LA Wildcats full draft recap
Written by Kyle Crabbs
The Draft Network
Day Two - Wednesday, October 16th
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 LA Wildcats fans, here are a few players from each of today's phases that should be in a great position to succeed under head coach Winston Moss, offensive coordinator Norm Chow and defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson.
Phase Four (Defensive Backs)
- CB Jack Tocho, North Carolina State Wolfpack
Tocho is a well put together cornerback who carries a notable presence on the boundary. With good awareness and route recognition skills, Tocho will meet the requirements of an outside cornerback in the XFL and provide the Wildcats with a heady defender and a reliable tackler out on the edge. Tocho doesn't necessarily possess top end explosiveness or short area agility, but his anticipation and technique will help him continue to be a plus starter at the XFL level while providing no shortage of plays on the football. He may need a bit of help in turn and run coverage over the top, but Tocho's work in zone should have Wildcats fans excited about seeing him keying opposing quarterbacks in the backfield.
- SAF Ahmad Dixon, Baylor Bears
Dixon came through the Baylor program at the peak of their success and illustrated a knack for explosive plays on defense. Dixon showcases great click and close ability to work into the line of scrimmage and attack the ball carrier -- he ran up 288 total tackles (13 for a loss) over his four seasons in Waco. Between Tocho and Dixon, the Wildcats have a pair on the back end who play fast thanks to thinking fast. Dixon can serve as the Wildcat’s extra man in the box in sub-package looks and be that critical run defender from the slot.
Phase Five (Open Draft)
- DE Shawn Oakman, Baylor Bears
Oakman will always be remembered as the monster of a man looming on the Bears sidelines during his playing career -- once a talent thought to have exception professional upside. Oakman's career hasn't progressed on that trajectory, but at the end of the day he does possess exceptional length for a defensive end, which will make him a difficult defender to land punches on when looking to stop his rush up the field. Oakman is at his best when he's encouraged to attack forward and play into a single gap as a penetration style player, so look for his splash plays to come from his pressing through blocks and uncovering to challenge the mesh point in the backfield. His explosiveness should yield some power rushes and an ability to collapse the pocket on passing downs as well.
- QB Taryn Christion, South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Christion was an under the radar pro prospect this past spring after putting the finishing touches on an impressive career with the Jackrabbits at the FCS level. Christion went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft but made a strong impression with the Dallas Cowboys before being cut at the start of the league's regular season. Christion is athletic, mobile and super productive: he holds several career passing records at SDSU, including for passing yards (11,535), passing touchdowns (104) and total yardage (13,050). Christion finished as a finalist for the Walter Payton Award in three consecutive seasons -- given out to the most outstanding player in FCS football. If Christion gets into the action, look for him to take advantage of his smooth mobility to make things happen.
Day One - Tuesday, October 15th
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 Los Angeles Wildcats 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 Winston Moss, offensive coordinator Norm Chow and defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson.
Phase One (Skill Players)
- RB Elijah Hood, North Carolina Tar Heels
Hood thrived as a sophomore at North Carolina in 2015, exploding for 1,463 yards and 17 touchdowns as the Tar Heels' leading rusher. Hood is an imposing back who plowed through ACC defenses at the college level, offering a notable blend of open field vision and power to physically challenge would-be tacklers. Hood will succeed if given the opportunity to run downhill between the tackles and build momentum into the line of scrimmage -- that's where he's best able to challenge tacklers and create chunk gains on the ground.
- WR Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Garrett's 2015 season at Tulsa was one to remember -- he logged 1,588 receiving yards, which led the NCAA, on 96 receptions during a monster breakout year as a redshirt senior. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Garrett shows the needed body control to adjust to throws that forcing him to adjust and test his catch radius. Not only does Garrett offer a large strike zone as a target, he's a load to bring down after the catch -- making him an ideal player to serve as a possession receiver and bully smaller defenders in all phases of the position.
Phase Two (Offensive Line)
- OG Nico Siragusa, San Diego State Aztecs
The pairing of some of the Wildcats' offensive line picks with RB Elijah Hood have the makings of an imposing rushing offense. Nico Siragusa was an absolute bruiser during his time with the Aztecs, helping to pave the way for a rushing offense in 2016 that logged over 3,100 yards on the ground between Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny. Siragusa would go on to become a 4th-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and now looks to reestablish himself as a bulldozer on the interior of the Wildcats offensive line. Ask Hood to run off Siragusa's hip in the power run game and watch the yards pile up!
- OT Tyler Roemer, San Diego State Aztecs
Another Aztec to help the ground game can only be a good thing. Roemer was touted as a notable physical talent during the 2018 college football season before being dismissed from the Aztecs program last year. On the gridiron, Roemer shows impressive mobility to reset the line of scrimmage at the point of attack and to climb to the second level to provide appropriate cutoffs from opposing linebackers. There should be little question what this team wants to do offensively in the run game -- beat up the opposition.
Phase Three (Defensive Front Seven)
- DT Anthony Johnson, LSU Tigers
Injuries have had a significant role in derailing Johnson's pro career to this point -- he's ended 3 separate seasons as a professional on the IR. Before arriving at LSU as a high school recruit, Johnson logged 67.5 sacks at the high school level -- a state record. Johnson came to the Tigers as a 5-star recruit and served one season as a full-time starter at LSU before leaving for the pros. Touting smooth body control and a heavy set of hands, Johnson should help continue the trend of physical play in the trenches for the Wildcats.
- DT Leon Orr, Florida Gators
Expect to see plenty of reps with Johnson lined up next to Orr on the defensive interior. Orr, at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, should serve as a true nose-tackle in the middle and help ensure no one is getting push up front against this defense. It's easy to appreciate the full vision for the Wildcats' team when seeing some of the pairings they've been able to assemble on Day One, especially the interior defensive line. The Wildcats are going to bully their opposition.