The Dallas Renegades in 2020 had their ups and downs. They were sitting at a 2-3 record before the season came to an abrupt end due to COVID-19. Despite finishing with a losing record, they were in the thick of the playoff hunt with the LA Wildcats for second place in the west.
Before the season started, many fans thought the Renegades had one of the most talented rosters in the XFL. Many of the names were former college/NFL players who people recognized. Those names included Landry Jones, Cameron Artis-Payne, and Lance Dunbar.
A lot of those players made an immediate impact on the field in the first five games. Most of those players are still available to play in the XFL in the upcoming season. Here is a list of some of those top players who could play in the light blue and black uniforms of the Renegades.
Top Dallas Renegades Players
In terms of offensive production, outside of Donald Parham, Cameron Artis-Payne is near the top of the Dallas Renegades list. His tough running and deceptive speed cleared the way on making him one of the top running backs in the XFL. He made an impact on a team that needed their running game to help as their quarterback situation was a revolving door.
Artis-Payne led the team in rushing with 241 yards and two scores. He also was able to make an impact on the passing game as he finished fourth on the team with 23 catches for 101 yards in five games.
Due to his experience in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers, it was a surprise to not see an NFL team sign Artis-Payne on their rosters. The XFL would be happy to see one of their top runners back in the league for next season. With uncertainty about how the Renegades offense will look, Artis-Payne will keep the offense firing on all cylinders in the running game and the passing game as well.
Dallas had arguably one of the most talented secondaries in the XFL and Josh Hawkins was a big reason why. Not many corners were as much of shutdown cornerbacks as Hawkins was in the secondary. Week after week, offenses had trouble passing on Hawkins and it showed on the field.
Hawkins recorded nine tackles and two interceptions in five games with the Renegades. He was one of the leading players in the XFL in interceptions with those two picks.
Hawkins has been bouncing back and forth on the Atlanta Falcons’ roster and practice squad. He was recently released from the practice squad as of print time. There’s no doubt that he can play after making an impact on the Green Bay Packers’ secondary in 2017 with his 32 tackles, six pass deflections, and one force fumble.
Hawkins is a pro corner who needs another opportunity to prove it. He showed it for the Renegades last season and might be able to do it again in Dallas.
XFL special teamers have been overlooked quite often so far in the NFL season. 19 kicks were missed in the first week of the NFL season which is more than there needs to be. The fact that kickers like Austin MacGinnis is not on an NFL roster should be questioned by many.
MacGinnis was lethal kicking the ball in 2020 for the Dallas Renegades not missing a field goal in five games played. He went 10-10 scoring 30 points and highly regarded as one of the top kickers in the XFL.
An opportunity did present itself for MacGinnis as he competed in training camp with the LA Rams for the starting kicker job. He would go on to lose the training camp battle with Sam Sloman.
MacGinnis has been getting looks from the NFL, but has not found himself a job. The Renegades would be more than happy to bring their kicker back especially since he might be one of the team’s top offensive weapons.
The most versatile running back in the XFL was never in training camp this year for the NFL. Lance Dunbar has had his share of NFL experience playing for the Dallas Cowboys and the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. Known as an outside runner and reliable receiver in the backfield, Dunbar showed that even at 30, he can be a dangerous weapon on offense.
The Dallas Renegades used Dunbar plenty in the offense on third down and in most passing situations. Dallas’s short passing game included Dunbar the majority of the time. He tied for the team lead in receptions (26). Dunbar added 154 yards receiving and 146 yards rushing with a touchdown.
Dallas’s offense relied on the short passing game on screens and short 5-7 yard passes. Dunbar was the perfect fit for the offense and proved he’s still got something in the tank. The Renegades’ offense would benefit from bringing the veteran running back for another season.
One of the leaders on the defensive side, Derron Smith proved in the AAF that he was a dominant force and did it again in the XFL. Smith was all over the field as he was able to provide support to stop the running game and was elite in pass coverage.
Smith recorded 16 tackles, one tackle for a loss, two pass deflections, and one interception. He was considered as one of the top safeties in the XFL and made life hard for quarterbacks to pass on him.
The NFL continues to overlook the safety which is questionable in itself. Dallas needs Smith to return to help the secondary especially if Hawkins gets another call from the Falcons. With his talent level, it would be a surprise to not see Smith back in the XFL starting for Dallas once again.
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