The Spring League season opener is upon us, and because it’s 2020 they are kicking off in the fall. Games start today on Fox Sports, and this represents a big opportunity for a lot of players trying to make it. Some of our XFL favorites will be playing, as well as many NFL hopefuls, UDFAs, and international players.
Teams haven’t released their official depth charts yet, but let’s take a look at the Jouster’s team, and try to see just how this team will shake out.
Quarterback – Alex Hornibrook
The Jousters originally had USF and XFL playmaker Quinton Flowers here, but he will in fact, not be playing in TSL. However, they have two bright young prospects at QB in Carter Stanley (Kansas) and Alex Hornibrook (Wisconsin/Florida).
Both of these passers went undrafted in 2020 but came from solid college programs. Carter Stanley offers a bit more athleticism but they are both traditional drop-back passers. I like Hornibrook as the starter because of his experience against SEC and Big Ten competition, and he had more efficient production in his college career.
However, they are both viable candidates and if Chuck Bresnahan’s offense needs some more mobility, Stanley could do well.
Running Back – Cedric O’Neal
The Jousters have a classic trio at RB here. Cedric O’Neal strikes me as the lead back, and he rushed for over 4000 yards at 6.2 YPC with 49 TD’s at Valdosta State.
Lavance Taylor is a dynamic playmaker who presents a home-run threat as a rusher and reciever, and could become a 3rd down type back, while James Graham is a converted DE who is built like a short yardage/power back.
Wide Receiver – Rashaun Simonise/Ervin Phillips
Simonise has all the tools, and was a highly sought prospect in Canada after a great career at the University of Calgary. He’s 6’5″/210 pounds and ran a 4.48 40. With size and speed like that its not hard to see why, and he is poised to become the #1 target in this offense.
Ervin Phillips strikes me as a classic slot option underneath, and he had great production at Syracuse in the ACC. He doesn’t have top end speed, but he can get open over the middle and could be a great security blanket for his QB.
John Okwoli and Carlos Baker both have the potential to make an impact as boundry WR’s across from Simonise, and offer good size/speed to threaten defenses.
Charlie Jones is an interesting prospect, as he is making the switch from basketball-football. His ball skill and high-pointing could serve him well.
Tight End – DeAndre Goolsby
Our first veteran XFL guy on the Jousters, Goolsby had a great career at Florida against SEC level talent. He then went on to make an impact on the Tampa Bay Vipers, scoring a key redzone TD in their upset of the DC Defenders.
Jordan Talley out of Nicholls State was primarily used as a blocking TE, but offers some value in the redzone, as he had 5 TD’s on 19 career receptions.
LT – Jeremiah Poutasi
LG – Brandon King
C – Dwayne Scott
RG – Bunchy Stallings
RT – Andrew Lauderdale
DT – Corey Johnson/Noah Jefferson
DE – Travis Feeney/Qaadir Sheppard
Chuck Bresnahan has traditionally run 4-3 defenses, and he has some intruiging pieces to work with on this line.
At DT, NFL and CFL Veteran Corey Johnson has an impressive body of work. At Kentucky he had 36.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, and in the pros has logged 30 tackles and 5 TFL.
Next to him, Noah Jefferson is a huge force with some ability to penetrate into the backfield. Tupou Taniela and Court Hammond both offer value in rotation, and Hammond was the 23rd overall pick in the CFL 2020 draft.
Both of their rostered DE’s strike me as more of edge-setting linemen than pure pass rushers. John Sheehy and Qaadir Sheppard have flashed good run-stopping abilities, but I don’t expect to see constant pressure from this pair.
Linebacker – Travis Feeney – John Lotuleilei – James Folston Jr.
This is a very strong linebacking corps, and each projected starter has a wealth of college production, and pro experience to draw on.
Technically Feeney is rostered as an LB, but he will likely fit in as a classic DE/LB edge rusher in this defense. He by far has the best production as a pass rusher on this team, with 14.5 sacks at Washington, and has been in the NFL, CFL and AAF.
With good length and speed, I’d expect to see him all over the field, and he’s a serious boon in the rush, run D and coverage. I think he’ll be a centerpiece of this defense.
John Lotuleilei is a classic middle linebacker, and while he may not have elite sideline to sideline speed, he is as stout as they come vs the run, and is sneaky good in coverage.
Manoa Pikula is a versatile OLB across from Feeney, and he had good production at BYU across all phases. He’s built like a prototype OLB at 6’1″, 234 and had 4.57 speed to fly across the field.
James Folston Jr. looks like a solid 2D Thumper who will bolster this unit in short yardage/goal line situations, and Andres Espinosa is an exciting international addition from Mexico.
Safety – Tenny Adewusi – Joshua Simmons
Adewusi is a Renegades alum from the XFL, and he put up some great performances as their starting SS. However given his better speed I think he could switch to FS here, but either way he is a rock solid defender on the back end.
Joshua Simmons has great length at 6’3″, and he is a serious ballhawk. He had 15 interceptions and 50 PD in college, and is in line to make some great plays here.
Cornerback – Des Lawrence – Jonte Pooler – Joseph McWilliams
Des Lawrence and Jonte Pooler both have the ideal length and speed to play outside corner, and with NFL experience they are a strong starting pair in this league.
Joseph McWilliams doesn’t have the ideal speed to play outside, but could be a deadly playmaker over the slot. He had 8 interceptions at grambling state, and has a nose for the ball in the run game, while Isaiah Edward should provide quality depth for this unit.
Joseph Zema is taking over as the K/P for the Jousters, and he has a booming leg. As a Punter in college, he had an average of 46.7 yards/punt with a long of 75. However he will have to adjust to taking over placekicking duties here.
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