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D.C. Defenders Announce Third Player Trade In As Many Days

For the third consecutive day, the D.C. Defenders executed a player-for-player trade. This time, D.C. is sending Tarleton State WR Zimari Manning over to the Arlington Renegades for LSU defensive back Cameron Lewis.

With less than three weeks until their season opener Sunday Night, February 19th, at Audi Field against the Seattle Sea Dragons. D.C. Director of Player Personnel Von Hutchins and head coach Reggie Barlow continue to fine-tune the Defenders’ roster.

In case you missed it, the Defenders made two separate trades with the Houston Roughnecks this past weekend. The first deal saw D.C. acquire Merrimack offensive lineman Sam Cooper in exchange for linebacker Caliph Brice. On Sunday, the Defenders and Roughnecks announced a second trade, with D.C. receiving Ole Miss defensive lineman Tariqous Tisdale, with DT Joshua Avery making his way over to Houston.

The latest player swap sees the Defenders add a vital depth piece in their secondary at safety. D.C.’s recent signings at the receiver position, Chad Hansen and Chris Blair, opened the door for them to deal away WR Zimari Manning, who the Defenders drafted back in November.

D.C. Defenders Deal For Arlington Renegades DB Cameron Lewis

LSU safety Cameron Lewis is an intriguing pickup for the Defenders.

Lewis, The 6’1, 195-pound Louisiana product, is a genuine pro rookie who spent six collegiate seasons in Baton Rouge. Despite being a four-star recruit in high school, Lewis didn’t become a full-time starter for the Tigers until his final year in college.

Lewis benefitted from the COVID-19 rule in 2020 when the NCAA didn’t count the year towards anyone’s eligibility, which opened the door for him to play a final season at LSU.

And Lewis made it count.  He played in 11 games and made nine starts at safety during the 2021 season. Lewis finished the year with 55 tackles, which ranked fourth on the team. He also had two forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks. Mostly used as an in-the-box strong safety, Lewis also had seven quarterback hurries, which was tied for the second-most by an LSU player that season.

The late rise of Cameron Lewis opened some eyes. He would then post solid numbers at LSU’s pro day in 2022. Lewis had a 42-inch vertical leap and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. However, despite his final collegiate year of production and his respectable workout numbers. Lewis went undrafted.

Lewis was invited to NFL rookie minicamps with teams like the New York Jets in 2022 but couldn’t stick. Arlington selected the rookie during the XFL’s defensive back phase of the draft this past November. 

Safety is definitely a position of need for the Defenders. Joshua Allen, Kentrell Brice, Santos Ramirez, and Reggie Stubblefieldaree are in the mix to start on the back end of D.C.’s secondary. But Cameron Lewis brings an added dimension as a true in-the-box strong safety with the speed and athleticism to cover ground quickly. In Gregg Williams’s defense, Lewis could see a lot of time as a blitzer.

It’s an exciting period for XFL teams as they inch closer to the regular season. All eight teams have had joint practices, and as a result, it has afforded every talent evaluator the opportunity to reassess and reset their rosters.

Because these are eight brand new pro teams who all scouted thousands of players from the same pool, it’s not surprising D.C. has identified players on opposing XFL teams that they feel would be a good fit for them.

There will be more roster activity in the coming days and weeks before team rosters are pared down to 50. Player movement is coming at such a fast pace that by the time this article is published, the Defenders might have pulled off yet another trade.

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I am a pro football writer who has extensively covered and reported on multiple leagues over the years. I started covering the XFL back in 2001. You can follow me on Twitter @byMikeMitchell

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