Tampa Bay Vipers full draft recap
Day Two - Wednesday, 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 Tampa Bay Vipers fans, here are a few players from each of today's phases that should be in a great position to succeed under head coach Marc Trestman, offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo and defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville.
Phase Four (Defensive Backs)
- CB Arrion Springs, Oregon Ducks
Defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville and secondary coach William Fields are going to love the feisty and competitive demeanor of Springs. At Oregon, whether he was challenged at the catch point or tasked with defending the run, Springs always answered the call. Across his final three seasons for the Ducks, Springs racked up 137 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, 42 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Springs led the PAC 12 in pass breakups in both 2015 and 2017 while showcasing his alpha mentality and technique to be disruptive when challenged. Springs has the makings of a top corner in the XFL.
- CB Picasso Nelson, Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Every secondary needs a competitive and fleet-footed slot corner and the Vipers have their answer in the spot in Nelson. A four-year starter at Southern Mississippi, Nelson brings a host of experience serving as a nickel corner but isn’t completely limited to that role. Nelson features a blend of coverage instincts, physicality and ball skills that makes him a versatile defender that defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville can deploy in a variety of ways. Nelson also brings with him an impressive resume in terms of work ethic and character. He was named Southern Miss Best Male Citizen in 2017 and was on the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll in 2015 and 2016 while earning the Commissioners’ Academic Medal in 2015.
Phase Five (Open Draft)
- RB Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt Commodores
Webb finished his college career as the record holder of nearly every career rushing mark including 4,173 rushing yards, 931 caries, 32 rushing touchdowns, 25 total touchdowns and 16 games of at least 100 rushing yards. He ranks No. 6 all-time among SEC running backs in career rushing yardage. A workhorse for the Commodores, Webb is primed to make a major impact in head coach Marc Trestman’s offense. In addition to all of his outstanding rushing output, Webb is a potent receiver that hauled in 68 receptions for 572 yards and three touchdowns in college. Webb was a high school star in both football and track in Gainesville and enjoyed outstanding academic success at Vanderbilt.
- DL Bobby Richardson, Indiana Hoosiers
Able to lineup in any technique across the defensive line in both even and odd fronts, defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville will enjoy the versatility Richardson provides. Despite going undrafted out of Indiana, Richardson was a starter for the New Orleans Saints in 2015 and produced 40 tackles, four tackles for loss and an interception. Richardson started 27 games while appearing in 45 across his career for the Hoosiers and was a team captain as a senior while earning the team’s award for most outstanding linemen. A Tampa Bay native, Richardson has the upside to be an impact defensive playmaker in his hometown.
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 Tampa Bay Vipers 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 Marc Trestman, offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo and defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville.
Phase One (Skill Players)
- RB Quinton Flowers, South Florida Bulls
Perhaps the most intriguing player in the entire XFL is Quinton Flowers, who the Vipers made their 37th overall pick in Phase 1 of the inaugural XFL Draft. Flowers was a quarterback at the nearby University of South Florida, and his ability as a dual-threat passer and runner helped him grab the 2016 AAC Offensive Player of the Year award -- he rushed and threw for a combined 40 touchdowns and 4,300 yards. Flowers never stuck in the NFL as a true running back, but further time in the XFL should have his skills blossom into an elusive, home-run hitting runner with enough long speed and power to score from anywhere on the field. The Vipers very well could have just stolen a great pick late in Phase 1.
- QB Taylor Cornelius, Oklahoma State Cowboys
After starting the day off with Aaron Murray, the Georgia product, at quarterback, the Vipers added to their depth chart by selecting 2019 Shrine Game participant Taylor Cornelius, who played his college ball at Oklahoma State. A good runner with a rocket arm, Cornelius’ size and physical attributes tag him as a tremendous developmental prospect in the XFL pool, as he continues to work on his ball placement and risk management when he breaks the pocket. Cornelius may not challenge Murray right away for the starting role, but he has better physical tools than Murray, and could prove a starting QB for the Vipers if given the attention and coaching necessary to develop.
Phase Two (Offensive Line)
- OT Martez Ivey, Florida Gators
What a great pick for the Vipers early in Phase 2! A three-year starter at the University of Florida, Ivey regularly made the second-team All-SEC for his stout play for the Gators. A freshman starter who played everywhere on the line save for center across his four year career in the swamp, Ivey brings coveted veteran experience and versatility to any offensive line. An effective puncher with great length, Ivey’s best play came at guard, where his strength shined in tight quarters -- but he can play tackle if that’s what the Vipers need, and his many games logged as a starter help him stay cool and controlled at whatever position he’s deployed.
- OG Tony Adams, North Carolina State Wolfpack
An impressive NC State product in the 2018 NFL Draft, they don’t come much stronger than Tony Adams. At the Shrine Game, Adams impressed with his ability to uproot interior defenders in the running game and stonewall their bull-rushes as a pass protector. Primarily a guard prospect who also spent time at center, Adams had NFL-caliber traits that the Jaguars took a long look at following the 2018 NFL Draft: his foot quickness, hand power, and core strength all illustrate that of a Day 1 starter at guard for the Vipers, who will likely make a killing running right through the holes Jones bulldozes open.
Phase Three (Defensive Front Seven)
- DT Ricky Walker, Virginia Tech Hokies
An intriguing 2019 prospect who had a productive Shrine Game, Walker was a leader on Bud Foster’s Virginia Tech defense and an effective penetrator from the 3-technique alignment. With good hand usage and enough of a first step to challenge his opponent’s set points, Walker offers as strong of a developmental profile as any interior rusher in the XFL, and the Vipers appropriately drafted him early (17th overall) as such. As one of the younger players in the pool, Walker has an opportunity to sharpen his skills into a key starter for the Vipers.
- DL Obum Gwacham, Oregon State Beavers
A sixth-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft who bounced around the league for a while, Gwacham has always been a promising player with the tools you just can’t teach. A WR convert at Oregon State who only played one year on the edge at the college level, the surface is yet barely scratched on Gwacham, who has demonstrated his elite explosiveness and length as a track star in high school. Can Gwacham put together the pieces and become a consistent rusher for the Vipers? If he does, he could just deliver on his high caliber as the first overall pick in Phase 3 of the XFL Draft.