The Arlington Renegades have completed their first-ever XFL Rookie Draft by selecting ten players on Friday.
How the draft was organized was a ten-round, 80-pick set up with each team having ten picks going into the day. The Renegades were the eighth pick of each round due to winning the XFL Championship back in May. XFL teams will hold exclusive rights to the players they draft as their roster sizes look to increase to 90. The rookies will join players that finished the season on active and reserve lists. All players who sign an XFL contract will have an “NFL Out” in their contracts until December 26, 2023, which would be the conclusion of Week 16 of the NFL season.
Arlington Renegades 2023 XFL Rookie Draft Results
Trade Before the Draft
A trade was made prior to the draft starting on Friday as the Renegades made a trade with the Seattle Sea Dragons. Arlington traded offensive lineman George Moore and the 40th overall pick to Seattle in exchange for linebacker Tuzar Skipper and the 46th overall pick.
Moore played at the left tackle position for Arlington last season spending time as the starter for the Renegades. He would eventually split time with Willie Beavers at some point in the season. Moore will be brought in to help with Seattle’s offensive line that saw some struggles last season protecting quarterback Ben DiNucci.
Skipper has seen NFL action with the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans in his career. He was ranked fourth in the XFL with a team-high six sacks in the 2023 season for Seattle. Skipper also recorded 20 tackles in ten games during the regular season.
Arlington Renegades Draft Picks
Sy Barnett, WR, Davenport
Standing at six foot tall, Sy Barnett played wide receiver for Davenport last season. In just one season, Barnett recorded 53 catches for 694 yards and four touchdowns in nine games. Barnett went undrafted in the NFL Draft and was signed by the New Orleans Saints for a short time before being released from the team. He’s the first player in Davenport’s history to get signed by an NFL team.
Speed is something Arlington was lacking at the wide receiver position, and they found someone who’s got that speed. Barnett ran a 4.38 40-yard dash so despite being a bit undersized, he can fly. He would be a good fit as the slot receiver for Arlington as they look for more speed to complement Tyler Vaughns, LuJuan Winningham, and JaVonta Payton.
Connor Degenhardt, QB, New Haven
The Renegades brought in some depth at the quarterback position as Connor Degenhardt was selected from the team. Degenhardt performed well in two seasons at New Haven throwing for 3,907 yards and 43 touchdowns to just nine interceptions. He also ran for 193 yards and 19 touchdowns in two total seasons. Degenhardt was named Second Team Northeast-10 All-Conference in 2021. He participated in Kansas City Chiefs rookie minicamp this spring.
Degenhardt certainly has the build to be a legit development quarterback with his six-foot-six-inch height. He’s got a strong arm that can bomb his passes down the field, which was an aspect of the Renegades’ game that was missing last year. Should Luis Perez stay around, Degenhardt will have to battle for the backup job with Drew Plitt and Kelly Bryant.
Ami Finau, DL, Maryland
The big defensive tackle Ami Finau was a plug in the middle of the defensive line for Maryland for three seasons there in college. During those three seasons there, Finau recorded 87 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and one block in 30 games played. He was a 2021 and 2022 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten member. Finau was invited to the New York Giants rookie minicamp this spring.
After the loss of T.J. Barnes with his retirement, the Renegades were looking for size with Josiah Coatney being the only player on the defensive line who weighs over 300 pounds. Finau would make for a good depth player behind Coatney and Doug Costin.
Jalen Green, DB, Mississippi State
Jalen Green played his college ball at Mississippi State where he started his career with the University of Texas. Green joined Mississippi State in 2021 playing two seasons with the Bulldogs. In 24 games played, he recorded 88 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, 14 pass deflections, and two fumble recoveries. He participated in the Minnesota Vikings rookie minicamp this spring.
Green should make for a good cornerback with room for development as he is strong on coverage. Tackling is where he needs to show improvement as he tends to miss tackles on offensive players. He’ll be with a good group in the secondary as it was the strength of the Renegades last season.
Charles Hall, WR, Arizona State
Charles Hall was a dual-sport athlete at Virginia Union, competing in football and track and field where he logged nine games with 100+ receiving yards as a junior in 2021. Hall transferred to Arizona State in his senior season recording nine catches for 104 yards in ten games played. He participated in the Kansas City Chiefs rookie minicamp.
Hall has the ability to also make big plays, which is what Arlington is clearly trying to get going with their offense. His speed is going to help the Renegades out on offense by stretching the field. In a crowded receiver room, Hall is going to have a lot of work to do to stand out from the rest.
James Jackson, OL, South Alabama
James Jackson was a two-year starter at South Alabama after transferring from Mississippi State, helping the team to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the New Orleans Bowl in 2022. Jackson was selected to play in the 2022 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. He participated in the Buffalo Bills rookie minicamp.
Jackson has experience at center so this should give Arlington a solid backup for Cameron Hunt on the offensive line. His strength is in run blocking so this should help open up the running game more for Arlington. With an up-and-down performance from the offensive line, the Renegades may need to lean on Jackson to bring them depth.
Jordan Rhodes, OL, Arkansas State
Jordan Rhodes played collegiately at Arkansas State (2022), Ole Miss (2021), and South Carolina (2018-20), starting all 11 games at right guard last season. Rhodes was a member of the Ole Miss team that played in the Sugar Bowl in 2021. He recently participated in the New Orleans Saints rookie minicamp.
Rhodes played guard in college so he should come in being able to back up either Mike Horton or Jake Stetz. They could bring him on if was Stetz dealing with injuries last season, so they need someone who is more durable in case Stetz is out.
Merlin Robertson, LB, Arizona State
Merlin Robertson played five seasons at Arizona State from 2018-22, logging 320 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, and more than 3,000 career snaps for the Sun Devils. The two-time captain was named to Butkus Award Watch List in 2022. He was a part of two rookie minicamps with the Washington Commanders and the Baltimore Ravens
Chris Whittaker, LB, Incarnate Word
Chris Whittaker appeared in 14 games at Incarnate Word in 2022 recording 36 tackles, ten tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks during the season. The Florida native also spent time at Florida International and Kentucky. Whittaker participated in the Denver Broncos rookie minicamp after the draft.
Jordan Wright, LB, Kentucky
Jordan Wright was a five-time letter winner who played in 54 career games with 22 starts in six seasons at Kentucky. Wright finished his tenure with Kentucky as one of their team captains. He recorded 168 career tackles, 25.0 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 15 pass breakups, 14 quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, and two interceptions in his college career. Wright was at the Chicago Bears rookie minicamp.
Three Linebackers Being Drafted
What this shows is the Renegades are focusing on getting more linebackers on the roster as there could be some competition. With the trade for Skipper, four linebackers could potentially be added to the roster should the three rookies sign XFL contracts. There is a clear focus on improving the linebacker position so it should make for an interesting training camp.
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