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XFL Draft: D.C. Defenders’ Day One Draft Results And Breakdown

Day One of the XFL Draft is in the books. The D.C. Defenders have added 42 more players to their roster after having the first pick in Wednesday’s XFL Draft. To go along with the team’s quarterback selection on Eric Dungey on Tuesday.

Each XFL team had 11 selections today in four different positional groups. Offensive skill players (RB, WR, TE & FB), Offensive linemen, defensive front-seven players, and defensive backs. For the entire league draft results, you can check out this link.

XFL Draft: D.C. Defenders Day One Draft Results And Breakdown

The D.C. Defenders won the lottery to pick first, which, as fantasy players know, can be a blessing and a curse in a snake format. You can choose the player you covet the most at #1 overall, but you must wait for nearly two rounds to pick your second player. So whoever you pick first has to deliver. But the double-pick coming back around can prove to be beneficial.

Pick OrderSkill PhaseD.B. PhaseD7 PhaseO.L. Phase

XFL Draft: Skill Player Phase (RBs, WRs, TEs, and FBs)

Round One: D.C. Defenders select RB Abram Smith, Baylor

The Defenders kick the draft off by selecting a running back. This is a tell-tale sign of the type of offense D.C. is looking to run under offensive coordinator Fred Kaiss. It can be argued that Abram Smith is the most talented rookie in this class.

The Baylor standout was fifth in the nation in rushing last season with over 1,600 yards, scoring 12 touchdowns, and averaging over six yards per rush. The 5’11 221lb tailback Smith was an undrafted rookie by the New Orleans Saints this year. He made it to the final cuts with New Orleans. Since then, he has been on the NFL workout circuit with several different teams. So there’s a chance that he could end up back on an NFL team’s roster. XFL drafted players have until 12/26 to commit to the league for the 2023 season.

But for now, the Defenders have a young bellcow back that can be the centerpiece of their offense. Abram Smith is certainly worthy of a first overall pick in a skill position draft.

Round Two: DC Defenders select WR Jequez Ezzard, Sam Houston State

The Beer Snake draft format landed D.C. WR/KR Jequez Ezzard with the last pick in round two. Ezzard was one of the most exciting players to watch in college football. The former basketball star with a 43 inch vertical leap was a dangerous open-field threat. He was a first team All-WAC player for Sam Houston State at WR and kick returner.

The former Howard University transfer took the FCS by storm. The 5’9 dynamo is a little bit older than your average rookie at 25 years of age. So that, his size, and the small school competition played against his favor when he turned pro this Spring. The Bearkats star signed with the Washington Commanders after the 2022 NFL Draft. However, he just missed the cat before the season started.

Ezzard is not your traditional outside receiver, although he has good timed speed at 4.43, but he profiles as a dynamic player in the slot. The Defenders staff will have fun finding ways to get him space in the open field.

Round Three: D.C. Defenders select WR, K.D. Cannon, Baylor

Two Baylor Bears selected by the Defenders in their first three skill position selections. Cannon is a no stranger to the XFL, having played in 2020. Ka’Darius O’Keith Cannon hasn’t quite lived up to his college billing as a pro. Opportunities have eluded him to shine the way he did as an All-Big 12 player at Baylor six years ago.

Cannon, now 27, is a well-traveled pro player who has always been on the fringe of NFL, and CFL rosters. He’s played for four different NFL teams since coming out of school. His longest stint was two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. His most recent playing stint saw him in the Indoor Football League with the Vegas Knight Hawks.

For the Defenders to draft Cannon third in this draft, shows that the team believes he can recapture what he was before turning pro.

Round Four: D.C. Defenders select WR Jazz Ferguson, Northwestern St.

Similar picks back to back by D.C. Like K.D. Cannon, Jazz Fergsuson is a former XFL 2020 player. The 6’5 225lb receiver was the small school version of DK Metcalf before there was DK Metcalf. Fergson even donned a Seattle Seahawk uniform before DK did. The former four-star recruit, Fergsuon transferred from LSU, and broke out on the small school level. The combination of his hulking size and 35 inch arms were a terror for opposing defensive backs.

