Just days after the Arlington Renegades drafted nine rookies to join their roster, they claimed an additional six rookies.
Arlington was the only team to have selected nine players instead of ten due to an issue involving defensive back Jalen Green. He was removed from Arlington’s draft picks last weekend. Green signed with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers the same week he was drafted by the Renegades.
Four of the six players the Renegades claimed were on the offensive side including another quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and offensive lineman. A linebacker and defensive back were also claimed by Arlington. Four of the six players were also Division I talent.
Arlington Renegades Players Claimed
Todd Simmons, WR, Dubuque
During his 2022 season with the University of Dubuque, Simmons Jr. recorded 42 catches for 548 yards and four touchdowns in ten games played. His best game of the season came against Simpson College where he caught seven passes for 124 yards and a 65-yard touchdown. Despite not getting drafted in the NFL Draft, he did receive an invite to a rookie minicamp with the Chicago Bears. He also received a tryout with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders.
Another speed guy the Renegades need for their receiving core. Simmons Jr. possesses blazing speed as he ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at his workout making him an attractive Division III prospect for teams. He’s got good playmaking skills some higher level of competition is needed to see his true potential. Simmons Jr. has performed well wherever he went to school, but now it’s about seeing how he does against NFL-level defensive backs.
Arlington has made it a point to improve the receiving core with a lot of young players as Simmons Jr. is the latest receiver to be brought onto the team after drafting two receivers on Friday. If Simmons can compete with top-level corners, he can find his footing in the XFL and even in the NFL.
Tyrell Ajian, DB, Kentucky
Tyrell Ajian had a successful six-year campaign with the Kentucky Wildcats. Ajian recorded 152 tackles, 16 pass deflections, four interceptions, three forced fumbles, and one touchdown. He played in 60 games and started 35 including 33 of them coming in the last three seasons with the school. After going undrafted, Ajian had a rookie minicamp invite with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ajian is solid in coverage as he was able to play well in zone coverage during his time in college as a safety. He shows good awareness of where to go in coverage and when to make a play on the ball for a breakup or turnover. Where he will need to improve on his game is run defense and being the most consistent tackler.
This will surely help the Renegades as they add more youth to safety. Both Joe Powell and Will Hill are getting older, so Arlington wants to start developing a young defensive back to eventually replace them. Ajian could be that safety if he improves on tackling.
Connor Blumrick, QB, Virginia Tech
Connor Blumrick is an interesting prospect for the Renegades to bring in, especially since he can do more than be a quarterback. Blumrick started at Texas A&M for the first three years before transferring to Virginia Tech. In 2021, he played in six games completing 16 of 31 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns while also adding 56 carries for 242 rush yards and an additional three touchdowns. Last season, he moved to tight end starting three of the ten games he played recording eight catches for 88 receiving yards.
The XFL is listing him as a quarterback so there is a chance Arlington is bringing in more competition at backup. More than likely, he could be used similarly to how Kelly Bryant was used for the Renegades last season for more running plays. There’s a chance he could move to tight end and battle for a job there as well. Head coach Bob Stoops had a similar player Blake Bell back in the mid-2010s. It’s unknown what Arlington will do, but they have an athletic player who can play multiple positions for them.
Noah Henderson, OL, East Carolina
Noah Henderson was a team captain for East Carolina for two seasons in a row in 2021 and 2022. Henderson played in 35 games in his career including starting 26 games. Prior to the NFL Draft, Henderson played in the Hula Bowl. While he didn’t get drafted, he was signed by the Buffalo Bills for a short time.
Henderson mostly played right tackle for East Carolina but could see himself playing guard or even both. Offensive line coach Jonathan Himebauch should be excited about getting him as his biggest strength is his pass protection which is something the Renegades could use. Standing at six foot six inches and 319 pounds, if Henderson can show his versatility playing tackle and guard, he will find a place on the roster.
Ike Irabor, RB, Union
Ike Irabor was a top-notch player at Union College playing four seasons at the school never going under 750 yards rushing in a season. Irabor’s best season came in 2019 rushing for a career-high 1,231 yards and 16 touchdowns. While in 2022 he had a career-low 765 rushing yards, he did average a career-high 6.3 yards per carry in ten games. For a while, he was considered one of the better Division III running backs in the country for multiple seasons. Irabor wasn’t drafted but did receive an invitation to the New York Giants rookie minicamp.
What makes Irabor an intriguing prospect is that he is a big play player who can break off a big run at any time. He ran a 4.40 40-yard dash, so the speed is there. Arlington already has De’Veon Smith who is more of a downhill, ground-and-pound back. Irabor isn’t an every-down back, but if Arlington gets the ball in his hands 10-15 times a game, he can make up the lack in touches with plenty of yards and scores.
Noah Taylor, LB, North Carolina
Prior to North Carolina, Noah Taylor started multiple games at Virginia at linebacker. In 2022 with the Tar Heels, Taylor started eight games recording 28 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and two pass deflections. He would miss the last part of the season due to an injury he suffered to his right knee in the Pittsburgh game.
When watching Taylor, he appears to have what it takes to compete at a high level as he was great against the run. His pass-rushing abilities could improve, but he is a good tackler who also has good on-field awareness. The linebacker position has been another position the Renegades have been zoned in on in the draft after drafting three linebackers and trading for one more. Taylor will have to battle for a spot, but Arlington has made it clear they are focused on improving the position this offseason.
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