The Tampa Bay Vipers, along with the rest of the XFL released official team rosters today ahead of the league’s February 8th kickoff. Here is the full positional breakdown for the Vipers:
Offense: 27 players
Quarterbacks (4): Aaron Murray, Taylor Cornelius, Quinton Flowers, and Chase Litton.
It isn’t a big surprise that the Vipers decided to keep all of the quarterbacks that entered camp with them. Keep in mind, that Flowers is also taking reps at running back and has the ability to play at both positions. In addition, the team traded for Litton from the Seattle Dragons last week and decided to hold on to him into the regular season.
Running Backs (3): De’Veon Smith, Jacques Patrick, and Mack Brown.
Only having three running backs on the roster is definitively the lowest among teams in the league. It is rumored that Tarean Folston is still with the team and is being moved to an injured reserved list but no official team statement has been made yet. With consideration to Flowers who will be on the field, the idea is for the Vipers to enter the season with a ‘running back by committee’ mindset where the hot-hand will take over the bulk of carries as the season progresses.
Wide Receivers (9): Antonio Callaway, Donteea Dye, Stacy Coley, Seantavius Jones, Jalen Tolliver, Reece Horn, Tanner McEvoy, Daniel Williams, and Ryan Davis.
This is by far the Vipers deepest spot on the depth chart, and this should point towards what the team’s strength and offensive game plan will look like come February 9. Among receivers expected to be in top half of the depth chart include Callaway, Coley, and Jones. Those players received a lot of buzz during training camp and feel like players with starting potential for the team. It should be said if the team should find an enticing player left off a roster or on the newly formed ‘team nine’ the wide receiver group could very well be where the first cut comes from.
Tight Ends (3): Deandre Goolsby, Nick Truesdell, and Colin Thompson.
In addition to the nine receivers, the Vipers will keep all three tight ends that were in camp. A group highlighted by Truesdell, who should be one of, if not the league’s premier tight end.
Offensive Line: Tackles (3): Isaiah Williams, Martez Ivey, and Marquis Lucas. Guards (3): Jerald Foster, Andrew Tiller, and Daronte Bouldin. Centers (2): John Yarbrough and Jordan McCray.
It’s an odd move to have two traditional centers and a long snapper as a part of your final 52, but passed that no big surprises after cuts as the Vipers left three linemen off the final roster; two tackles and a guard.
Defense: 22 players
Tackles (3): Nikita Whitlock, Josh Banks, and Ricky Walker
The Vipers opted to go with some slimmer interior defensive lineman. Walker is the heaviest at 295 lbs., and Whitlock is the smallest at 5′ 10″ and 250 lbs. This could hint at the defensive scheme the Vipers could be in, but also highlights a potential weakness in stopping the run between the tackles. Yet, slimmer tackles, as opposed to traditional nose tackles, could allude to the pace of play in the new XFL.
Ends (4): Deiontrez Mount, Bobby Richardson, CeCe Jefferson and Jason Neil.
As currently constituted, the defensive end position feels like the weakest group post-roster announcement. With that said, keep in mind that the Vipers top pick from the front seven portion, Obum Gwacham was hurt during camp and is not included in the 52-man roster.
Linebackers (4): Terrance Plummer, Emmanuel Beal, Lucas Wacha, and Ike Spearman.
Four linebackers seem like a low number, but then again it could play to how teams expect the pace of play to affect personnel. The team kept three of the four LBs they selected in the draft, fourth-round pick Reggie Northrup is the only drafted linebacker to be cut from the team.
Safeties (3): Robert Priester, Micah Hannemann, and Marcelis Branch.
Corner Backs (4): Bryce Canady, Demontre Hurst, Jalen Collins, and Shelton Lewis.
Defensive Backs (4): Tarvarus McFadden, Rannell Hall, Anthoula Kelly, and Corey Moore.
The secondary should be addressed all together because it is the most dynamic of the defensive groupings. The secondary is broken into true cornerbacks, true safeties and defensive backs, who will play a hybrid between the two.
Again the roster breakdown highlights how fast teams expect the game to move with the new rules the XFL has set in place. The usage of corners, safeties, and addition defensive backs could mean that the Vipers will not play a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense, but more likely a secondary heavy scheme with three linemen, two linebackers and the rest defensive backs.
Special Teams: 3 players
Kicker: Andrew Franks
Punter: Jake Schum
Long Snapper: Nick Moore
I’m sure more news and information on the team will come out in the coming days as the team officially gets a look at how they stack up against others in the league one through fifty-two.
In addition, as soon as information comes out regarding an injury report, XFL News Hub will have it for you.
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