New York Guardians 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 New York Guardians fans, here are a few players from each of today's phases that should be in a great position to succeed under head coach Kevin Gilbride and defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann.
Phase Four (Defensive Backs)
- CB Jamar Summers, Connecticut Huskies
Summers has had quite an interesting journey thus far in his football career -- and if his track record is any indication, he's in for a big year in the XFL. Summers exploded as a sophomore in 2015 with 8 interceptions for the Huskies, becoming a popular name and being considered one of the best defensive backs in the American Athletic Conference. In his final two years at UConn, Summers didn't quite meet those lofty expectations despite some explosive testing numbers, only to sign with the Birmingham Iron in the fall of 2018. Summers' ball skills were on full display during his time in the now defunct AAF league and he figures to be a difference maker in the XFL for the Guardians and coach Jim Herrmann.
- CB Lorenzo Doss, Tulane Green Wave
Doss, like Summers, earned quite the reputation for his skills as a ball-hawk during his time with Tulane from 2012 to 2014 -- he logged 15 interceptions, 17 passes defensed and 2 defensive touchdowns over those three years. Doss is compact and quick-footed, his short area quickness allows him the opportunity to jump routes in front of his face and cut off the football when looking to challenge the ball in coverage. Doss is undersized, but that doesn't impact his aggressiveness to attack the ball either -- this is a play who plays above his weight class when looking to win positioning in coverage. He and Summers pair to give New York two accomplished ball hawks in the secondary.
Phase Five (Open Draft)
- WR Quadree Henderson, Pittsburgh Panthers
If you're looking for a dynamic player, Quadree Henderson is just what the doctor ordered. Henderson served as one of the country's best return specialists in all of football from 2015 to 2017 with the Panthers -- Henderson averaged 26.6 yards per return over 73 returns for his career and 13.4 yards per punt return over 37 punts. Oh -- and Henderson notched 7 return touchdowns along the way, thanks to his lightning fast quickness in short spaces and his sudden acceleration to blow would-be tacklers out of the water in the open field. New York landed themselves a game changer in the third and final phase of the game -- special teams.
- RB Matthew Colburn, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Colburn hasn't found his ceiling as a runner yet -- but steady improvement marked his career with Wake Forest over the last several years. By the time Colburn finished his playing career at Wake Forest last fall, he was considered a twitchy playmaker who has the open field vision and quickness to shed would-be tacklers in one on one situations. That seems to be a theme for the Guardians in their open draft additions -- getting high upside athletes who are still becoming the best versions of themselves. Between Henderson and Colburn, New York has two players who know how to make you miss and can put defenders on their heels one on one.
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 New York Guardians 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 Kevin Gilbride and defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann.
Phase One (Skill Players)
- WR Tanner Gentry, Wyoming Cowboys
One of the more smooth receivers you'll find on any XFL roster, Gentry is a heck of a route runner and offers some impressive toughness to boot. Gentry impressed with his pre-draft pro-day workout back in 2017, running a 4.46s 40-yard dash and leaping 38" in the vertical -- he should provide Coach Gilbride and quarterback Matt McGloin with a pass target who is capable of winning either on the outside or from the slot. Consider Gentry an all-around target who should challenge XFL defenders to all levels of the field.
- TE EJ Bibbs, Iowa State Cyclones
Bibbs won't wow anyone with his prior athletic testing, but that's okay -- he's a versatile piece who played two years at Iowa State after transferring in as a JUCO player and simply commanded a lot of targets in the underneath areas of the field. Consider Bibbs primarily as a pass catcher, he's got soft hands and knows how to find soft spaces in the underneath portions of the field. The icing on the cake? He was a touchdown machine at Iowa State -- scoring 10 times in 84 receptions with the Cyclones in 2013 and 2014 combined.
Phase Two (Offensive Line)
- OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama Crimson Tide and OG Arie Kouandjio, Alabama Crimson Tide
It's only right that these two end up together! The Kouandjio brothers were highly coveted HS recruits -- Cyrus was a five-star prospect and Arie was a four-star prospect. At Alabama, the two played together for three seasons starting in 2011 when Arie was a redshirt freshman and Cyrus was a true freshman. The Kouandjio brothers are loaded with power, both provide a heavy set of hands and the ability to stonewall rushers at the line of scrimmage. Their strength lies in their ability to fire off the ball in the run game, where they can attack and envelope defensive linemen at the point of attack. If the Guardians need a tough yard, look for them to fall in line behind these two.
Phase Three (Defensive Front Seven)
- LB Ben Heeney, Kansas Jayhawks
Heeney comes to New York as an impressive athlete -- he touted top level athleticism at several athletic measures when transitioning to the pros, including a 4.00s short shuttle, a 10-foot broad jump and a 6.68s 3-cone drill. Those measures have the makings of a defender who can play effectively in space in the XFL, which is an essential must for any modern linebacker in football. Heeney is at his best when he's able to freely pursue the football -- he should be a valuable defender for the Guardians as a three-down player.
- LB Nick DeLuca, North Dakota State Bison
Consider DeLuca the thunder to Heeney's lightning. DeLuca is a small school product who checks in right around 250 pounds, he's got plenty of physical potential. DeLuca was most recently seen in Miami this preseason, where he was afforded a chance to play to the strength of the offensive formation. In doing so, DeLuca showed promise -- if tasked with similar responsibilities he can serve as a strong compliment to Heeney's presence by taking on a lot of the dirty work so that Heeney doesn't have to.