It was a busy 2 days for the newest pro football team in New York The Guardians drafted through all 5 phases and have their initial roster prior to cuts. For their draft, the Guardians are showing a clear plan. Their offense is based on size and their defense is based on speed. The first player they announced was not drafted, but allocated based on need and want.
That player is their expected starting QB Matt McGloin. McGloin was a multi-year NFL veteran with 11 TDS to his 5 NFL seasons. His main action came with the Oakland Raiders. McGloin is a great pickup for NY. He is a Penn State alum and a veteran QB who’s name should be easily recognized. This is important for a cynical NY market which likely would not have taken well to an unknown.
Now for the draft recap of the Guardian’s primary selections who are expected to make the most impact heading into camp:
Round 1 (Skill players)
1) Deangelo Yancey – This 24-year-old former 5th round NFL pick saw his NFL days go by as a practice squad/offseason player for the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans. This athletic and strong 6’2 220 lb wide receiver will look to use his strength and downfield ability to make big plays for his team.
2) Mekale McKay – This tall 6’4 inch 210-pound receiver has been around NFL camps for a while with several teams going back to 2016. He made a name for himself in the defunct Alliance of American Football (AAF) with their San Antonio team scoring 4 TDS and showing power with regularly getting extra yards after contact. He put up 2 100+ yard games and was just 2 yards short of a third in just 7 weeks of play. Expect him to be similarly effective here.
3) Tanner Gentry – Josh Allen’s main target when he was at Wyoming, Another sizeable receiver at 6’2 and 200 lbs. He has been with the Bears the last couple of years making several appearances in regular-season action. He is capable of playing in the slot and has good hands and is capable of regular catching in traffic.
4) Demarcus Ayers – A former 7th round pick, he also played with McKay in San Antonio with the AAF. Ayers is a smaller quicker player whose strength is in the slot. He had no TDS in the AAF but was a capable second in yards and receptions to McKay. His experience with a teammate may help his effective transition to the Guardians as well.
5) Tim Cook – He is a monster at 6’ and over 240 lbs he is quick for his size and has all the power you expect from a 240 back. He had 56 carries 274 yards and 3 TDS (4 if you include one receiving TD)playing for the Arizona Hotshots in the AAF. He also had 0 fumbles showing he is able to hang on to the ball. He may not have stuck with the Jaguars in the NFL, but he has an opportunity to show his skills and power in NY.
6) Justin Stockton – Tim Cook’s backfield mate in Arizona, he should have a very similar role with New York, at 5’10 and 205 he does not have Cook’s power, but he is a viable receiver out of the backfield and a good change of back adding a bit more quickness on the field. He should also be comfortable playing with Cook in again while holding the same roll.
7) EJ Bibbs – A veteran at 28 years old, has spent time with the Browns, Jaguars, and Redskins in the NFL. He did get some game time with Cleveland At 258 he is sizeable for a tight end and caught a whopping 84 balls for 844 yards in only 2 years at Iowa State, Bibbs is athletic and really looking to show the world he can still be a viable professional TE as he was in college.
8) Keith Towbridge – Another large tight end standing 6’5 and almost 270 pounds spent some time with the Bills but really showed his stuff in the AAF for the Atlanta Legends where he had 17 catches for 196 yards.
9) Backup QB Marquis Williams – Former NC Tar Heel has been in Green Bay and the CFL in Edmonton and also played in the AAF offers a dual-threat option for the Guardians. He did not start but played in 8 AAF games completing 25 of 34 pass attempts and also added 120 yards on 21 carries.
Round 2 (Offensive line)
With the size at the skill position it is no surprise that coach Gilbride and staff would assemble an absolute monster-sized offensive line.
1) Jarron Jones – Is 6’5 and 305 and a product of Notre Dame University. He has been around several NFL teams, most recently with the Bills, and also had 2 stints with the Giants. Jones is Athletic and has played Defense before converting to offense and is was actually willing to play either side of the ball. He was also an elite basketball player and what is not to love about super athletic linemen with Notre Dame roots?
2) The Kouandjio Brothers – Yes they got both of them. Cyrus is a former 4th round NFL pick who played in 30 NFL games and started 6. His NFL career was sidetracked by a couple of injuries (1 was not football related) and he is a clear high-level talent looking to show he can still play. Oh, by the way, he is only 6’7 and 322. Brother Arie is 27 and saw 16 NFL games and 8 starts for the Washington Redskins. The smaller brother only stands 6’5 and 316 pounds.
3) Parker Collins – the expected starting Center spent recent time in the camp of the Carolina Panthers. He started for the AAF Atlanta Legends. A 6’2 300 pounder is actually the smallest of the linemen. He has played Guard and tackle before as well and may provide versatility if needed.
4) Anthony Coyle – this guard is a local product raised on Staten Island and attendee of Fordham University, which should make him popular. Coyle spent time with Green Bay recently.
5) Zac Kerin – Has 16 career NFL games and 2 starts. At 6’5 and 305 this guard brings 5 years of professional experience with him and can be counted on for stability. His most notable action came with the Vikings. Has college experience as a Center and was noted as a leader and intelligent signal-caller on the Offensive line.
