The XFL draft has just finished and we finally have a look at what we can expect from each team. Each coach played their own style of strategy during the draft by picking players best suited for their playing style and the direction they want their teams to go. We can see great possibilities for the future of the XFL and we are excited to see where that journey takes us. In this article, we are going to look at the Battlehawks.
QB Grade: B+
Let’s start at what is considered the most valued position, QB (yeah, I understand that’s debatable). Before the XFL draft started, the teams were allocated a QB, it’s not really clear if the teams had a say in the matter or if it was there QB of choice but still there were a few well-known players on that list. One, of course, being the Battlehawks Jordan Ta’amu. I really like this decision here, as Ta’amu had some pretty stellar plays for Ole’ Miss.
The kid has skills that’s for sure but many discredit that for the fact he only played there for 2 seasons. Ta’amu was a transfer student from two schools before going to Ole’ Miss, he played for New Mexico Military Institute and the University of Mississippi. For his days at Ole’ Miss, he passed for 5,600 yards with 30 TDs and 12 INTs. His QBR averaged 156.8. Even though he is the only one of the eight allocated QBs to not have any professional in-game experience even though he was picked up as a UDFA for the Houston Texans but he was dropped shortly after and perhaps he’s found a home in the STL. I’m anxious to see what he can do, he has the potential to be a great mobile player and a deep threat.
On the issue as a backup, head coach Jonathan Hayes went with Eastern Michigan QB Brogan Roback. Roback was with the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers but never say any regular or preseason action as both teams dropped him before the start of each season. He had a decent career at E. Michigan with 8,624 yards with 57 TDs to 38 INTs. I’m not sure what Hayes was going for with this pick but I’m not sold on this pick and that’s why I drafted it lower.
Running Backs: B
One of the notable names in Phase 1 is running back Christine Michael who was the first pick for the Battlehawks. Michael played his college days at Texas A&M where he had a pretty good run with the Aggies rushing for 2,791 yards with 34 TDs, he also hauled in 323 yards receiving with 1 TD. For all those stats, one thing that sticks out to me, he recorded only 1 lost fumbles in his four seasons. However, transitioning to the next step in the NFL didn’t go the way he had hoped. He was drafted in ‘13 and bounced around to four different teams.
Another name most will remember is Matt Jones. His stats were not the best but he did have some pretty impressive games for the Florida Gators. During his time with the Gators he recorded a total of 1,531 yards with 12 TDs.
Wide Receivers: A-
I like a couple of choices the Battlehawks made in the WR area. I think Hayes did some research for St Louis as he drafted a couple of Missouri Tigers to give the fans some local college hero’s. One of those Tigers picked was L’Damian Washington, he had a pretty good career with Missouri as he hauled in 1,735 yards with a total of 15 TDs with 10 TDs coming in his senior year. Unfortunately, his professional career didn’t take off as he never saw any action for the three teams he played for in his rookie year.
The other Tiger picked was Marcus Lucas who played alongside Washington throughout the 4 years of college. He gathered up 1,638 yards with 11 TDs. he was another player who bounced from team to team but hopefully he has finally found his home in the Battlehawks.
Offensive Line: B+
Matt McCants had a pretty successful career for the Oakland Raiders after being cut from the Giants who drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. However, the Raiders would cut him after three seasons and would then play for four more teams before landing in the AAF for the Birmingham Iron. McCants seems like a natural at his position but he started late playing football as he didn’t join his high school team until his senior year, before that he was in the band playing the tuba. Brian Folkerts, Dallas Thomas, Jake Campos adds solid protection and can give the QB enough time to make decisive decisions in the pocket.
Defensive Front Seven: A-
I like the defensive front coach Hayes went with, he got some speed plus strength in players like Terence Garvin, Casey Sayles, Jamell Garcia-Williams and Nicholas Grigsby who combine for a total of 41 sacks, 310 solo tackles and 222 assisted tackles with 5 forced fumbles. They should give any running back a challenge when they face these guys.
Defensive Backs: A
Many will remember players like Will Hill, Marquez White and Trovon Reed who had exceptional careers at their respective schools. Out of the picks they combine for over 40 INTs and over 700 tackles. They should make any QB question every play they make and cause confusion to any team they face. I think the Battlehawks have the possibility to become the best defense in the league, but it’s not a guarantee as just because a team makes big moves don’t mean they work, just take a look at the Browns this year!
Open Draft: B+
We all know to have a great team you need a solid offense and defensive but the one thing overlooked by a lot of people is the kicker. I like that Hayes went after Elliott Fry who shined in the AAF with the top-rated offense Orlando Apollos as he went 14 for 14 on field goals. Overall I think the Battlehawks made some good picks, some were perhaps conservative picks. I did like the picks like Steve Beauharnais LB, Sherman Badie RB, Avery Young DB and among others. I could be here all night going over all these picks, their strengths, weaknesses and such but we’ll just focus on a few for now.
All in all, final grade: B+
This can of course change as I can see many moves being made before the start of the season but for now, I feel comfortable with my grades. I feel like Coach Hayes made some smart picks and he should have a well rounded out team come February.
What do you think? Did I rank them right or would you have done anything differently? Maybe I didn’t name a player you think I should have that was better than I gave them credit for? Let us know in the comments below.
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