At NSU, with the Demons in 2018, Ferguson caught 66 passes for 1,117 yards (16.9 average) and 13 touchdowns in 2018. He had another year of eligibility available to him after the season but decided to join his older brother, Jaylon, as a 2019 NFL Draft prospects.In the pros, it hasn’t quite worked out for Ferguson like it has for his all-pro brother as one of the game’s best defensive players.

Still only 25, the Defenders are hoping to tap into his skillset as a physical player in the pass and run game.

Round Five: D.C. Defenders select TE, Briley Moore-McKinney, Kansas State/Northern Iowa

Briley Moore-McKinney is a former WR turned tight end, at 6’4 240. Injuries have derailed Briley Moore throughout his playing career. The former All-State player out of Missouri was a first-team All-MVFC player at Northern Iowa before a shoulder injury cut his ascent short.

Moore-McKinney then transferred to the Big 12 to play for K-State. As a Wildcat, he earned second team All-Conference honors. But it wasn’t enough to land him a spot in the 2021 NFL Draft. Briley would however sign on with the Tennessee Titans but the injury bug would bite him again. He tore his ACL late in the Summer and struggled to make te long road back. A year later, the Titans released him in mid-August of 2022.

Like most players who endure season-ending ACL injuries, the road back can be an ardous one. The added time and February start of the XFL season, might give Briley Moore a chance to finally show wares at full health for the Defenders.

Round Six: D.C. Defenders select RB Ryquell Armstead, Temple

The New Jersey native and former Temple standout Ryquell Armstead is coming off a three-season in the NFL with four different teams. The 2019 fifth-round pick was just recently released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The franchise that started his journey in the pros. The 5’11 220lb runner has seen some action in the NFL but has never broken the glass ceiling to be a featured player.

The Defenders will be a run-centric team. Armstead will get his chance to shine in the district.

Round Seven: D.C. Defenders select RB/WR/KR Pooka Williams, Kansas

College football will recognize this name. Pooka Williams, the former Big-12 freshman of the year was a highlight reel player at Kansas. The former four-star recruit had his fair share of suitors coming out of high school in Louisiana.

The 5’19 170lb Williams had his fair share of personal and family issues off the field that limited his overall potential in college. Talent and big-play ability has never been and issue for Williams. The 4.3 speedster declared early for the pros, and was signed by the Bengals as an undrafted free agent.

He has spent the last two seasons with Cincy looking to carve out a role. But Pooka just hadn’t made the transition yet, only returning a handful of kick returns during NFL action. He will get a second chance as a pro in the XFL with D.C.

Round Eight: D.C. Defenders select TE Ethan Wolf, Tennessee

Ethan Wolf is a well-traveled 27-year old tight end. Despite being undrafted, the 6’6 pass catcher has been rostered by seven different NFL teams since 2018. The former Volunteer who passed Jason Witten for most receiving yards for a tight end at his alma-mater, has seen very little playing time in the pros, registering only two career receptions in the NFL. In D.C., Wolf should see a more extended opportunity than he has seen in the past.

Round Nine: D.C. Defenders select WR Josh Hammond, Florida

Up until very recently, Josh Hammond was on an NFL roster with te New England Patriots. Hammond, 24, originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars out of Florida on April 27, 2020. The 6-foot, 194-pounder spent the majority of the last two seasons on the Jacksonville practice squad. He has also spent time with the Eagles.

Hammond’s connection to Reggie Barlow’s former teammate in Jacksonville, Keenan McCardell has certainly helped bring the former Gator to the XFL. Hammond was recruited by McCardell in 2015 while the Jaguars coach was still coaching collegiately at Maryland. McCardell then coached Hammond when he entered the NFL with the Jags.

