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DC Defenders Roster: A Note On Each Defensive Player

Defensive Tackle/Nose Tackle

Siupeli Anau – The Northern Arizona alumnus had a stint with the Arizona Cardinals and was most recently active with the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots.

Elijah Qualls – Qualls played 6 games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017. Elijah spent two more seasons in the NFL primarily on the Practice Squads of the Panthers, Ravens, and Buccaneers.

Tracy Sprinkle – Sprinkle has had several stints in the NFL, most recently with the Cleveland Browns. Sprinkle had a strong showing with the AAF’s Atlanta Legends with 5 sacks in their short season, showing some pass rushing ability from the Defensive Tackle position.

Kalani Vakameilalo – Kalani had an accomplished career at Oregon State, playing a total of 46 games. He had a short stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Kenny Bigelow – Kenny played significant time with both USC and West Virginia. He had a short stint with the Saints, before being released with an injury settlement.

Jay Bromley – Bromley is one of the most NFL experienced players in the entire league, with 57 games under his belt.

Defensive End

KeShun Freeman – The Georgia Tech graduate was most recently with the AAF’s Atlanta Legends. Freeman also had a stint with the New Orleans Saints.

Tavaris Barnes – After a solid career at Clemson, Barnes latched on with the New Orleans Saints and played 12 games his rookie year in 2015. Barnes spent the next several seasons bouncing around with NFL Practice Squads. Barnes joins several teammates as another former AAF Atlanta Legend, where he had two sacks.

Sam Montgomery – Montgomery was a 3rd round pick of the Houston Texans in 2013. Unfortunately, Montgomery was released by the team before the end of his rookie season. Montgomery has spent the past seasons bouncing around NFL Practice Squads and the Canadian Football League. Montgomery was most recently with the AAF’s Memphis Express.

Brian Khoury – Khoury was an accomplished Defensive End and Pass Rusher at Division III Carnegie Mellon University. He’ll be the teams primary long snapper but could see Defensive snaps if the team is hit with injuries.

Linebacker

Jonathan Celestin – Celestin was an impact player at the University of Minnesota. His most recent stint was with the Carolina Panthers.

Jameer Thurman – Thurman had a highly accomplished two seasons in the Canadian Football League, which led to an opportunity with the Chicago Bears. Thurman is solid in coverage, having 3 interceptions in his two season stint in the CFL.

Jonathan Massaquoi – From 2012-2014, Massaquoi was making an impact in the NFL, with 6 sacks for the Falcons. Massaquoi recently played for the Birmingham Iron, where he was a Defensive Player of the Week.

Scooby Wright – Scooby Wright was an All American at the University of Arizona, making a name for himself nationally in 2015 with 15 sacks and over 100 tackles. Unfortunately, injuries derailed his trajectory towards first round status and he ended up going in the 7th round to the Cleveland Browns. After getting cut by the Browns, Wright was picked up by the Cardinals, where he played 13 games for the Cardinals over two seasons. Wright most recently used a solid season for the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots to get a short stint on the New England Patriots rosters.

AJ Tarpley – In 2015, Tarpley made waves in NFL circles, deciding to retire after a single season in the NFL. In his lone season, Tarpley had 2 interceptions and a sack. Also, AJ was a two time NFL Defensive Player of the Week nominee. Tarpley made a return to the Gridiron in 2019, playing for the San Diego Fleet of the AAF and making an impact leading that defense.

Antwione Williams – Anybody who pays attention to my articles knows I think Antwione Williams will take this league by storm. An NFL 5th round pick out of Georgia Southern University, Williams has the ideal size and athleticism to match the expected speed of the XFL.

Cornerback

Doran Grant – Grant was a 4th round NFL draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015. Grant proceeded to spend the next 3 seasons around the NFL, hooking on with numerous Practice Squads. Grant was most recently with the AAF’s Atlanta Legends.

Desmond Lawrence – Lawrence brings solid size to the table at 6 ft 1. Lawrence is physical and won’t shy away from a tackle, racking up 123 tackles at the University of North Carolina.

Elijah Campbell – Campbell was a FCS All American at Northern Iowa. He turned that collegiate success into a stint with the Cleveland Browns. Campbell was most recently with the Birmingham Iron of the AAF.

Bradley Sylve – Also a Birmingham Iron player, Sylve had 2 interceptions in the short season of the AAF. Prior to the AAF, the former Crimson Tide player had a stint with the Buffalo Bills.

Jalen Myrick – Myrick is currently placed on the Reserve/Injured list and is expected to have his roster slot replaced for the time being.

Safety

Carlos Merritt – Merritt won’t shy away from contact, gathering 168 career tackles in 3 seasons at Campbell. Merritt did play in the AAF for the Atlanta Legends, gathering 2 interceptions at the beginning of the season.

Matt Elam – A superstar at the University of Florida and an NFL 1st round pick, Elam played a lot of time with the Baltimore Ravens before being released and latching on in the CFL.

Shamarko Thomas – An NFL 4th round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013, Thomas has played 66 NFL games.

Tyree Kinnel – Pep Hamilton knows Kinnel from his time at the University of Michigan. Kinnel had a brief stint following college with the Cincinnati Bengals.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Konnor Fulk excelled in the Sports Management Program at Georgia Southern University. He spent several seasons working with the Washington Redskins in fan engagement, strategy, and sales strategy. Additionally, Mr. Fulk continues consulting services across the sport of NASCAR. Konnor has a longstanding obsession with the concept of Spring Football and is looking forward to sharing his expertise and opinions about the XFL relaunch. Connect with Konnor on LinkedIn or give him a follow on Twitter @XFLKonnor

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