After a grueling five-week training camp, the Arlington Renegades have finalized their 51-man roster just a week before the 2023 XFL season kicks off.
The Arlington Renegades made most of their cuts Wednesday night with 15 players being removed from the roster, three players placed on the reserve list, and running back Adrian Killins being acquired in a trade with the Houston Roughnecks. Three more players were cut from the Renegades to trim the roster down to 51 players. Running back Jeremy Cox, wide receiver Zimari Manning, and offensive tackle Darta Lee were released from the team Thursday.
With all cuts officially being made, the Renegades announced their final 51-man roster on Twitter Thursday.
Arlington Renegades Roster Breakdown
The Renegades didn’t make any changes to their quarterbacks as all three made the roster. It’s no surprise as Renegades head coach Bob Stoops has spoken very highly of Kyle Sloter, Drew Plitt, and Kevin Anderson during training camp. Many still expect Sloter to be the favorite to win the starting job, but it is not clear who will officially start.
Releasing Kenneth Farrow was a big surprise as he was expected to be a key piece to the offense. It was clear though during the open practice just a couple of weeks prior that Keith Ford had made an impression on coach Stoops as he called him out as a player who has stood out during camp. Ford and De’Veon Smith should get the majority of the carries in the backfield. Recently acquired Adrian Killins is a dynamic speedster who could be used on third down in passing situations.
Jordan Smallwood was a lock to be on the roster with the Oklahoma connection with coach Stoops but was another player-coach Stoops spoke highly about at the open practice. Lujuan Winningham and Tyler Vaughns stood out as guys who will get playing time at receiver. Rannell Hall was also impressive at the open practice and could be a possible slot receiver in place of Flynn Nagel and special team returner as well.
Sal Cannella was another player who was early on a shoo-in to be on the roster after being one of the best tight ends in the USFL last year. Shaun Beyer showed great potential as Cannella’s backup heading into the season. Alex Ellis and Nate Becker will battle for the third tight end spot and might even be options at fullback in goal line/short yards situations.
Darta Lee is a bit of a surprise cut as during the open practice appeared to be at the left tackle position with the starters. That will be a position to watch to see who steps into that left tackle role. Cameron Hunt and Garrett McGhin will be key pieces to the offensive line as both players were All-USFL players last year on the line so fans should see similar success.
Six defensive linemen were kept on the roster with Will Clarke being moved to linebacker. Tomasi Laulile will be seen as a favorite to start at defensive tackle for the team. Bruce Hector will be another defensive lineman to look at to have a good portion of the playing time for the team.
Donald Payne’s success in the USFL proved his worth on the team as he would be someone to look at to start at linebacker. He was partnered up with Isaiah Graham-Mobley in the open practice so we could see them as potential starters. Nick Temple and Clarke will be two players to look at the outside linebacker position for them as they have the great pass-rushing speed to get to the quarterback.
The cornerbacks are filled with veteran experience that should prove to be valuable to the roster. De’Vante Bausby, Josh Hawkins, and Cre’Von LeBlanc are early candidates to be the top three corners on the roster. Their NFL experiences make them safe choices to be having a lot of playing time in the back end of the defense.
During the observations of the defense in training camp, Will Hill and Jamal Carter were partnered together at the safety position. Rahim Moore was fighting for a spot on the roster, but Carter appeared to have been able to beat him out. Hill and Carter should be the starting safeties for the first game of the season. Joe Powell will make for a solid backup but could also be on the roster as a potential candidate to play on special teams as a returner or coverage.
No major surprises as kicker Taylor Russolino, punter Marquette King, and long snapper Antonio Ortiz never had anything to worry about. Russolino showed great accuracy and leg strength at the open practice that surely ensured the coaching staff they don’t need to bring in competition. King has been regarded as one of the best free agent punters in football so he was a safe lock for punter. Ortiz snapped the ball well in the open practice with no real issues.
The one big question will be regarding the kickoff returner and punt returner positions. Two players to look at are receivers Sean Modster and Tyler Vaughns as they were returning punts in the open practice. Powell and Hall are potential candidates as they previously were returners in other leagues.
This roster has come a long way since early January when everyone arrived at training camp. The team made a ton of moves to their secondary as they were moving players in and out of the roster. There were uncertainties about who would make the roster at the receiver position. While there were some surprising cuts (Kenneth Farrow, Ryan Mueller, Rahim Moore), the unit put together appears to be the right fit.
All eyes are on the secondary as this is the best unit in the XFL on paper. Plenty of veteran experience makes it a dynamic group that will be finding a nose for the football often throughout the season. The five players mentioned in the cornerback and safety sections of this article have all played in the NFL at one point and will be key pieces to the defense to make them successful.
The offense will be fascinating to watch for as we are still trying to figure out who the starting quarterback is even though it seems almost too obvious it might be Sloter. It will be fun to look at the receiver position and who ends up starting with Jordan Smallwood. The group is young and eager to prove themselves, which could be an advantage for the Renegades.
Not enough can be said about the job that the coaching staff has done in assembling this team together. Coach Stoops and his staff had the impossible task of putting together a group of players who have never played with each other and learning a new system in five weeks. Based on the roster they have collected, this is a group of players that on paper looks like they are the best team in the XFL and might be in line for a league title.
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