Dallas Renagades

Breaking down the notable names on the DC Defenders XFL roster

The DC Defenders will be coached by former University of San Diego offensive coordinator Tanner Engstrand. Engstrand went on to be an “offensive analyst” under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. The Defenders offensive coordinator will be Pep Hamilton, who has been around the NFL, but most recently was with the Browns and Michigan and before that was Andrew Luck’s offensive coordinator in Stanford and again in Indianapolis.

Engstrand was a run-first coordinator in San Diego but when passing, his team would take deep shots and put up good points. Hamilton also liked to take deep shots with Luck and T.Y. Hilton and with Cardale Jones at quarterback, they have plenty of options.

There are plenty of interesting names on the Defenders, including a few NFL players you will recognize.

Jones led Ohio State to a National Championship in 2014 and then was benched the following season. In 2016 he was drafted by the Bills in the fourth round. Jones ended up playing four years in the NFL, but never got a start. His athletic ability and potential continues to keep him getting jobs. He has a cannon arm and can beat you with his legs. The drop in competition at the XFL and a good set of receivers should help him put up numbers in D.C.

Jones could cede some touches to Tyree Jackson, as his ability could compliment the offense as a second quarterback on the field. The XFL also has a rule that allows tow forward passes if the players remain behind the line of scrimmage. It also allows double passes to be less risky, as the first pass may fall incomplete rather than becoming a fumbled lateral.

Pressley put up chunk plays in New Mexico, averaging 6.9 yards per rush in 50 games. He ended up signing with the Vikings as an UDFA, but didn’t make the team. He also played in the AAF and led the short-lived league in rushing. He and Donnel Pumphrey will likely share work.

Pumphrey was the Eagles fourth-round pick in 2016 after putting up gaudy numbers San Diego State. Despite not starting his freshman year, Pumphrey accumulated 7,444 yards and 67 touchdowns in his college career. Pressley has a couple inches and thirty pounds on Pumphrey, so there’s a good chance we see Pumphrey as a receiving back while Pressley could work between the numbers.

Ross has been rostered by 12 different teams in his career, including AAF and XFL. His most notable season in the NFL came with Washington in 2015 when he was a punt returner and reserve receiver. But, his best season as a professional came with the Arizona Hotshots in the AAF, where he led the league in receiving touchdowns and average depth of target. He should be a big play maker with the Defenders.

DC Defenders Preview

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. College
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. College
3 Jackson, Tyree QB 6’7″ 250 Buffalo
12 Jones, Cardale QB 6’5″ 264 Ohio State
24 Pumphrey, Donnel RB 5’8″ 178 San Diego State
26 Pressley, Jhurell RB 5’10” 209 New Mexico
31 Brossette, Nick RB 5’11” 210 Louisiana State
32 Abdullah, Khalid RB 5’9″ 226 James Madison
1 Thompkins, DeAndre WR 5’11” 187 Penn State
4 Rogers, Eli WR 5’11” 176 Louisville
9 Rowell, Jalen WR 6’4″ Air Force
10 Cobbs, Simmie WR 6’3″ 220 Indiana
15 Ross, Rashad WR 6’0″ 180 Arizona State
16 Palka, Tyler WR 6’0″ 197 Gannon
19 Dupre, Malachi WR 6’4″ 195 Louisiana State
80 Ernsberger, Donnie TE 6’3″ 241 Western Michigan
85 Hayward, Derrick TE 6’5″ 260 Maryland
86 Lee, Khari TE 6’4″ 255 Bowie State
2 Rausa, Ty K 5’9″ 189 Boise State
7 Niswander, Hunter P 6’5″ 230 Northwestern
69 Boozer, Cole OT 6’5″ 306 Temple
72 Tuley-Tillman, Logan OT 6’6″ 308 Texas-El Paso
78 Bunche, Malcolm OT 6’6″ 326 UCLA
79 Wesley, De’Ondre OT 6’6″ 320 Brigham Young
51 Johnson, Dorian OG 6’5″ 291 Pittsburgh
74 Cook, Rishard OG 6’3″ 364 UAB
75 Brown, Chris OG 6’4″ 315 Southern California
64 Toth, Jon OC 6’5″ 298 Kentucky
77 O’Hagan, James OC 6’2″ 299 Buffalo
52 Celestin, Jonathan LB 6’0″ 227 Minnesota
53 Thurman, Jameer LB 6’0″ 223 Indiana State
54 Massaquoi, Jonathan LB 6’2″ 265 Troy
55 Williams, Antwione LB 6’3″ 245 Georgia Southern
58 Wright, Scooby LB 6’0″ 228 Arizona
59 Tarpley, A.J. LB 6’2″ 225 Stanford
90 Anau, Siupeli DT 6’2″ 286 Northern Arizona
92 Qualls, Elijah DT 6’1″ 337 Washington
93 Sprinkle, Tracy DT 6’2″ 287 Ohio State
94 Vakameilalo, Kalani DT 6’3″ 322 Oregon State
95 Bigelow, Kenny DT 6’3″ 308 West Virginia
96 Bromley, Jay DT 6’3″ 297 Syracuse
42 Khoury, Brian DE 6’3″ 238 Carnegie Mellon
56 Freeman, KeShun DE 6’2″ 259 Georgia Tech
91 Barnes, Tavaris DE 6’4″ 267 Clemson
99 Montgomery, Sam DE 6’3″ 248 Louisiana State
21 Grant, Doran CB 5’10” 195 Ohio State
23 Myrick, Jalen CB 5’10” 201 Minnesota
25 Lawrence, Desmond CB 5’11” 187 North Carolina
28 Campbell, Elijah CB 5’11” 192 Northern Iowa
30 Sylve, Bradley CB 6’0″ 172 Alabama
20 Merritt, Carlos S 6’0″ 190 Campbell
22 Elam, Matt S 5’10” 205 Florida
29 Kinnel, Tyree S 5’11” 210 Michigan
38 Thomas, Shamarko S 5’9″ 205 Syracuse

FULL STORY