Houston Roughnecks 2023 XFL Rookie Draft Breakdown | Arlington Renegades UFL

Analyzing The Arlington Renegades Protected Players & UFL Draft Picks

Bob Stoops and the Arlington Renegades are back in business, ready to defend their XFL Championship title in the UFL. On Friday, the team finalized their protected players for training camp, and then added some quality talent during the Dispersal Draft.

Arlington’s 2023 season was an interesting one. The team struggled through most of the year, but made a late run fueled by QB Luis Perez, who was acquired in a trade. Arlington snuck into the postseason with a 4-6 record, due to San Antonio and Orlando’s records being worse.

Once they got into the dance, the Arlington Renegades were unstoppable. However, despite their Championship run, there are some holes the team needed to fill this offseason. Let’s take a look at their dispersal draft picks, and the impact they will have in the UFL this year.

QB Lindsey Scott | Houston Roughnecks

Lindsey Scott has had a unique path to the spring football scene. He was first selected by the USFL’s Pittsburgh Maulers in their college draft back in February. Then, the Houston Roughnecks ended up claiming him this summer – and Scott signed a LOI to play with Houston.

Since the XFL’s Roughnecks folded, Scott became available in the dispersal draft. Now, the Incarnate Word star has landed with the Renegades.

Lindsey Scott holds an FCS record, tossing 60 touchdowns during his senior season in 2022. In addition, he posted 4,686 passing yards – adding over 700 yards on the ground and 11 rushing touchdowns as well.

While Luis Perez has the early edge to be the starter, Scott is a tremendous pickup – and the type of young prospect who could use spring football to jumpstart his professional career.

RB Devin Darrington | Orlando Guardians

Darrington is an excellent addition to the Renegades backfield. Devin played with Orlando in 2023, posting 294 rushing yards and four touchdowns, averaging 4.4 YPC.

Darrington is an explosive back, putting that on full display throughout the XFL season. He finished as the 3rd highest graded player on Orlando’s roster according to PFF, with a 75.8 overall grade. Expect the Arlington Renegades to lean into his abilities in 2024.

RB Morgan Ellison | Seattle Sea Dragons

Morgan Ellison proved to be one of the most underrated running backs in the XFL this past season. He only played in five games with Seattle (dealing with injuries, plus some interesting decisions by coaching staff) – but made the most of his minutes.

Ellison finished the season with the fourth highest PFF grade on the team, at 74.9. He finished the year with 254 rushing yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.9 YPC. His downhill running style is something that will fit perfectly into Jonathan Hayes’ offensive scheme alongside De’Veon Smith.

WR Deontay Burnett | Houston Roughnecks

Deontay Burnett was a weapon in AJ Smith’s offense in Houston this past season. He racked up 378 receiving yards and six touchdowns on the year (2nd in XFL), making plays despite the instability at the quarterback position at times.

One of Burnett’s highlights came in week four, against Orlando. Houston pulled off the first successful double forward pass of the season, as Burnett hauled it in for the score. Deontay joins an already talented WR room in Arlington, but would be expected to make the final roster if all goes well in training camp.

TE Seth Green | Houston Roughnecks

While Seth Green is listed as a WR by the XFL, he’s typically played Tight End throughout his career. Green was a LOI signing for Houston this offseason, and now gets picked up by Arlington. The Renegades currently do not hold any tight ends (as Sal Cannella has yet to return) – so for now, Green is likely to take that spot.

Seth wrapped up his college career at Houston, totaling 137 receiving yards and three touchdowns in his senior season. This led to a couple of NFL stints with the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys.

Offensive Line

OT Adrian Ealy (Sea Dragons): Ealy was a LOI signing for Seattle from earlier in 2023. Adrian played his college ball at Oklahoma, starting in his final 23 games there. Has had NFL stints with Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles (Rams).

OG Marcus Minor (Roughnecks): Marcus Minor was another LOI signing, from Houston. He was selected in the XFL rookie draft as well. Marcus began his college career at Maryland, before transferring to Pittsburgh for his final two seasons. He earned First Team All-ACC honors in 2022.

