St. Louis BattleHawks full draft recap
Day Two - Wedesday, October 16th
Written by Joe Marino
The Draft Network
That's a wrap! The XFL's league draft is officially closed, with Wednesday's action bringing an infusion of defensive back seven talent and the wide open flexibility of the league's open portion of the 2019 XFL Draft. Now comes the time to go to work -- but for St. Louis BattleHawks fans, here are a few players from each of today's phases that should be in a great position to succeed under head coach Jonathan Hayes, offensive coordinator Doug Meacham and defensive coordinator Jay Hayes.
Phase Four (Defensive Backs)
- SAF Kenny Robinson, West Virginia Mountaineers
Robinson left West Virginia after his true sophomore season to enter the XFL draft. He earned First-Team All-Big Twelve honors in 2018 while compiling 123 tackles, four tackles for loss, seven interceptions, seven pass breakups, a fumble recovery and forced fumble across two seasons at West Virginia. He also scored two defensive touchdowns. Robinson brings a highly versatile skill set to the table and can fill numerous roles for defensive coordinator Jay Hayes. Whether it’s lining up as a deep safety, playing closer to the line of scrimmaging, defending short zones and mirroring routes in man coverage, Robinson has the traits to do the job. Robinson has the upside to become one of the most dynamic defensive playmakers in the XFL.
- CB Marquez White, Florida State Seminoles
A 26-game starter for the Seminoles, White has the makeup to excel as an outside corner in a zone-heavy scheme. At Florida State, White showcased excellent coverage awareness, spacing and the understanding of overlapping coverage. He was rarely beat in college and he brings excellent length to the table which helps him be disruptive at the catch point and helps tighten his opponents catch radius. In addition, White has some upside in press coverage and is the type of defender that can matchup with bigger receivers in the red zone. After his senior season, White competed at the Senior Bowl in Mobile Alabama which features the top seniors in college football.
Phase Five (Open Draft)
- WR Brandon Reilly, Nebraska Cornhuskers
Reilly cemented his legacy at Nebraska for hauling in the game-winning touchdown pass to upset the undefeated No. 7 ranked Michigan State Spartans in 2015. For his Nebraska career, Riley totaled 70 receptions for 1,275 yards and six touchdowns. Profiling best as a slot receiver, Reilly is a detailed route-runner that has the technical refinement to create separation while also being a sure-handed receiver. In addition, Reilly carried the ball 19 times for 143 yards with Nebraska and he presents some appeal to be used creatively for offensive coordinator Dough Meacham. Reilly spent 2017-2019 on four different NFL teams.
- DE Markus Jones, Angelo State Rams
Jones had a historic DII career, racking up consecutive Lonestar Conference Defensive Player of the Year Honors, claiming the Gene Upshaw award which honors the best DII lineman and was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy which is given to the most valuable player in Division II. Jones led all NCAA players with 34 tackles for loss in 2018 which is 12.5 more than any other player in DII. He also chipped in 77 tackles, 15 sacks and 3 forced fumbles as a senior. If he can develop, Jones has considerable upside as an impact defensive playmaker for defensive coordinator Jay Hayes’ defense.
Day One - Tuesday, October 15th
Written by Benjamin Solak
The Draft Network
Day One of the XFL's league draft is officially in the books. With so many of the players from the talent pool finding new homes, it's undoubtedly an exciting time for all who got the call -- and the coaches who now have their hands on players who can help bring their vision of a successful program come to life. For St. Louis BattleHawks fans, here are a few players from each phase of today's phases that should be in a great position to succeed under head coach Johnathan Hayes, offensive coordinator Doug Meacham and defensive coordinator Jay Hayes.
Phase One (Skill Players)
- RB Christine Michael, Texas A&M Aggies
Christine Michael always found impressive and surprising spurts of production in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks, and looks to bring that same juice with a new “Hawk” team in St. Louis. A bowling-ball frame with deceptive long speed, Michael is as tough to bring down as any back playing today, with a strong spin move and stiff arm necessary to shuck the first defender. Despite struggling to stick in expanded roles at the NFL level with Dallas and Indianapolis, Michael brings a ton of NFL experience and success to the XFL, and will likely become a bell-cow back for Jonathan Hayes and the Battlehawks.
Phase Two (Offensive Line)
- OL Juwann Bushell-Beaty, Michigan Wolverines
A Michigan product with a ton of power, Bushell-Beatty was a two-year starter at right tackle for the Wolverines before going undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft and failing to make much of a mark at the 2019 Shrine Game. That said, Beatty is a road-paver in the running game who brings bad intentions to the trenches, looking to finish blocks with plus upper-body strength and length. His grip strength and punch power both impressive when he’s looking to initiate and maintain pass blocks from the interior, which is a better alignment for his skill set. He’ll look to win a starting guard job for St. Louis.
- OL Matt McCants, UAB Blazers
With their first pick in Phase 2, the Battlehawks went after an interesting developmental tackle from the NFL in Matt McCants. When he first came out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, McCants was coveted for his fluidity, length, and agility -- the New York Giants made him a sixth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to see if they could build him into something at the NFL level. McCants bounced around the league for a while, but showed promise in the now-defunct AAF before landing on the St. Louis squad. A healthy McCants has as much explosiveness as any offensive tackle in the XFL, and that should turn into stalwart production on the outside for St. Louis.
Phase Three (Defensive Front Seven)
- DE Corbin Kaufusi, BYU Cougars
It will be fascinating to see what happens with Kaufusi, who was also signed to the New York Jets’ practice squad today in the NFL. Should Kaufusi make it onto the Battlehawks’ roster for the start of the XFL season, he’ll bring a strength/size profile that few can match -- like many of the Kaufusi brothers who went through the system at BYU, Kaufusi is a towering 6-foot-9, 275 pounds. Winning as an interior rusher with length and power, Kaufusi is a good movement piece for any defensive line, as he can kick outside or slide inside depending on the down and distance situation.
- DL Jamell Garcia-Williams, UAB Blazers
Man, the Battlehawks sure went size-hunting on their defensive front! Garcia-Williams went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft after catching eyes in the rehabilitated University of Alabama-Birmingham program for his size and bend. At 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds, Garcia-Williams’ ability to flip his hips around the edge illustrates a strong developmental future if he puts the time in and gets the requisite coaching. Garcia-Williams joins Kaufusi on a large defensive front that figures to win regularly with size and power in interior gaps and on bull rushes.