It was a bittersweet day for Battlehawks fans this past Monday. After seeing over Ten Players receive invites to Mini-Camps, the Battlehawks saw the first group of players officially depart the team for an NFL opportunity. As of Tuesday morning, Defensive Back Lukas Denis, Defensive Lineman LaCale London, and Offensive Lineman Jaryd Jones-Smith, have all agreed to terms with NFL teams.
Denis and London both will be joining the Atlanta Falcons this coming NFL season. Denis was one of the Battlehawks more highly graded players per PFF, in addition to being one of the more available players in Donnie Abraham’s Defensive Backfield. Denis totaled 37 total tackles, 1.0 sack, 2.0 TFL, 2 INT in 2023 for the Battlehawks.
London returns to the NFL after being cut by the Bears in 2022, where he spent almost three years with the organization. London appeared in one game for Chicago in 2021, before being released and joining the Battlehawks in 2022. One of the XFL’s more active and kinetic Defensive Tackles, London totaled 33 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 5.0 TFL, 2 FF, 1 FR enroute to his return to the NFL.
The Battlehawks also saw Offensive Tackle and All-XFL player Jaryd Jones Smith join the Washington Commanders after his workout. The 27-Year-Old Pro was a rock at Left Tackle for the Battlehawks enroute to a 7-3 record and a record setting performance from Quarterback A.J. McCarron. Jones-Smith will be joining his 8th Professional Football Team (6th NFL), after his All-League Performance for St. Louis in 2023.
As inevitable and bittersweet as it may be the Battlehawks like all XFL teams will fall victim to the NFL “poaching” their rosters after over 60 players received invitations to try out with NFL clubs. While fans of St. Louis are obviously rooting for the success of 2023 Battlehawks transitioning to the NFL, it does come at the steep price of seeing the team’s more established and accomplished players depart for “greener” pastures.
Regardless, as Coach Anthony Becht has been on record to say, that he’d love to coach a whole new team in 2024, as of right now it appears that Coach Becht and his staff are going to be looking for at least three new players to fill some key positions next season.
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