C Chris Owens (Sea Dragons): Chris Owens is an excellent pickup for the offensive line. He started for the Seattle Sea Dragons in all ten games, earning a 65.4 pass blocking grade according to PFF.

DT LaRon Stokes | Vegas Vipers

LaRon Stokes was picked up in the first round by the Arlington Renegades, and for good reason. Stokes was part of a fierce Vegas defense, where he racked up 32 tackles, 9 TFL (1st for Vegas), and two sacks as a starter.

Stokes is familiar with Bob Stoops and his system, as the two spent time together at Oklahoma prior. With T.J. Barnes potentially landing on another team, Stokes helps provide depth to the defensive line.

DT Roderick Perry | Houston Roughnecks

Perry signed a letter of intent with the Roughnecks following the season, as a new addition to the XFL. He played his final two seasons of college ball at Illinois, posting 43 tackles and four sacks across that span.

Most recently, he spent time with the Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks. Perry saw action in two NFL games with Cleveland, tallying two tackles.

LB Vic Beasley | Vegas Vipers

An under-the-radar pickup for Arlington is Vic Beasley, who made his return to pro football in the XFL with Vegas. The former All-Pro linebacker (2016, Atlanta Falcons) made an impact for Vegas in 2023. He finished the season with 15 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and two recovered fumbles.

Beasley played 275 snaps with the Vipers in 2023, finishing with a 66.4 defensive grade according to PFF (70.0 as a pass rusher). With the depth Arlington has defensively, it will be interesting to see what type of role Vic plays in 2024, barring that he stays on the roster through training camp.

DB Ajene Harris | Houston Roughnecks

Ajene Harris is one of spring football’s top corners. He led the XFL with five interceptions during the 2023 season, starting in all nine games he played in. Harris was tremendous across the board, finishing with a defensive grade of 78.6 according to PFF.

The Renegades have some questions when it comes to their secondary. The team did not protect Joe Powell, Will Hill, De’Vante Bausby, or Josh Hawkins. While one would expect Arlington to target those names in the super draft, odds are they won’t all make it back. With that in mind, Harris should play a big role for Arlington in 2024.

DB Christian Morgan | Houston Roughnecks

Morgan was a letter of intent signing for the Roughnecks, and now joins the Arlington Renegades. Similar to Ajene Harris, with the lack of starters retained for Arlington from their secondary, Christian will have an opportunity to make a name for himself in training camp.

Morgan played his college ball at Baylor, posting 162 tackles, two sacks, and seven interceptions across career there. Christian had a workout with the Green Bay Packers this past summer.

Protected Players

QB Holton Ahlers: Ahlers recently signed a LOI with the Arlington Renegades, out of ECU. He had a tremendous college career there, and most recently had a preseason stint with the Seattle Seahawks.

QB Luis Perez: The spring football legend needs no introduction. Luis Perez was a late addition who helped rally Arlington to their Championship victory. A no brainer to be protected.

RB Leddie Brown: Leddie Brown made an impact on the ground (179 yards) and through the air (104 yards). Had an exceptional performance in the XFL Championship game.

RB Dae Dae Hunter: Dae Dae Hunter was an offseason addition from Liberty. Hunter is an explosive back who rushed for 854 yards and eight touchdowns during his senior season.

RB De’Veon Smith: De’Veon Smith was a redzone scoring machine this year for Arlington, posting seven touchdowns. He averaged 3.2YPC and rushed for 365 yards. If Smith can get paired up with a shiftier back like Dae Dae, expect his production to be even better in 2024.

WR Caleb Vander-Esch: Vander-Esch made an impact when utilized, posting 170 receiving yards and a touchdown. Finished the season with a 65.0 offensive grade (PFF).

WR Charles Hall: Hall averaged a whopping 25 yards per reception during his time at Virginia Union University. Has had some NFL stints, most recently with the Miami Dolphins – and was part of the XFL rookie draft in June.

WR Javonta Payton: Javonta Payton came over in a trade from Orlando, bringing depth to the WR room. He exploded in the Division Championship against Houston, sparking their big-time upset against the Roughnecks.

