The XFL draft has intensified our excitement as the league develops quickly and methodically. We’re covering every angle of the draft that was divided into rounds and phases based on position. This column focuses on notable Phase 2 offensive linemen, with the New York franchise acquiring multiple players.
This phase included 80 players that have found an NFL home elusive, but now have a major career opportunity to pursue their gridiron dreams. The majority went undrafted and never made it past the practice squad or a reserve/futures contract, but there were a few who saw regular season action that we should keep an eye on when the XFL launches in February.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT Alabama (Age 26)
An imposing 6′ 7″, 322, Kouandjio was a 2014 second round pick by the Buffalo Bills. He appeared in 30 games, starting 6 with the Bills and Broncos. He showed potential with his size and strength, especially stopping the run. Inconsistency, lack of versatility, knee problems and a strange run-in with police prevented further advancement in the NFL. He was selected by the New York Guardians in the second round.
Tre Jackson, G Florida State (Age 26)
Strong with good leverage, Jackson was selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2015 draft. A 6′ 4″ 326 right guard, Jackson played in thirteen games, starting nine. A lingering knee injury with poor footwork and inconsistency lead to his release in 2017. The Rams gave him a look, but a failed physical ended any chance of getting signed.
Determined to continue a career in professional football, Jackson landed with the Orlando Apollos of the AAF, where he performed well. He also played indoor football for the Massachusetts Pirates of the National Arena League in 2019. He was drafted in the 5th round by the Tampa Bay Vipers.
Zac Kerin, G Toledo (Age 28)
The 6’4, 305 undrafted guard out of Toledo in 2014 signed with the Vikings and signed with four more teams, ending with Washington who waived him at the end of training camp 2019. Tough, vocal and aggressive, he lacked a strong lateral game and leg power to drive nose tackles off course. He appeared in 16 games, starting two (Lions, Redskins). He was regarded as a backup and had some knee problems with Detroit. He was picked up by the Guardians in the fifth round.
Patrick Lewis, C Texas A&M (Age 28)
A little undersized at 6′ 1″, Lewis appeared and started in more games than the others on our watch list despite being undrafted in 2013. Starting in 13 games in 17 appearances with five NFL teams (mostly with the Seahawks), he showed quickness, good blocking skills, hand work and ability to adjust. He was a little slow with limited flexibility, showing poor foot work and weak in pass blocking.
After being cut by Buffalo in training camp 2017, he was idle until signing with two AAF franchises in 2018. He went without registering any tackles or sacks for the abbreviated eight game season. He was drafted in the seventh round by the Houston Roughnecks.
Arie Kouandjio, G Alabama (Age 27)
A fourth round pick by the Redskins in 2015, his last name might sound familiar. That’s because he’s the brother of our first profiled player Cyrus Kouandjio. Having good size (6′ 5″, 315) and length, with some good initial quickness, he played too mechanical, showed limited flexibility, inconsistent blocking and mediocre athleticism.
He played in a total of 16 games, starting 8 for the Redskins in two separate stints, before and after signing with the Ravens. A partially torn quadriceps in May 2018 kept him out the entire season. He was chosen in the tenth round by the Guardians, becoming teammates with Cyrus.
What do you think of these lineman and who else have you set your sights on for a successful XFL debut? Let us know by commenting below!
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