XFL 2023 kicked off the new year by conducting a supplemental draft for all eight of their teams. The D.C. Defenders added 12 players to bring their current roster to 66. The maximum number required initially for each XFL team roster entering training camp before rosters are pared down to 50 for the regular season, which starts on Saturday, February 18th, on ABC, ESPN, and FX.
However, the XFL announced that their training camp rosters would expand to include NFL Alumni Academy graduates as add-ons. No word yet on the official maximum number with the new change.
The Defenders came into the XFL 2023 Supplemental Draft with 54 players. A combination of players selected in the league’s draft in November and two assigned quarterbacks in D’Eriq King and Eric Dungey.
XFL 2023 Supplemental Draft
The draft consisted of 17 rounds, with 90 players selected. The teams followed a snake-style format, with the pick order reversing each round.
The selections included 1) players who were previously ineligible to be drafted and 2) players who were not selected during the XFL Draft November 16-17.
NFL Alumni Academy graduates who were not selected will be assigned to teams and instructed to report to training camp with their teammates.
The Defenders added four offensive and eight defensive players through the supplemental draft. The following is a look at the Defenders’ additions:
D.C. Defenders Supplemental Draft Selections
LB Reggie Northrup, Florida State
The Defenders came into the Supplemental Draft process with only four linebackers. The 29-year-old Florida product Reggie Northrup is a great veteran addition to D.C.
Northrup has a ton of pro-playing experience. He’s played in the NFL, CFL, AAF, XFL 2020, and most recently, with the Houston Gamblers in USFL 2022. Reggie Northrup registered 44 tackles and a defensive score on a fumble recovery last season for Houston.
He became a viral sensation in 2022 after being spotted during practices with an unlit cigarette in his mouth. The ‘Black Dragon’ is also a trained MMA fighter, and he’s currently 6-0.
The 6’1, 220lb former FSU standout has experience playing inside and outside linebacker. Seeing where he plays in Gregg Williams’s defensive scheme will be interesting.
DE, Davin Bellamy, Georgia
With their first selection of the Supplemental Draft, seventh overall. The D.C. Defenders selected veteran pass rusher, Davin Bellamy. The 28-year-old Georgia standout was a first-team All-USFL player in 2022 for the New Orleans Breakers.
Bellamy had 40 tackles and 5.5 sacks through eight games with New Orleans. The 6’5, 259lb edge rusher spent four seasons in the NFL before playing in the Spring this past year.
Davin Bellamy can play with his hand in the dirt or as a standup outside rusher in the 34 defense. He has experience doing both, and his 4.5-timed speed is an asset in space. Defenders’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has coordinated multiple styled defenses in his coaching career, and Bellamy should be a solid fit for what Williams seeks in his hybrid front.
OT, Liam Ryan, Washington
Liam Ryan, an undrafted free agent, has spent time with the Seattle Seahawks, most recently on their practice squad this season.
He was a four-year starter at Washington State. Ryan, 6’5, 293, has experience playing inside at guard and center. However, he played left tackle primarily in Mike Leach’s Air Raid system over his final three seasons. Ryan has a lot of experience in pass protection, with 75 percent of his 2,951 snaps coming as a pass protector, per Pro Football Focus.
On the offensive line, the Defenders had one of the better drafts back in November. But the addition of Ryan certainly gives the team a versatile and talented young prospect.
DL, Joshua Avery, Southeast Missouri State
The 6’4, 320lb Joshua Avery is a raw small school prospect who has spent the last couple of years bouncing around pro team rosters. He has spent time with the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and Carolina Panthers in the NFL. As well as the Houston Gamblers, as a first-round USFL selection in 2022.
The former Junior College transfer out of Nashville got on the NFL radar because of his size and impressive pro-day showing of 31 bench-press reps with a 34-inch vertical leap back in 2020.
With the Defenders’ potentially moonlighting between a 3-4 and 4-3 defense, Avery can be a fixture on the interior against the run and pass.
OL, Tyler Catalina, Georgia
The Defenders add another quality piece to their offensive line depth in veteran Tyler Catalina. He has spent a lot of time in the NFL, mainly as a reserve, from 2017-2019, but he does have NFL game experience under his belt. Including two starts for another DMV team in Washington.
The 6’6 guard/tackle has also played in the CFL and, most recently, the Tampa Bay Bandits in the USFL.
