January 1st has come and the Battlehawks roster seems to be a bit more complete. The St Louis Battlehawks drafted 14 players to bring their current roster to 65 from 51. Currently the Battlehawks have allowed 69 players for each their intial team roster entering training camp. They’ll be allowed to have 50 on the active roster come February 18th, 2023.
With December 26th the “hard date” for XFL contracts to be signed it is possible more players are added throughout training camp prior to the pre-season to fill in the back half of XFL rosters. The Battlehawks go into the new year with the 1st overall pick in the 2023 XFL Supplemental Draft and selected Alt-Football stalwart/former Tampa Bay Bandit Juwann Bushell-Beaty.
Round 1 Pick 1: Offensive Tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty Michigan
The former Tampa Bay Bandit returns to the XFL after starting nine games in the 2022 USFL season. Bushell-Beatty is an instant upgrade at the tackle position presenting a 6-6 frame and plenty of pro experience starting 6 games in the CFL and 2 in the XFL for the Houston Roughnecks. Originally drafted by the Battlehawks in 2019 Bushell-Beatty was traded to the Roughnecks prior to the start of the XFL 2.0 season.
Round 2 Pick 16: Linebacker Travis Feeney Washington
Another member of the Tampa Bay Bandits, Feeney goes back to DPP Dave Boller’s time with the San Diego Fleet. Since coming out of Washington in 2016, Feeney bounced around the NFL before registering the 30 tackles with the Fleet in 2019. In 2021 Feeney spent 6 games (4 starts) with the Toronto Argonauts before joining the USFL in 2022. With the Bandits Feeney 53 tackles and 4.5 sacks before reuniting with Dave Boller and his other Fleet teammates in the 2nd round of the Supplemental draft.
Round 3 Pick 17: Defensive Lineman Freedom Akinmoladun Nebraska
The Battlehawks pick up a Defensive lineman with 5 NFL games under his belt. Most recently a member of the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars the former Cornhusker bounced around the NFL since becoming an undrafted free agent in 2019. Totaling 23 tackles and 3.5 sacks, La’Roi Glover gains a versatile defensive lineman who can play multiple techniques in the front seven, and a native Missourian.
Round 4 Pick 32: Defensive Back Nate Meadors UCLA
It took to the 4th round before the Battlehawks broke the trend of dipping back into the USFL pool. Meadors is an NFL safety whose played on five teams in his career. Most recently with the Giants practice squad in 2022, Meadors is a defensive back who seems to be on many NFL teams short list moving forward.
Round 5 Pick 33: Wide Receiver Hakeem Butler Iowa State
Butler a former 2019 4th round pick comes to the Battlehawks after two failed stints in the CFL this past season. After bouncing around NFL and CFL practice squads Butler seems to the be the perfect alt-league player as it appears he’s on the cusp of sticking with an NFL team sooner rather than later and needs a bit more film.
Round 6 Pick 48: Defensive Lineman Shakir Soto Pittsburgh
Another USFL re-tread Shakir Soto most recently spent 2022 with the New Orleans Breakers and has ties to the AAF’s San Diego Fleet. Soto has bounced around the NFL, however in 2019 was a valuable rotational Defensive Lineman totaling 21 tackles and 4.0 sacks from the interior position. In 2022 Soto added another 24 tackles and 1.5 sacks in a pass dominate pass rushing defense that featured Shareef Miller and Devin Bellamy. Soto joins former Fleet teammates Gelan Robinson and Tani Tupou in hopes of contributing towards a 2023 Battlehawks championship run.
Round 7 Pick 49: Safety Chris Cooper Stony Brook
The Battlehawks waited to the seventh round of the supplemental draft to select a non-FBS player for thier team this go around. Cooper who despite coming from a small school has managed to remain relevant in NFL circles spending time with six teams. The former All-CAA player now joins the Battlehawks in his first stint in an Alt-League.
Round 8 Pick 61: Offensive Lineman Vadal Alexander LSU
A former NFL starter Alexander was a 7th round pick in 2016 who has seen action in 24 (9 starts) NFL games. After spending almost five seasons out of football Alexander joined the Maulers starting nine games for Kirby Wilsons team. After the USFL season Alexander was hosted for several NFL workouts but did not get signed. Alexander figures to slide into a starting guard position come February for the Battlehawks.
Round 9 Pick 62: Linebacker Carson Wells Colorado
A true rookie in 2022 Wells joins the Battlehawks after spending time with the Bengals during 2022 training camp. Despite going undrafted Wells was a two-time All-Conference player in college who should easily compete with Mike Rose and Silas Kelly for playing time after starting 34 games in college.
Round 10 Pick 71: Linebacker Tre Watson Maryland
Watson comes “home” after spending the last two seasons in Canada, after spending 2020 with the Dallas Renegades. Watson totaled 35 tackles in Canada with 15 appearances vs 8 tackles in 4 games with the Renegades in his career. It’s quite possible that the XFL’s comparable salary allows for players like Watson to come back to the states and play football a bit closer to home, while still making a living wage.
Round 11 Pick 72: Long Snapper Alexander Matheson Cal Lutheran
The Battlehawks bring in another Long Snapper which yields the question what’s up with Billy Taylor? It’s unclear who signed and who didn’t right now as the XFL hasn’t released the Bonafide “pre-camp” roster however the drafting of Matheson tells me the Battlehawks aren’t in love with Taylor. With the recent hiring of Tory Woodsbury to take over the Battlehawks Special Teams unit may Matheson has an inside track with the coaching staff to be the prime Long Snapper for 2023. Matheson like Taylor is a rookie after spending part of mini-camp with the Baltimore Ravens.
Round 12 Pick 82: Running Back Darrius Bradwell Tulane
Bradwell has been utilized as a Special Teams asset since coming undrafted out of Tulane in 2020. The 6’0 235 lb running back has appeared in four games for the Chargers in 2020 and 2021 and was recently waived by the Panthers in 2022.
Round 13 Pick 82: Wide Receiver Nyqwan Murray Florida State
Murray had to take the route of the Arena League by way of his time with the Jacksonville Sharks to get back into the fold of Alt-Football. Murray was undrafted out of Florida State in 2019 but latched on with Seahawks only to get cut prior to the 2019 NFL season. After signing with the Argos in 2020, Murray was cut in 2021 and remained out of football until 2022 when he put together an All-NAL season with the Sharks.
Round 14 Pick 87: Tight End Charlie Taumoepeau Portland State
Seen as a bit of a project Taumoepeau impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl to earn a contract with the Cowboys in 2020. After bouncing around the practice squad of the Colts and 49ers Taumoepeau was injured in a car accident and waived during training camp 2021 with the Lions. Taumoepeau now healthy is in a prime position to utilize the XFL to earn a spot back in the NFL. A bit smaller for a Tight End (6’2) the XFL proves to be a prime option of Taumoepeau to improve on his blocking moving forward.
It’s clear that Dave Boller and Anthony Becht valued pro experience in the supplemental draft with 10 of the 14 drafted players playing in the NFL, Arena League, AAF, USFL, or XFL 2.0. As usual the Boller and Becht went with some familiar faces by drafting two former members of the San Diego Fleet while also drafting five key members of USFL teams. With January 4th being the “check in” date for players to begin medicals and in-processing it may be “safe” to assume that fans of the Battlehawks may know what their team looks like prior to the start of camp.
As XFL News Hub Insider Mike Mitchell has reported multiple times it fair to say that it shouldn’t surprise anyone if teams have several players, they are holding the door open for if they choose to come the XFL. Regardless right now the Battlehawks have 65 men ready to play and bring football back to the dome in St. Louis.
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