Round Ten: D.C. Defenders select Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State

Kahale Warring is former third-round pick of the Houston Texans in 2019. The SDSU standout has been mostly a role player on the next level. The 6’5 252lb tight end has been utilized mostly on special teams and as an in-line blocker in his pro career. He’s recorded only three receptions in his career. Since 2021, Warring has been through the roster wars, landing with five different NFL teams without finding a long term spot. He was most recently with the Saints. In D.C., Warring should have an opportunity to net more playing time than he has in the NFL.

Round Eleven: D.C. Defenders select WR Lucky Jackson, Western Kentucky

The final pick in the skill position, WR Lucky Jackson has the fortune of being selected to join the Defenders receing corps. Unfortunately, Jackson hasn’t been able to find a home up until this point in the pros. He went undrafted out of Western Kentucky. Despite becoming one of the best wideouts in school history. Lucky recorded 94 receptions for 1,133 yards and four touchdowns in his senior season and was named the MVP of the First Responder Bowl after a 17-catch performance.

Jackson was most recently with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Edmonton Elks in the CFL. The six-foot-one, 190-pound target ran an an unofficial 4.36 forty-yard dash at his pro day in March 2020. But his athletic profile wasn’t enough to garner interest or significant playing time in Canada. Perhaps coming back home will change Jackson’s luck around.

XFL Draft: D.C. Defenders Skill Player Phase Overall Analysis

A paint-by-the-numbers draft proceswas s conducted by Defenders DPP Von Hutchins. Offensive Coordinator and Running Backs coach Fred Kaiss has developed a reputation in his college coaching career for developing strong rushing attacks. It sure he looks like he has a very strong group of backs in his stable.

The team is set up to run the football well with their QB Eric Dungey pairing with Smith and Armstead. D’Eriq King could be joining this bunch before long as well.

Assistants Alvance Robinson and Cody Crills have an exciting group of pass catchers to coach. The team drafted three tight ends, a clear sign that pounding the rock will be of utmost importance. But each player has a favorable pass catching profile. Ezzard can be a game breaker as a gadget player. He might be one of the most exciting players to watch in the entire XFL. Can KD Cannon and Jazz Ferguson play a different note in their careers? If they can, this looks like a very diversified offense.

XFL Draft: Defensive Back Phase (C.B., Safety, Nickel)

Round One: D.C. Defenders select DB Parnell Motley, Oklahoma

With the fourth pick in the DB portion of the XFL Draft. The Defenders selected former Sooners DB Parnell Motley. Despite the Oklahoma profile. Motley is a D.C. native, born and raised. He went H.D. Woodson high school in Washington.

The 6’0 200lb Mosely, 25, fits the profile of a Gregg Williams cornerback. As a tall press man coverage player. Mosley has been a journeyman up until this point though. He has been with five different NFL teams since making the Tamp Bay Bucs 53-man roster in 2020 as an undrafted free agent. However an extended role in the states has been hard hard to come by for him. Parnell Motley was most recently on the Calgary Stampeders practice roster. Even played in a game this CFL season. Provided there is no blockage to head down south. He will get his shot back home in the district.

Round Two: D.C. Defenders select CB Dejuan Neal, Shepherd

It would not surprise me if Vegas Vipers defensive coordinator Cris Dishman groaned when this selection was announced. Ironically enough, Dishman was an all-pro cornerback on the Oilers, while Gregg Williams was coaching on defense. Neal was coached by Dishman in both the XFL, and last season in the USFL with the New Jersey Generals. Neal was one of Dishman’s best players earlier this spring.

Neal, the D2 standout had an excellent year playing cornerback in the USFL. It led to him getting a shot this summer with the Washington Commanders.At 5’10, Dejuan Neal profiles as a nickel player but he can play press coverage effectively.

Round Three: D.C. Defenders select CB Anthoula Kelly, Fresno State

There are many quality XFL defensive backs from 2020 who have slipped through the cracks in the last two years. Anthoula Kelly is certainly one of them. Some of Kelly’s teammates are currently excelling in the CFL, like DBs Tarvarus McFadden, and Robert Priester, who will be playing the Grey Cup this Sunday against another XFL DB, CFL All-Star Deatrick Nichols.