ILB, Francis Bernard, Utah
The Defenders dip into the linebacker position again, adding former first-team All-Pac 12 backer Francis Bernard. The 6’1, 230lb, former running back Bernard has spent two seasons in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys (2020-2021). He’s played in 21 NFL games as primarily a special teams player. Bernard should provide quality depth for D.C. on the inside and coverage units.
LB, Terrill Hanks, New Mexico State
As predicted, on the Supplemental draft previews for D.C. on this site. Linebacker was a position the Defenders’ front office, led by Von Hutchins, would stock up on.
Terrill Hanks is a 27-year-old outside linebacker from Miami who played college ball at New Mexico State. The 6’3, 225lb Hanks is a former safety who has spent time with the Miami Dolphins for two seasons before landing with the Birmingham Stallions in the USFL.
Hanks’s speed and athleticism as a former secondary player gives the Defenders a versatile piece on their defense.
DT, Markell Utsey, Arkansas
The 6’4, 290lb Markell Utsey profiles as a 3-4 DE or as a 4-3 DT in Gregg Williams’s defense. Utsey transferred to the SEC at Arkansas after spending five years in Missouri. He played in 42 games, with 14 starts at Mizzou. As a Razorback in 2021, Utsey became an immediate starter. He went undrafted in 2022 and didn’t get an opportunity in the NFL. In D.C., he should have a fair chance to show his value in training camp.
RB, Brian Herrien, Georgia
In four years at Georgia, RB Brian Herrien averaged 5.1 yards per carry, with 277 runs for 1,413 yards and 13 touchdowns, adding 28 receptions for 167 yards and two touchdowns. The 5’11, 207lb back was also an adept receiver. He was a reasonably productive player for the Bulldogs despite being trapped in a deep backfield that features teammates such as Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and DeAndre Swift.
The Defenders have a very deep running back stable themselves. Among the D.C. tailbacks are Abram Smith, Pooka Williams, Ryquell Armstead, and Artavis Pierce. So finding an opening for Herrien won’t be easy. But it’s a situation that Herrien has familiarity with.
OLB, Ferrod Gardner, Louisiana Lafayette
Yet another linebacker joins the Defenders in Louisiana Lafayette’s Ferrod Gardner. The Ragin Cajun is a former defensive back who is slightly undersized at 6’0, 215 pounds. Gardner was a productive multi-year starter in college. He registered 247 tackles in 45 games played. XFL scouts were impressed with Gardner at this year’s NFLPA collegiate bowl. Several of the league’s coaches coached in that particular showcase event.
Gardner went undrafted in 2022 but signed on with the Washington Commanders. He just missed the cut this summer and landed on the practice squad but was released this past fall.
Gardner will remain in the DMV with the Defenders. He profiles as a tweener type who could bring value by playing multiple roles.
OLB, Caliph Brice, Florida Atlantic
Caliph Brice is an intriguing size-speed prospect selected by the Defenders. At 6’2 and 233 pounds, he ran a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash. Brice is more than just a great athlete. The pro rookie who spent time with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2022 had a very productive college career.
Brice, in his three years at FAU, played 950 career snaps. In 2021, Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the top 30 overall linebackers in the nation. Brice has three tool abilities as a run defender, pass rusher, and in coverage.
Caliph Brice can play inside or outside linebacker and also has value as a special teams player.
WR, Josh Lanier, Jackson State
The only WR selected by D.C. during the supplemental draft has a unique background. Josh Lanier was once a walk-on at Alabama, took the plunge away from the Tide to join Deion Sanders at Jackson State.
The 6’0, 170lb speedster played primarily as a special teamer in Alabama before making the leap. It didn’t necessarily translate to big numbers at JSU (37 receptions for 318 yards and four scores in 2021). But Lanier did enough in the offseason during workouts, the Tropical Bowl as MVP, and at the XFL’s HBCU showcase to warrant interest.
The Defenders are banking on Lanier’s late ascent continuing in the District.
XFL 2023 Training Camp: D.C. Defenders
XFL players will report to the league’s centralized headquarters in Arlington, Texas, on January 6th. The D.C. Defenders will undergo an onboarding process until their first physical practices commence on January 14th at Vernon Newsom Stadium.
The Defenders will share Vernon Newsom in Mansfield, Texas, with the St. Louis Battlehawks. XFL teams will be paired up in similar settings throughout the DFW area. D.C. and STL could likely end up playing each other on Saturday, February 18th, at Audi Field to kick off the 2023 season. After conducting weeks of joint practices.
The Defenders may not be done adding to their roster in the next month.
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