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XFL 2023 Draft: D.C. Defenders’ Rookie Draft Recap – Breakdown of Positions and Talent Added

The D.C. Defenders made a slew of important additions to their roster during the XFL 2023 Rookie Draft. From the punting position to offensive line reinforcements and promising wide receivers, let’s break down who was picked and how they could contribute to the Defenders’ ambitions in the upcoming XFL season.

Special Teams

  • Paxton Brooks (Punter, Tennessee) – The Defenders made a special teams addition by picking up Paxton Brooks. With a punt average of 42.33 yards, Brooks is known for his leg strength and accuracy. Having 50% of his kickoffs going for touchbacks, he can be a game-changer when it comes to field positioning.

Offensive Line

  • Matt Carrick (OL, Michigan State) – A versatile offensive lineman, Carrick comes with ample experience having played in 47 career games. His sturdiness at the right guard position will be crucial in creating running lanes and protecting the quarterback.
  • Alex Jensen (OL, South Dakota) – Jensen is an intriguing pick, having started as a tight end before converting to an offensive tackle. His agility and blocking skills will be a valuable asset to the Defenders’ offensive line.
  • Jack Plumb (OL, Iowa) – Plumb, having seen action in 46 games, has displayed proficiency at the right tackle position. His presence will bolster the Defenders’ offensive line.

Wide Receivers

  • C.J. Johnson (WR, East Carolina) – Johnson brings explosiveness to the Defenders’ receiving corps. With 175 career catches for 2,849 yards and notable performances like a 283-yard game against Cincinnati, Johnson is a threat that defenses will have to account for.
  • Ty Scott (WR, Missouri State) – Scott, known for his exceptional hands and route running, set school records for receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns at Missouri State. He is expected to be a key target for the Defenders’ passing attack.
  • Trea Shropshire (WR, UAB) – Shropshire, with an impressive 22.5 yards per catch, adds a deep threat element to the Defenders’ offense. He ranks fifth all-time at UAB in career receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.


  • Kaleb Oliver (LB, Western Kentucky) – Oliver brings a balance of aggression and intelligence to the linebacker position. With 81 tackles for loss, 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, and four interceptions, he’s shown that he can do it all.
  • Mohamed Sanogo (LB, Louisville) – “MoMo” Sanogo is a tackling machine. Leading Louisville in tackles with 89, his addition will strengthen the Defenders’ run defense and add depth to their linebacker core.

Defensive Back

  • Bentlee Sanders (DB, Nevada) – An All-Mountain West First Team member, Sanders brings athleticism and a nose for the ball. His ability to contribute in tackles, interceptions, and special teams returns adds versatility to the Defenders’ roster.

The D.C. Defenders have made substantial additions to both sides of the ball. With a strengthened offensive line, explosive receivers, and additions to the defense and special teams, the Defenders are well-positioned to make a splash in the upcoming XFL season. Fans will be eager to see how these rookies blend with the existing roster and contribute to the team’s success.

Players who were drafted in the XFL Rookie Draft will be placed on XFL rosters with players who finished the 2023 season on active and reserve lists. XFL teams will hold exclusive rights with the players they select in the draft.

For undrafted players, the XFL will host a series of player showcases across the United States in June and July. These showcases will give prospective football players a chance to exhibit their skills in front of XFL coaches and personnel directors.

Players will be evaluated based on performance for inclusion in the XFL Draft player pool for the upcoming 2024 season. The top performers will be invited to the XFL Combine, which will be held July 25-27 in Arlington, Texas.

Additional showcases will be held throughout the summer in Atlanta (June 18), St. Louis (July 7), Washington DC (July 9), Houston (July 14) and Arizona (July 16). Additional information on each of the showcases can be found below. 

The XFL Combine, which will be held July 25-27 in Arlington, TX, will be an invite only. Invitations will be sent to the top performers from the showcases earlier in the summer.

Registration is now open for the XFL showcases. If you are interested in attending, please register here.

Unleash the Action: Sign up for XFL Insider and Fuel Your Passion for Football!

Mark Perry, a devoted sports journalist and founder of XFL News Hub, has been a key figure in XFL coverage since its 2018 revival. Launching XFL News Hub soon after the league's return announcement, Mark has established the platform as a primary source for comprehensive XFL updates. Renowned for his in-depth knowledge and commitment to sports journalism, Mark actively engages the XFL community, welcoming interactions at

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