At 5’9, Anthoula Kelly profiles as a slot cornerback but he plays with physicality well. A trait that Gregg Williams desires on his defense.

Round Four: D.C. Defenders select Safety Kentrell Brice, Louisiana Tech

Kentrell Brice has a ton of NFL and pro experience. The 28-year old has always had the tools as an in box player at 5’11 200lbs with 4.4 speed. But for whatever reason, perhaps due to his usage, Brice hasn’t found his groove as a player. It will be interesting to see how he is utilized in this defensive scheme.

Round Five: D.C. Defenders select DB Joshua Allen, Miami-Ohio

Josh Allen has joined the XFL. Lame joke aside. There’s more than one of them playing pro football. This Joshua Allen is a 5’11 versatile safety who was a standout for the RedHawks. Allen has spent time withe the Cleveland Browns and The Blue Bombers in the CFL and profiles as a slot cornerback with 4.5 speed.

Round Six: D.C. Defenders select CB Cortez Davis, Hawaii

Hawaii cornerback Cortez Davis was a All-Mount West player at Hawaii. The 5’10 DB led the nation in 2021 with pass break-ups (18) and finished second in passes defended (19). The former JUCO transfer had three solid seasons at Hawaii. However, he went undrafted, and then signed with Denver Broncos after working out at their rookie minicamp. But his stay there didn’t last long. Davis rarely had the football thrown his way when he was a Warrior. But his size, lack of interceptions, and average speed 4.56 led to him being overlooked. Defenders’ may have find something here.

Round Seven: D.C. Defenders select DB Santos Ramirez, Arkansas

The former Razorback safety, Santos Ramirez has experience with D.C. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. The veteran DC coached Ramirez when he was with the New York Jets. In fact, Ramirez had two stints with New York. The 6’1 DB has been a standout player in the Indoor Football League for the Mass Pirates. In D.C., he’s getting another chance to play pro ball and reunite with hif former coach.

Round Eight: D.C. Defenders select DB Travon Fuller, Tulsa

The 6’1 Travon Fuller is a former Texas A & M cornerback who was a graduate transfer to Tulsa in 2021. Fuler had a breakout campaign with the Golden Hurricane, notching 42 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, three interceptions, and ten pass breakups. The Buffalo Bills signed him as an undrafted free agent this past spring. But he was let go in the summer. Fuller has the profile of a press man corner on the outside.

Round Nine: D.C. Defenders select DB Junior Faulk, Delta State

Faulk, who played at Delta State, got on the NFL’s radar when the 6’1 former JUCO player set a school record for interceptions in a season with nine. He also made 37 tackles, 22 pass breakups, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble in starting all 10 games.

The production was certainly there for Faulk but the althetic profile didn’t match what the NFL was looking for. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Faulk ran a 4.62 with a 30 1/2-inch vertical jump.

Faulk signed with the Cleveland Browns as a UDFA but was released. Perhas he will get more of a fair shake in the XFL.

Round Ten: D.C. Defenders select DB C.J. Anthony, Garden City Community College

I am sure that someone cued the Snoop “Who” Gif on social media when this pick was announced. It’s done by others to troll but I genuinely don’t know very much about this player. ‘Big Play’ CJ is a 6’3 former wide receiver turned safety out of Atlanta. An unknown at this point but perhaps in the future, his story will be revealed. The one thing that is for certain is that dreams can come true for the players and programs that are slept on.

Round Eleven: D.C. Defenders select DB Holton Hill, Texas

The final pick of the DB phase for D.C. is a more well known player. Holton Hill is a 25-year old veteran defensive back. The 6’2 cornerback/safety out of Texas, played three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings from 2018-2020. The former track and field star has always had the prototypical profile of a pro defensive back. However, injuries and other issues during his time with the Vikes held him back. After Minnesota, Hill spent time with the Colts, Cowboys, and Bengals. Hill’s game experience in the NFL should be helpful to DC’s young secondary.

