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XFL 2023 Draft: Orlando Guardians’ Rookie Draft Recap – Breakdown of Positions and Talent Added

“We went after positions of need,” said head coach Terrell Buckley following the XFL 2023 Rookie Draft. The Guardians focused primarily on the defensive side of the ball selecting just three offensive players out of their 10 selections. Let’s break down which players are expected to sport the green and grey this season:

Offensive Line

  • Jeremy Cooper (OL, Cincinnati) – Cooper joins the Guardians after going undrafted and completing a short stint with the Kansas City Chiefs during rookie minicamps. The versatile left guard finished his college career with 29 starts, helping lead Cincinnati to a College Football Playoff berth in 2021.
  • Jarrett Horst (OL, Michigan State) – The college journey-man started in 34 of 34 games in his college career, including seven for the Spartans last season. The hard-nosed left tackle was selected first overall in the USFL draft earlier this year and signed with the Miami Dolphins after going undrafted in the NFL draft. The Dolphins waived Horst last month.
  • LaQuinston Sharp (OL, Mississippi State) – Sharp will join Orlando after a strong final season at Mississippi State. The center’s senior campaign consisted of three SEC Offensive Linemen of the Week awards as he helped lead his squad to an 8-4 record.

Defensive Line

  • Terry Hampton (DL, Arkansas) – Hampton transferred to Arkansas for his senior season finishing with 25 tackles, two sacks, and 3.5 tackles for loss while starting only three of his 13 games. The defensive tackle recorded 35 tackles, six tackles for loss, and two sacks at Arkansas State the year prior.
  • KD Hill (DL, Mississippi) – The 6’1 tackle played out his entire college career as a Rebel, finishing with 58 total tackles, four tackles for loss, and a sack in 47 games. Hill received the majority of his snaps in his final two seasons while also winning the 2022 Chucky Mullins Courage Award and a part of the 2022 Wuerffel Trophy Watch List.
  • Brock Martin (DL, Oklahoma State) – Martin finished his career at Oklahoma State with 62 games starting 34 of them. The 2022 Team Captain was a second-team All-Big XII selection and finished his career with 145 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, and 16 sacks as a defensive end.

Line Backer

  • Kosi Eldridge (LB, Texas Tech) – Eldridge put forth his strongest campaign of his collegiate career in 2022 starting all 13 games and finishing with 91 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. The fifth-year senior played 850 defensive snaps and an additional 162 snaps on special teams.
  • Jacquez Jones (LB, Kentucky) – Kentucky’s 2022 team captain is headed to Orlando after a 52-game collegiate career. The fifth-year senior, who spent time at Ole Miss prior to Kentucky, finished with 305 career tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, six pass breakups, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions.

Defensive Back

  • Darius Joiner (DB, Duke) – Joiner, who spent a lot of time lined up at safety, is a versatile defensive back who had a spectacular final season at Duke. He finished Third-team All-ACC in 2022 after starting all 13 games and finishing the season with 97 tackles, two interceptions, eight tackles for loss, and four sacks.
  • Keyron Kinsler Jr. (DB, Alcorn State) – After not getting much run prior to his senior season, Kinsler Jr. had a solid final year at Alcorn State. The 5’11 safety finished the 2022 season with 61 total tackles, one interception, and five pass deflections earning him an invitation to the FCS National Bown All-Star Game.

The Guardians focused on several positions of need during the first XFL Rookie Draft. The trenches on both sides of the ball will likely look a lot different than they did a year ago. It will be interesting to see what other moves Orlando makes with free agency and XFL showcases looming.

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.

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