF’s, Salt Lake Stallions and will be the first one in line to step into the starting equation if one of the projected should falter. He is quicker than fast and is able to fly down to the ball quickly due to his instincts.
Morgan has good size, but even better athleticism to be able to make plays both in as a run defender as well as be able to maintain good coverage on outlet targets.
Booker is a try-hard LB who dealt with a number of injuries when he was at Ohio State. He has good size and tackling ability which could lead to a role as a core special teams player.
Tyson Graham (SS)
Dean is a long, press CB who has great speed. He has good hip fluidity and the ability to stick in the WR’s hip pocket throughout the duration of the route. He has had a few cups of coffee in the NFL and was behind a lot of DBs during his time in Miami so this is his opportunity to make a statement that he has all the traits of a quality cover CB.
Davis had a storied career at Auburn that included a number of highlight plays, but he fell out of the NFL as a CB and then seen time in the AAF with the Birmingham Iron at FS where he flashed closing quickness, tackling ability, and the ability to make a play on the ball.
Brice is the ideal SS for the Dragons because of his aggressiveness in pursuit, closing speed, and ability to lay bone-jarring hits.
Williams is an NFL vet who spent a few seasons with the Chargers. He has decent size, loose hips, and the ability to stick with WRs without much separation. He gets his hands up to disrupt a lot of catches but lacks the ability to make a ton of INTs.
Moore is also an NFL vet who has a highly valuable skill set because he can play both inside and out. He excels at covering from the slot due to a lack of height, but he has good transitional skills and ability to stay physical with WRs early and often.
Graham was a big-time presence for the AAF, Atlanta Legends both as a downhill run defender as well as a stout nickel defender who would drop down in the box in pass coverage. He has good size and speed but it is his instincts that help him get to so many plays.
Stribling is a long, press CB who played at Michigan as well as with the AAF, Memphis Express. He moves well for a man of his height and even has the fluidity to match up with bigger-bodied WRs from the slot.
Igwebuike has great athleticism for a Safety because he has terrific short-area quickness, sound tackling mechanics, and has great instincts when asked to play in zone coverage.
Brown was an interchangeable safety for the AAF’s, Salt Lake Stallions. He has great size, quickness, and ability to diagnose route concepts which gives him a chance to contribute early and often in the process.
Seisay has terrific height, length, and athleticism especially short-area quickness that should give him a chance to vie for a starting spot as an outside CB. His skill set should also allow him to have a heavy presence on special teams.
Ponder comes from a small school in PA, but he has all the requisite athleticism and length to be quality depth for the outside CB position.
Martin is a king-sized safety who is better as a run defender but has his moments as a coverage safety where he can stifle TEs due to his length.
Ramirez is an aggressive minded safety who flies down in pursuit, but sometimes to his detriment because he will take poor pursuit angles. He has a stoic personality and will hold his teammates accountable.
Greg Joseph (Just Signed to Panthers PS)
Special Teams Overview:
Joseph was a consistent Kicker for the Browns, going 17 out of 20 attempts, with a long of 51 yards in his first season of the NFL, but he did struggle by missing 4 XPs something to which he won’t have to worry about because the XFL will not be having point after touchdown attempts. He also was recently signed to the Panthers practice squad.
Powell was brought in for training camp after Joseph was signed to the Panthers PS, but he has some likeable traits. He has a strong leg with a career long of 56 yard, but his accuracy is so-so sitting at only a .729 completion percentage of FGs while at Washington State
Miller is a steady left-footed punter, who can also handle kickoff duties if need be.
Borden was a three-year starter at LS for Hawaii, handling over 300 snaps without any being off-target.
In the return game, Santiago and Davis should get first cracks as return men because of their ability to set up blocks, be elusive in short areas, and because of their decorated history in college.