XFL Draft: D.C. Defenders Defensive Backs Phase Overall Analysis

Defensive coordinator and secondary coach Gregg Williams certainly had a lot of input in this area. The Gregg Williams defense is known for being ultra-aggressive. So this group has to be a hit for D.C. Because man coverage and all-out blitzing will undoubtedly be in the cards. I wouldn’ be surprised if more defensive backs are selected in day two of the draft.

XFL Draft: Defensive Front Seven Phase (DE/DT/LB)

Round One: D.C. Defenders select DL Niles Scott, Frostburg

The 6’2 320lb nose tackle, Niles Scott, 27, is a well traveled veteran defensive linemen. Scott has been mostly a practice squad player in the NFL throughout his career. With just six games played in the league. He’s been with nine different NFL teams since 2018. Scott has had eight different stints on NFL practice squads. Most recently with the Miami Dolphins in September.

Round Two: D.C. Defenders select LB, Andre Mintze, Vanderbilt

Andre Mintze is a 6’3 246lb outside linebacker who made the Denver Broncos 53-player roster in 2021 as an undrafted free agent out of Vanderbilt. But a hamstring injury ended his rookie season. A year later, the edge rusher was released, and then picked up by Minnesota. The Vikings let him go this past summer.

Athletically as a and edge rusher, Mintze was among the fastest outside linebackers available in his class. He was clocked at 4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash at Vanderbilt’s pro day. But his character profile is just as impressive.

Mintze, a two-time team captain, was a candidate for almost every college football award that recognizes humanitarian efforts and academic success — including the Wuerffel Trophy, Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year, SEC community service team and Senior CLASS award.

Round Three: D.C. Defenders select DL Jacub Panasiuk, Michigan State

Jacub Panasiuk was a 5-season college player signed as an undrafted free agent by the Washinton Commanders this past offseason out of Michigan State. The 6’4”, 255 pound DE was a late bloomer in the Big Ten. Panasiuk had seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss in his final season with the Spartans.

He is a high effort player who is a bit undersized to play at defensive end in the 3-4, and not quite athletic enough to play as an edge rusher, But the former MSU team captain has high marks for his leadership qualities. He made it all the way to final cuts in Washington. The rookie will get a chance to stay in D.C. with the Defenders’.

Round Four: D.C. Defenders select DE Fadol Brown, Mississippi

Fadol Brown is an ideal 3-4 DE, at 6’4 282lbs, he has the experience and profile of playing in that defensive scheme. Brown has three season of NFL playing chops. Having played for the Raiders, Packers and Bears. But it’s been two years since he has been on a pro team. The 29-year old veteran is making a comeback of sorts to pro football.

Round Five: D.C. Defenders select LB Anthony Hines III, Texas A&M

Anthony Hines is an inside/outside linebacker at 6’3 226lbs. Hines has spent time the last couple of seasons with the LA Rams and Dallas Cowboys in the NFL.

Hines was a four-start recuit and one of the top prospects coming out of Texas a few years back. With the Aggies, due to injuries, Hines didn’t reach his full potential until later in his college career. Then in 2020, he opted out of playing due to losing someone close to him with COVID. Hines was undrafted in 2021 but hasn’t been able to net himself a prominent role.

Round Six: D.C. Defenders select LB Dame Ndiaye, Portland State

Dame Ndiaye is a former college TE turned linebacker, who was a member of the LA Wildcats in 2020. He’s also played DE at 6’4 250lbs. A unique player for the team’s front seven who will likely play on the edge. One of the few XFL 2023 draft picks who has played indoor football extensively.

Round Seven: D.C. Defenders select LB Jamal Brooks, South Alabama

Jamal Brooks is a more conventional selection than the last pick. Brooks is an inside linebacker at 6’1 235, who originally played at Missouri for four years before transferring to South Alabama. The three-star recruit transferred from Mizou because he wanted to be closer to home. Brooks was praised by coaches and scouts for his high motor but ever quite lived up to his billing. He did spend some time after the draft with the Chicago Bears but was let go.

