St. Louis Battlehawks Select Jahcour Pearson in UFL Dispersal Draft

Projecting The St. Louis Battlehawks 50 Man UFL Roster

This has been one of the wildest off seasons in spring football history which is saying a lot with the rollercoaster that is being a modern spring football fan. The St. Louis Battlehawks have been in the thick of it, but have made it out on the other side almost fully intact. That’s all behind us now and with the merger, dispersal and super drafts finished and rosters set for training camp, I felt it was a good time to look at each team’s 75 man roster and try to predict who will be on the 50 man roster by the end of camp.

Keep in mind that this is just an exercise to see where these teams shape up and this is just my opinion. Today, we’ll look at a St. Louis Battlehawks team that had an incredible 2023 season that was cut short due to being a division with Seattle and DC and has done a solid job getting the band back together plus a few stars. Let’s look at how they will shape up in 2024.

Quarterbacks

Staying: AJ McCarron, Brandon Silvers, Manny Wilkins

Cuts: None

One of the biggest questions of the offseason was how AJ McCarron would handle the UFL season. His decision is one that could show the viability of the league as he requested a release from the Bengals to re-join the Battlehawks. Returning with McCarron is Manny Wilkins who was a 3rd string QB for most of the 2023 season. The last spot is a new face as the backup in 2023, Nick Tiano was released and St. Louis replaced him with the starting QB from the Roughnecks last season in Brandon Silvers who would seem to be the 2nd string QB behind McCarron. No decisions needed in this group as this is one of the most set groups in the UFL this season.

Skill Positions

Staying:
RB Mateo Durant, Wayne Gallman, Jacob Saylors
WR Marcell Ateman, Jamarcus Bradley, Darrius Shepherd
Slot Hakeem Butler, Blake Jackson, Jahcour Pearson
TE Kemore Gamble, Jake Sutherland

Cuts:
RB Kevon Latulas
WR James Bostic, Jerome Kapp, Jeff Thomas
Slot Steven Mitchell Jr
TE Kemari Averett

The St. Louis Battlehawks had a successful core of weapons headlined by 4 receivers that spent time in the NFL in 2023. They got 3 of them back in Ateman, Shepherd, and Butler but that’s not where it ends with 2 receivers coming from Seattle in All-XFL WR Jahcour Pearson and Blake Jackson and their 2nd round pick from the original XFL Skill Position Draft in Jamarcus Bradley finally joining the roster. Then at running back they are moving on after their RB1 Brian Hill didn’t re-sign so they replaced him with NFL vet Wayne Gallman and rookie Jacob Saylers. Mateao Durant is also back to be a part of the room. They also stick with 2 tight ends in returning Jake Sutherland and rookie draft pick Kemore Gamble. That leaves Steven Mitchell Jr. cut after he spent 2023 as a reserve Receiver in St. Louis and Jerome Kapp also out who was the last person I cut from the Battlehawks.

Offensive Line

Staying:
T Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Sage Doxtater, Jaryd Jones-Smith
G Vadal Alexander, Steven Gonzalez, Jack Snyder
C Mike Panasiuk, Dohnovan West

Cuts:
T Abdul Beecham, Eric Magwood, Jazston Turnetine
G Christian Olmstead, Koda Martin
C Dallas Warmack

St. Louis was able to bring back all of their starting offensive lineman and still added some game changers to their room. They added 3 more offensive lineman that were starting in the XFL last season in Jack Snyder, Dohnovan West, and Sage Doxtater who all will be competing for starting roles for the 2024 season. That leaves some great talent on the table like Abdul Beecham and Eric Magwood.

Defensive Line

Staying: Freedom Akinmoladun, Kevin Atkins, Austin Faoliu, Antwaun Jackson, Kobe Smith

Cuts: Mandy Alonso, TJ Pesefea, McKinley Williams

The St. Louis Battlehawks had one of the more successful XFL to NFL players in LaCale London who is now a rotational player for the Falcons. To replace him they have 4 players that were in the XFL then NFL last year in Atkins, Faoliu, Jackson, and Smith who all weren’t able to stick in the NFL. They also being back Freedom Akinmoladun who is a spring football vet with seasons with St. Louis and Philadelphia. That leaves a trio of new players getting cut in Alonso, Pesefea, and Williams who would all be intriguing if they were able to beat out anyone on this stacked defensive line.

Edge Rushers

Staying: John Daka, Emeke Egbule, Travis Feeney, Elorm Lumor, Pita Taumeopenu, Carson Wells

Cuts: Chris Garrett, Jadrian Taylor

Edge wasn’t much of a strength for the Battlehawks. That’ll change in 2024 as they added XFL Defensive Player of the Year Pita Taumoepenu to the group. On top of that they got NFL vets Emeke Egbule and rotational Edge from Houston John Daka. They join Feeney, Lumor, and Wells who all were solid players for the Hawks last season. Cutting former 7th round pick Chris Garrett was one of the harder calls to make for St. Louis.

Linebackers

Staying: Johnny Buchanan, Marcus Cushnie, Willie Harvey Jr, Mike Rose, Lakiem Williams

Cuts: Callahan O’Reily

The Battlehawks seem content to run it back at linebacker for 2024. They are bringing back Williams, Rose, and Harvey Jr from the team last season. The final 2 spots went to Johnny Buchanan who was a rookie draft pick by St. Louis and Marcus Cushnie who was a UDFA pickup both last June. The only other thing I want to mention is Callahan O’Reily might be the most Irish name I’ve ever heard.

Secondary

Staying:
CB Lavert Hill, Keylon Kennedy, Chris Payton-Jones, Brandon Sebastian, Mykael Wright
S Dravon Askew-Henry, Nico Bolden, Qwynnterrio Cole, Ben Deluca, Kameron Kelly

Cuts:
CB Montrae Braswell, Prince Charles Iworah, Tim Harris, Anthony Witherstone
S Anthony Cioffi

The Battlehawks attacked their secondary in the dispersal draft process. They added Payton-Jones and Kennedy who were both the best corner on their XFL team last season on top of other additions like spring vet Dravon Askew-Henry, Qwynnterrio Cole, Kameron Kelly, and Mykael Wright. They are also bringing back Brandon Stebastian, Ben Deluca, and All-XFL slot corner Lavert Hill. For the final spot I picked rookie draft pick Nico Bolden over some vets in Anthony Cioffi and Prince Charles Iworah.

Specialists

Staying: K Andre Szmyt, P Sterling Hofrichter, LS Alex Matheson
Cuts: K Andrew Mevis

The Battlehawks are running it back with Sterling Hofrichter and Alex Matheson who both played well for them last season. They decided it was time to move on from Donny Hageman and they brought in two younger kickers to compete for that spot. It’s tough to guess who will win that spot, so I pick Andre Sznyt because St. Louis likes their Syracuse players but flip a coin.

Final Thoughts

The biggest question about this roster is the quarterback position. Now, it remains to be seen if they can compete with teams like DC who have had their number in the past. Will they continue to live in their shadow? Either way they still have a great roster that led to hard cuts like Steven Mitchell Jr, Jerome Kapp, Chris Garrett, and Anthony Cioffi but we’ll see if it can all come together in a little over a month from now when the season starts.

What are your thoughts on the St. Louis Battlehawks roster heading into UFL training camp? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!