WR Lujuan Winningham: Lujuan Winningham is responsible for a couple of the most electrifying plays this past XFL season. Not only is he an outstanding wide receiver, but he also provides quality special teams play (i.e. week two vs. Houston).

WR Tyler Vaughns: Vaughns was quietly an excellent receiver for Arlington in 2023. He posted 302 receiving yards, a touchdown, and finished with a 74.1 offensive grade according to PFF.

OG Cameron Hunt: Cameron Hunt won the 2022 USFL Championship with the Birmingham Stallions, and then won the 2023 XFL Championship with the Arlington Renegades. It’s only fitting that he wins the 2024 UFL Championship…if all goes according to plan.

OG Jake Stetz: Stetz dealt with some injuries in 2023, but started in six games for Arlington. Brings depth and experience back to the team.

OT Garrett McGhin: The All-USFL lineman returns to Arlington. Garrett was with the New Jersey Generals in 2022, and then spent the 2023 XFL season with the Renegades.

OT Teton Saltes: Saltes was a member of the Michigan Panthers in 2022. He joined Arlington for the 2023 season, but only played in one game (injury related).

OL Bobby Evans: Bobby Evans was a LOI signing. Evans won the Super Bowl with the LA Rams in 2022, bringing championship pedigree to the Renegades.

OL Dru Samia: Samia also has NFL experience, playing with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets. Samia started in fourteen games during his senior season at Oklahoma.

OL Jake Lacina: Jake Lacina is an outstanding pickup, having played for the New Jersey Generals in the USFL the past two seasons. Lacina was All-USFL in 2023. He recently signed a LOI with Arlington as well.

DT Bunmi Rotimi: Rotimi played in seven regular season games, posting 13 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 3 TFL. Finished with an above average defensive grade of 72.9, per PFF.

DT Will Clarke: Clarke had a solid season when utilized, finishing with 11 tackles, 4 sacks, and 6 TFL. Clarke is an XFL veteran, having played for the St. Louis Battlehawks in 2020.

DL Jalen Redmond: Redmond impressed at the NFL combine with a 4.85 40 yard dash. He signed an LOI with Arlington a couple of months ago, tallying 23 tackles and four sacks during his senior season at Oklahoma.

DT Davonte Lambert: Lambert is a depth piece for Arlington on the line. He played in a few games this past season, totaling 6 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 TFL.

DT Tomasi Laulile: Laulile returns to Arlington, following an NFL stint with the 49ers. Tomasi was one of the highest PFF graded Renegades in 2023, and is expected to have another big role in 2024. He scored the first touchdown of the season for Arlington with his pick six in week one.

LB Christian Sam: Christian Sam makes his return to spring football. He played with the Tampa Bay Bandits & New Orleans Breakers in the USFL, and had an NFL opportunity with the Dallas Cowboys following the season in 2022.

LB Colin Schooler: Schooler was an underrated playmaker for Arlington this season. He started in five of ten games, racking up 47 tackles, two sacks, one INT, and six TFL. Schooler wrapped up the year with a 75.8 defensive grade, according to PFF.

LB Edmond Robinson: Robinson is a spring football vet, having played in the AAF, and the XFL back in 2020. Edmond will remain on Bob Stoops’ roster after tallying 7 tackles in 2023.

LB Noah Taylor: Taylor signed a LOI with Arlington late in December. He racked up 198 tackles and 17 sacks during his career at Virginia and North Carolina, and now looks to kickstart is pro career in the UFL.

LB Storey Jackson: Jackson lands in the UFL after a couple of NFL stints in Cleveland and Dallas. Storey tallied 102 tackles, seven sacks, and two interceptions during his senior season at Liberty.

LB Tuzar Skipper: Skipper was acquired in an offseason trade with Seattle. He brings quite a bit to the table defensively as an edge rusher, and was one of the Sea Dragons top playmakers in 2023 (87.4 defensive PFF grade).