Round Eight: D.C. Defenders select DL Joseph Wallace, Sam Houston State

Another Sam Houston State player is selected by the Defenders. At 6’1 300lbs, Wallace was a first team All-WAC player voted on by the coaches. The run stopper finished his career at SHS with 25 tackles for loss and nine sacks. The Bearkats were a dominant program and Joe Wallace was one of the team’s top leaders. The Texas native originally started his college career at Texas Tech before transferrin.

Round Nine: D.C. Defenders select LB Aaron Sterling, South Carolina rated Aaron Sterling as one of the top undrafted players coming from the 2022 draft class.Unfortunately, he was unable to land on an NFL roster. Despite being 6’2 250, Sterling played multiple positions in college all over the defensive format at DT, LB and DE. That tye of versatility could be an asset for D.C.

Round Ten: D.C. Defenders select DE Jarrell Owens, Oklahoma State

Former XFL player with the New York Guardians. He was one of better players in the XFL as an edge defender in 2020. Owens, 6’3 262 has also played with the Cleveland Browns and in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders. In Gregg Williams 3-4/4-3 hybrid defense, Owens can be a unique depth piece.

Round Eleven: D.C. Defenders select DT Jordan Williams, Virginia Tech

The final pick in the front seven draft, Jordan Williams is a 6’5 285lb undrafted rookie free agent out of VaTech. Williams originally started his college career out of Clemson. Williams made starts for both programs. He is a tweener tye player on the interior. It will be interesting to see how the Defenders utilize him.

XFL Draft: D.C. Defenders Defensive Front Seven Phase Overall Analysis

The group that Jeremy Watkins and Jamie Sharper will oversee for D.C. It’s an intriguing group overall. Jacub Panusiuck and Andre Mintze, in particular, are two high-character players with great upside.

XFL Draft: Offensive Line Phase (T/G/C)

Round One: D.C. Defenders select OT T.J. Storment, Texas Tech

The Defenders first choice on their offense line is a unique one. T.J. Storment is a left tackle who played 38 games on the FBS level at Texas Tech, and T.C.U.. He was an All-Big-12 player, allowing only two sacks at TCU before jumping to Tech in 2021. At 6’7 320, the super senior had a great season with the Red Raiders last year. He played over 700 snaps last season. Storment made 31 starts in the Big 12.

Round Two: D.C. Defenders select OT, Cody Conway, Syracuse

Cody Conway is the second Syracuse player on the Defenders roster joining his former teammate, quarterback Eric Dungey.

The 6’6 294lb Conway, a standout at Syracuse has had some adversity issues since entering the pros .He initially signed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent, and would spend two years on and off practice squads before making his way to Denver. But Conway tore his ACL with the Broncos and missed the 2021 campaign. He returned in 2022, but Denver decided to move on from him this past summer.

With the Orange, Conway started 33 games on the blindside protecting Eric Dungey. If he can stay healthy, and regain his prior form. D.C. would be elated.

Round Three: D.C. Defenders select C/G/T Ty Clary, Arkansas

Versatility is the nameof the game. And that’s what 2022 rookie offensive linemen Ty Clary provides. He spent most of his college career at center, where he was a full-time starter as a junior, but also started games at both guard positions as well as right tackle. He initially signed with the Miami Dolphins following the 2022 NFL Draft, but the team released him with an injury designation just days later. Clary was not fully recovered from shoulder surgery in May at the time of his signing. He would then go on to sign with the Green Bay Packers.The Pack released Clary near the final cut deadline in late August.

Clary made 39 career starts in college over five seasons with the Razorbacks. He should be fully recovered by now and could prove to be a valuable asset upfront.

Round Four: D.C. Defenders select OL, Greg Long, Purdue

Yet another played drafted by D.C., who has position versatility. Like Ty Clary, Long can play in the interior and on the outside. Greg Long initially played at UTEP before transferring to Purdue. The 6’3 304lb linemen had two stints with the Arizona Cardinals after going undrafted this past Spring.