Other notables: Ian Silberman – 3 NFL regular-season appearances. Brian Fineanganofo who did great at combine style events and in his pro day.
Round 3 (Defensive Front 7)
1) Ben Heeney – a Linebacker with 55 tackles and 2.5 sacks to his NFL credit. Durable who played in all but 2 games in his entire college career. His NFL career was stopped in 2017 due to ankle surgery. An effective leader should be the captain of the defensive front.
2) Joey Mbu – a tackle with 9 NFL regular-season games to his credit, he also played in the AAF with San Antonio. He is a major disrupting force at 6’3 and 323 he is not an easy guy to get out of the way,
3) TJ Barnes – former New York Jet, Kansas City Chief and Buffalo Bill he also spent time with the Atlanta Legends in the AAF at 6’7 and 364 pounds he will be right next to Mbu and that makes for a really gargantuan middle that will not be able to run against that easy. You cannot teach size like this.
4) Austin Larkin – an athletic defensive end who played with the Dallas Cowboys before going to the AAF’s San Antonio team (another one!) had a couple of sacks in the AAF and has a big motor with a track and lacrosse background.
5) Nick Deluca – what can you say… he won 4 FCS championships and was a defensive leader for North Dakota state. He is a winning player and used to winning. He also has 12 NFL tackles and a sack to his resume from his time in Jacksonville last year. He historically had some injury issues and the main concern with him is his ability to stay healthy,
6) Jarrell Owns – A true Rookie. He lit it up with his time at Oklahoma State. He may be the most explosive talent on the defensive line. He just needs some experience at this level.
7) D’Juan Hines – played 13 games with the Browns as a special teamer. He was a noted big-time tackler in college while at Houston. Where he had 110 tackles in his senior year and had 3 forced fumbles. He is an intelligent player and a 4 time Academic All-American
Other notables – Garrison Smith – saw regular-season action with the Seahawks; Rykeem Yates – Saw time in the AAF where had had 3 sacks for the Arizona Hotshots.
Round 4 (Defensive Backs)
1) Jamar Summers – a shutdown corner who was a big-time player for the Birmingham Iron in the AAF, where he may well have been the best CB in the league. He had 3 int (in 6 weeks) and 10 passes defensed with 1 forced fumble. As the year went on he was challenged less and less due to his performance. At 5’11 and 191 he has above average size for the position.
2) Lorenzo Doss – whose NFL career was stopped by missing a team meeting on Thanksgiving (yes, really) was a big-time performer for Tulane and was a part of a Super Bowl Championship Denver Bronco team in 2017. He is an exciting athlete as he was a track star in HS and college as well. His speed is consistent 4.4 in the 40-yard dash which is what is eye-opening.
3) David Rivers – saw some time on the active roster for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he spent 2019 preseason with the Dolphins before being cut after the final pre-season game. He is 6’2 and his height makes him desirable as a cover corner.
4) Dravon Askew Henry – another true rookie was a 5th year senior for West Virginia. He has exceptional ball skills and a very good tackler, having led the Mountaineers in tackles in 2018.
5) Andrew Soroh – a 6’2 210 pound rookie out of Florida Atlantic. He played a rover LB/S hybrid in college, his lightweight will likely have him just as a safety as a pro. He has a nose for the ball and will likely see most time against the run. He has a reputation as a leader and was impressive enough for the Kansas City Chiefs to bring in to their preseason roster after a mini-camp tryout.
Round 5 (Open Positions)
The XFL draft format called for a long open phase. These players are mostly long shots to make the squad outside of specialists. As noted the Guardians do not yet have a kicker or punter on the roster. Below highlights players who look likely to make the roster.
1) Scott Daly – A Long snapper who is expected to make the squad at this specialist position. A Notre Dame product spent time in Dallas Camp before playing for the San Antonio Commanders in the AAF. He will have plenty of company with several former Commanders on the team.
2) Matt Colburn – A 5’10 200 pound rookie RB from Wake Forest. He spent the preseason with the Rams. Colburn is a threat as a receiver and a runner 2,856 total yards from scrimmage and 15 TDS in 4 years with the Demon Deacons.
3) George Johnson – a 31-year-old NFL veteran who is a local from NJ with 45 NFL games to his credit between 2011-2017. With 8.5 sacks and 66 combined tackles. A local player with this much experience stands a good chance to find a roll on a new team with so much youth.
4) While a longshot to make the team Victor Oshi is a Stony Brook product and a Long Islander originally from the Bronx. He got some time with the Jets after college. He was a dominant college player with 182 tackles in 45 games, with 32.5 sacks and 50.5 tackles for loss.
It will be interesting to see who ends up kicking for the Guardians, as they did not take one in the draft and will likely get one at some point down the road. They will have a lot of work to do getting their roster down by the start of the season and it will be fascinating to see who ends up on team 9 that do not stick here. One thing is for sure, the team selected guys with a reputation as leaders and clearly went big on offense. And have a good tackling defense with a lot of size inside and speed outside. I find grading at this point to be impossible. It is easy to get excited though with this backfield and McGloin calling the shots. The team also has an outstanding secondary on paper in a league that expects to see a lot of passing. There is plenty of reason to be optimistic if you are a Guardians fan heading into the season.
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