Image Credit: (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
The XFL 2023 Season is getting closer and I am very excited. While Spring Football Leagues have come and gone, I believe that there is a real market for it. As a hype for the 1st season I have decided to give a Top 5 list of notable players on each team in the XFL. Next up is the D.C. Defenders.
5. WR Chad Hansen
Hansen is a notable journeyman on this team. He has been a part of multiple different squads since being drafted in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He only had 9 catches with the squad and was eventually released. He was on and off the New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, and Atlanta Falcons. His best tenure was with the Hostin Texans as he showed flashes with that team. I went back and watched their game against the Colts in Week 13 of the 2020 NFL Season and Hansen played well. If he can hone his skills and reemerge with the DC Defenders he could be a great receiver in the XFL.
4. K Matt McCrane
McCrane was a guy who years ago I thought was going to be a solid kicker in the NFL for years to come. Especially when he kicked with the Steelers and Raiders in 2018 as he made some great kicks there. He even showed flashes in Arizona too.
Unfortunately Daniel Carlson became available for the Raiders and Chris Boswell is one of the best kickers in the league, so McCrane was out of those two teams. McCrane has also not won kicking battles with the many teams he has been on in the NFL. He has tried with the Arizona Cardinals (Twice), Philadelphia Eagles, and Cleveland Browns but has failed to win. He did play with the XFL New York Guardians in 2020 and made 8 of 8 field goals (Longest being 53 yards). The pandemic hitting resulted in the league ceasing operations, which sucks as McCrane was one of the best kickers in the league. Now he has another opportunity signing with the DC Defenders, hopefully he impresses this season and gets another shot in the NFL.
3. RB Ryquell Armstead
I will be honest Armstead was a player I had my eye on in the 2019 NFL Draft and looking at the tape in Temple he was a tough runner and a great pass catcher.
He showed flashes in his first season in his rookie season and I thought he would have a better year in 2020. Then the Covid-19 Pandemic hit and it did not go to plan. Especially when Armstead contracted Covid-19 and it was a very bad case where he was hospitalized twice due to significant respiratory issues and even got diagnosed with myocarditis.
It is super scary hearing this and Armstead was never the same since getting Covid-19. I think it was telling that the Jaguars decided to just part ways with Armstead and since that happened, he has not stuck on the roster. He was with the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, and New Orleans Saints but was mainly on the practice squad. Now he has an opportunity to play with the DC Defenders and knowing his story I want him to succeed with the Defenders.
2. LB Reggie Northrup
Northrup has a very unique journey in sports. Did you know that Northrup is also an MMA fighter with 5 wins (3 knockouts and 2 Submissions). I am not an MMA fan, but that is cool that he is doing that along with being a football player.
He played in the NFL with the Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Rams, but did not stick on either roster. He has been a journeyman playing in multiple different leagues. Once he left the NFL he joined the CFL where he played with the Montreal Alouettes and was solid in the league. Next year he joined the Orlando Apollos in the AAF and was a piece on that team. It sucks that the league ceased operations, because the Apollos were the favorites to win the championship. When the XFL arrived in 2020 he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Vipers in the 4th round. The pandemic hitting ended his tenure quickly with the Vipers and he went to the USFL Houston Gamblers. The most memorable part was when he was in the middle of a drill with an unlit cigarette which prompted an investigation from the league, which turned out to be just a fake one and did it for a social media/hype thing for him.
But he was a great player for the Gamblers and now joining the Defenders he should do well with the Defenders.
1. QB Jordan Ta'amu
No question that Ta’amu had to go on this list. While he was on the Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Football Team, and Carolina Panthers he was on and of their teams. He performed very well when he was with the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawk in 2020 and USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits in 2022.
He was hands down the best QB in the USFL as he threw for 2,015 passing yards, 14 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 365 rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown. Although the team went 4-6 Ta’amu did what he could and I hope he continues to succeed with the DC Defenders and maybe get another opportunity in the NFL.