Round Five: D.C. Defenders select OT, D’ Marcus Hayes, Georgia

D’Marcus Hayes is a 6’5 325lb offensive tackle, who was originally a top 10 JUCO player before transferring to Georgia. Having starting experience in the SEC is positive thing to have on your resume. Hayes is a power player who played in a run-heavy scheme with the Bulldogs.

Round Six: D.C. Defenders select C, Michael Maietti, Missouri

The Defenders continue to add quality on their interior with All-SEC center Michael Maietti. The 6’1 290lb Mizzou standout was a All-SEC first-team selection by the Associated Press, Pro Football Focus and USA Today. He was graded as the number two center in the 2022 NFL Draft class by Pro Football Focus.

Maietti, a New Jersey native who originally started his career at Rutgers, started 56 consecutive games at center dating back to 2017. Perhaps because of his non prototypical size, Maietti went undrafted despite his accolades. He spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers after the draft but didn’t stick.

Round Seven: D.C. Defenders select OT, Dwayne Wallace, Kansas

A familiar names for XFL and spring pro league fans. Wallace played for the LA Wildcats back in 2020 and was a starter helping pass block fo arguably the league’s top quarterback Josh Johnson. Wallace also played in the The Spring League since that time. The 6’4 330lb mauler should be provide quality depth at tackle.

Round Eight: D.C. Defenders select OL, Tyler Witt, Purdue

Tyler Witt is a former Western Kentucky guard who transferred to Purdue for his final college season. He received an extra year of COVID eligibility in 2021. Witt started 43 games for the Hilltoppers before joining the Bilermakers. He was an All-Big Ten honorable mention for the Boilermakers, who averaged 439.5 yards per game this season and 29.1 points per game last year.

Round Nine: D.C. Defenders select OL, Liam Fornadel, James Madison

The 6’5 311lb Liam Fornadel started 41 games at JMU. A first-team All Conference player who encountered some injuries late in his collegiate career. Fornadel was initially a guard, before making starts at right and left tackle. Yet another player from the 2022 NFL draft class.

XFL Draft: D.C. Defenders Offensive Line Phase Overall Analysis

It’s notable that XFL teams cut off the o-line phase two rounds before the finish line. Perhaps, tomorrow’s supplemental draft could prodocue more linemen. However, it’s more likely that XFL teams will wait on the next crop of linemen that can join the league in the new year. (players with expiring contracts from the NFL and USFL) Or there may be some new recruits that are not bound to any league legally at the moment.

The offensive line by far, the most challenging position to find quality in any football league. Let alone a brand-new one with essentially eight expansion pro football teams. It’s a position that can be a crap shoot. However, Defenders Line coach Russ Ehrenfeld has some genuine gems in this group. Especially in the interior. The group here skews younger. But anytime you draft rookies, having players who have extensive starting experience in conferences like the SEC is a good thing.

D.C. Defenders Day One Recap

If you made it this far. Thank you for being as big of a football nerd as I am.

Building a team from scratch is an arduous task. Coaching staffs in upstart leagues tend to lean on connections with players from previous history. But when selecting young, inexperienced players, it can be challenging to take a chance on the unknown.

The Defenders have a nice blend of youth with some experience sprinkled in. Based on this draft on Wednesday, on paper, D.C.’s offense has a chance to be an exciting one. The first two picks, Abram Smith, and Jequez Ezzard have superstar potential. That’s if they remain in the XFL, because honestly, they should be on NFL rosters.

Day two of the draft begins Thursday morning. D.C. will be picking seventh in the specialists’ portion, looking to add a kicker, punter, and long snapper, which will be followed by an open phase where teams can add players to the position groups they drafted for on day one. It’s reasonable to assume that with only one quarterback on the roster. Von Hutchins, Reggie Barlow, and his staff will have their sights set on adding a signal-caller or two in that phase.

The second day of the XFL draft kicks off at 7:30 am P.T./10:30 E.T.

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I am a pro football writer who has extensively covered and reported on multiple leagues over the years. I started covering the XFL back in 2001. You can follow me on Twitter @byMikeMitchell

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