LB Donald Payne: Donald Payne struggled with injuries in 2023, but we all know what he is capable of. Payne had a few outstanding performances for Arlington during their Championship run. He also led the USFL with 118 tackles in 2022.

LB Willie Taylor: Taylor played in all ten regular season games for Arlington, finishing with 16 tackles, four sacks, and eight TFL. Made a couple of clutch plays throughout the year, and spent time with the Jaguars in the offseason.

DB Brandon Rusnak: Rusnak is best known for his remarkable interception during the Championship. He saw limited playing time throughout the year, but came up big when the team needed it most.

DB Cam Brown: Brown is an offseason LOI addition, after a preseason opportunity with the Los Angeles Chargers. Cameron played his college football at Ohio State.

DB Darren Evans: Darren Evans returns to the Arlington Renegades, following an NFL stint with the New York Giants. Evans was a starter for the majority of the season with Arlington in 2023.

DB Delonte Hood: An intriguing new addition is Delonte Hood, who signed a LOI last month. Delonte has some NFL experience, and will now look to use the UFL to develop his skill sets.

DB Jamal Carter: Carter only played in a few games for Arlington this season, but made an impact with 17 tackles and a TFL. He finished with a 78.0 defensive grade according to PFF. Solid retention who should see more playing time in 2024.

DB Jamar Summers: Summers played with the Vegas Vipers in 2023, and was acquired via trade during the offseason. Jamar was the 5th highest PFF graded player on the Vipers team, at 71.8.

DB Jared Mayden: Mayden is an intriguing prospect out of Alabama, who signed a LOI late in December. With the lack of strength in the secondary given the amount of unprotected starters, Mayden could play an important role in 2024.

DB Jordan Miller: Miller played in a few games for the Arlington Renegades this past season, tallying four tackles.

DB Steven Jones: Jones is another new addition, who signed a LOI in late December as well. He’s fresh off an NFL stint with the Tennessee Titans, and now looks to kickstart his professional career in Arlington.

K Taylor Russolino: Not surprisingly, the Arlington Renegades protected one of the top kickers in all of spring football. Russolino put his name on the map in 2020, knocking through a 58 yarder with the St. Louis Battlehawks. He was excellent for Arlington this year, and is one of those guys who is more than deserving of an NFL opportunity.

P Marquette King: Marquette King is a fan favorite, and will stick around in Arlington for 2024. King was a solid punter in 2023, as expected, and retains his role heading into training camp.

LS Antonio Ortiz: You can’t have a solid special teams unit without a long snapper who provides consistency and stability. Antonio Ortiz does both of those things well, and it’s why we’re seeing him return to the Arlington Renegades in 2024.

Unprotected Players

The Arlington Renegades unprotected a large group of players:

QB Kelly Bryant
QB Kevin Anderson
QB Connor Degenhardt
QB Connor Blumrick
RB Brian Herrien
WR Brandon Arconado
WR Juwan Maingo
WR Rannell Hall
WR Todd Simmons Jr.
TE Shaun Beyer
TE Nate Becker
TE Tyler Roberts
T Willie Beavers
G Mike Horton
DL TJ Barnes
DL Josiah Coatney
DL Ami Finau
EDGE Aaron Adeoye
EDGE Ryan Mueller
EDGE Merlin Robertson
LB Otaro Alaka
LB Isaiah Graham-Mobley
CB De’Vante Bausby
CB Josh Hawkins
CB Shakur Brown
CB Javaris Davis
CB Nasir Greer
S Joe Powell
S Will Hill
S Cre’Von LeBlanc

All of these athletes are now available to be picked up by the other seven teams on January 15th. It will be interesting to watch if Arlington looks to retain some of these players during the super draft. Some of their key defensive starters are on this list. Also, T.J. Barnes led the team with the highest PFF grade of the year on the team.

We’ll have to wait and see as to what GM Rick Mueller’s plans are for this super draft on the 15th. Until then, fans can continue to speculate on which prospects the team should bring back – or, pick up from other teams.

What are your thoughts on the Arlington Renegades dispersal draft additions? Which UFL players should they target next? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!