Just 12 days before the XFL kicks off their regular-season on ABC, and 13 days before the New York Guardians host the Tampa Bay Vipers at MetLife Stadium, Sunday, February 9th, 2 pm ET on Fox.
The XFL released the official 52 player rosters for all eight of their teams.
Let’s take a deep dive into the 52 players that have made the New York Guardians roster.
Quarterbacks: Matt McGloin (#14), Marquise Williams (#12), and Luis Perez (#7)
Released: Garrett Fugate
– A week before the Guardians completed training camp. The team traded for Luis Perez from the Los Angeles Wildcats. New York has three capable starters in their quarterback room. McGloin will be leading the charge when the season starts. Garrett Fugate made a good impression with his physical tools during camp. He could cycle back to the roster at a later date.
Running Backs: Tim Cook III (#20), Darius Victor (#27), Justin Stockton (#23), and Matthew Colburn (#34)
– The Guardians’ retained all four of their running backs. Kevin Gilbride and RB’s coach Jerald Ingram has a long history of utilizing committee backfields. Back in 2008, The New York Giants were only the fifth team in NFL history to have two 1,000 yard rushers on their roster in Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward. Cook and Victor are power runners who can break open-field tackles. Matthew Colburn is a jack of all trades. Justin Stockton is a speedy big-play third-down type back. The latter two could also factor into the return game.
Wide Receivers: Mekale McKay (#1), Teo Redding (#9), Colby Pearson (#3), Joe Horn Jr. (#2), Austin Duke (#10), and Justice Liggins (#17)
Injured Reserve: DeAngelo Yancey (#11) & Tanner Gentry (#19)
Released: Dalton Ponchilla, Bernard Reedy, Darius Prince, Andrew Verboys
- Both DeAngelo Yancey and Tanner Gentry are on short term IR. The teams’ opener is in less than two weeks. So they could both be available for the early part of the season. If Yancey and Gentry were to return, that would mean that two spots on the active roster would need to open up. Teo Redding emerged late in camp. He’s a jump ball type receiver who can make a difference in the red zone. Mekale McKay is a dynamic receiver; he is more than capable of shouldering the load in the passing game.
Tight Ends: EJ Bibbs (#88), Jake Powell (#87), Keenen Brown (#85), and Jake Sutherland (#83)
Injured Reserve: Garrett Hudson (#81)
– New York is playing without a traditional fullback. Jake Sutherland and Jake Powell are two impressive young players who can fill that role. Keenen Brown has upside as a pass-catcher. EJ Bibbs is the veteran of the bunch, and also has the versatility to play multiple positions. Bibbs has spent time in his NFL career playing H-Back.
Offensive Line: OT Jarron Jones (#74), C Ian Silberman (#69), OT John Kling IV (#70), T/G Avery Young (#73), OG Damien Mama (#79), OG Anthony Coyle (#78), OT Brant Weiss (#71), and C Garrett Brumfield (#68)
Released: Dejon Allen, Brian Fineanganofo, Bunchy Stallings, Maea Teuhema, Jordan Agavisa
– The Guardians made several changes to this unit since October. The Kouandjio brothers didn’t make it out of minicamp. Six of the linemen that New York drafted are no longer with the team. Avery Young and Damien Mama are two late additions who could both be starting on opening day. The key to this group will be forming continuity in such a short period. O-Line coach Ronnie Vinklarek will be tasked with getting this unit off on the right foot. Two key players will be Offensive Tackle Jarron Jones, the teams’ first pick, and Center Ian Silberman.
Defensive Line: DT TJ Barnes (#93), DT Joey Mbu (#94), DE Bunmi Rotini Jr. (#58), DE Jarrell Owens (#91), DE Charles Wright (#55) DT Toby Johnson Jr. (#96), and DT Cavon Walker (#99)
Released: Victor Ochi, Andrew Stelter, Rykeem Yates
– The Guardians may play multiple defensive fronts. A couple of these players can stand up as edge rushers in a 3-4, in Bunmi Rotini, and Charles Wright. Both are promising young pass rushers. The Guardians’ strength upfront is in their three space-eating run stoppers in NFL veterans TJ Barnes (362), Joey Mbu (336), and Toby Johnson Jr (350).
Linebackers: Ben Heeney (#56), D’Juan Hines (#45), Nick DeLuca (#49), Frank Ginda (#47), Ryan Mueller (#44), Garrett Dooley (#59), and Jawaun Johnson (#48)
Released: Darnell Leslie
– One of the most underrated groups on the roster. Heeney, Ginda, De Luca, and Hines can all be three-down linebackers. A trait that will be very important in a fast up-tempo league that utilizes the 25-second play-clock. Players like Ben Heeney, have the earmarks of being the top signal-caller and will have to get the defense lined up correctly in a swift fashion. Ginda is a difference-maker and can make plays all over the field.
Defensive Backs: CB Jamar Summers (#21), CB Terrence Alexander (#31) S Dravon Askew-Henry (#22), S Demetrious Cox (#36), CB DeJuan Neal (#26), CB Bryce Jones (#29), S Andrew Soroh (#30), S Wes Sutton (#28), S AJ Hendy (#33), and CB Ranthony Texada II (#24),
Released: Tre Mathis, Aaron Taylor
– The teams’ most reliable unit. Jamar Summers might be the league’s best cover corner. TCU’s Ranthony Texada is someone to watch closely. He has excellent man skills, from his experience playing in Gary Patterson’s defense. Versatility is the name of the game in this secondary. Former Stanford/LSU defensive back Terrence Alexander can play multiple positions. As can, Demetrious Cox. Wes Sutton has a lot of range at safety. Dravon Askew-Henry is also a very similar talent. Soroh and Hendy are physical players. Neal and Jones will factor into the defense at the corner position as well.
Special Teams: (3)
Kicker: Matthew McCrane (#16)
Punter: Justin Vogel (#8)
Long Snapper: Scott Daly (#42)
– An aspect that is unknown at the moment is the players who will be assuming kick/punt return duties. Daly, McCrane, and Vogel all have NFL experience. Kicking and punting in the northeast is no simple task. The XFL rules on special teams are vastly different than the NFL game. Especially when it comes to punting, Vogel’s ability to pin the opposition deep without kicking it of bounds will be significant because of the 35-yard line touchback rule.
As is usually the case in football, everything is subject to change when it comes to injury and performance. The XFL rosters will change and be altered every week during the season.
Congratulations to the 52 players that have made the New York Guardians roster. For those who didn’t, hopefully, another opportunity presents itself before the season is out.
One of the reasons that I have always been a proponent of a second pro league is the numbers game in the NFL, that cuts off hundreds of promising pro careers every year before they can continue or even get started. Ironically, the numbers game played a factor in today’s roster reveals.
I am very happy for the 416 players that have made active XFL rosters. The league is loaded with strong coaching staffs and excellent young talent. Many of whom will have an opportunity to be household names by seasons-end. For those of us who have followed the NFL draft process and college football closely over the years, we are very familiar with a significant number of the players that are in the league. There’s excitement for the players and also for the fans who support them. Football season returns on ABC, Fox, and ESPN, during the weekend of February 8th and 9th. Welcome to a new league.