Key Points

  • The D.C. Defenders selected 12 players in the Super Dispersal Draft, including both new talents and familiar faces.
  • Notable picks include QB Jalan McClendon from Vegas Vipers and WR Chris Rowland from Philadelphia Stars.
  • The team fortified its defense and offense, adding depth to several key positions.

The D.C. Defenders, in preparation for the upcoming season, addressed key areas in the Super Dispersal Draft. Their strategy included selecting both former team members and new players, each bringing specific skills to the table. Notably, the draft decisions come amid uncertainty regarding QB Jordan Ta’amu’s status with the team. These moves are pivotal in shaping a competitive roster for the Defenders, considering the potential gap left by Ta’amu’s absence.

D.C. Defenders UFL Super Dispersal Draft Results

QB Jalan McClendon (Vegas)

Jalan McClendon, a former quarterback for the Vegas Vipers, was one of the key acquisitions for the D.C. Defenders in the UFL Super Dispersal Draft. McClendon displayed a promising performance in the 2023 XFL season with stats including 873 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, and only 1 interception. His rushing ability was notable as well, recording 137 yards on 30 attempts. Despite a challenging season finale where he completed just six of 21 passes, McClendon’s overall performance, especially in his first three starts, showcased his potential as a leading quarterback. His workout with the Buffalo Bills indicates his growing recognition in professional football circles​​​​​​.

WR Chris Rowland (Philadelphia)

Chris Rowland, a dynamic receiver from the Philadelphia Stars, was picked in the second round. Rowland, an HBCU standout, is expected to bring versatility to the Defenders’ receiving corps. Despite a limited last season due to injury, Rowland’s college achievements indicate significant potential.

DT T.J. Barnes (Arlington)

T.J. Barnes, a defensive tackle from the Arlington Renegades, joins the D.C. Defenders bringing substantial experience from the 2023 XFL season. Barnes concluded the season with 18 tackles and 2 sacks, playing a pivotal role in his team’s defense. His standout moment came during the XFL Championship Game, where his sack on the D.C. Defenders quarterback Jordan Ta’Amu was a key play.

Barnes, known for his substantial frame and veteran presence will be welcomed in the lockeroom. Despite calling it quits after the Championship game, it looks like he will give it one more try.

OT Chidi Okeke (San Antonio)

Chidi Okeke, formerly with the San Antonio Brahmas, brings his considerable offensive line experience to the D.C. Defenders. Okeke, standing at 6’6″ and weighing 315 pounds, played college football at Tennessee State University. He demonstrated his proficiency in pass protection and run blocking, making him an integral part of his team’s offensive line. In the 2023 XFL season, Okeke appeared in all 10 games, starting six of them. His journey from Nigeria to American football exemplifies his determination and resilience, qualities that will be valuable to the Defenders’ offensive strategy​​​​.

OL Adonis Boone (D.C.)

Adonis Boone, standing at 6-5 and weighing 307 lbs, with 33.7-inch arms, joins the D.C. Defenders, bringing significant physical attributes and versatility. During his three years at Louisville, Boone was a starter, accumulating over 1,000 snaps at both guard and tackle, and allowing only one sack in his final two collegiate seasons. After going undrafted in 2023 and spending time with the New Orleans Saints, Boone’s experience and ability to play multiple positions on the line make him a valuable asset for the Defenders’ offensive front.

RB/KR/WR Pooka Williams Jr. (D.C.)

Pooka Williams Jr., a multi-talented player known for his roles as a running back, kick returner, and wide receiver, joins the D.C. Defenders. Williams showcased his skills at the University of Kansas, where he accumulated 2,363 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, earning Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2018 and All-Big 12 honors in 2018 and 2019. In the 2023 XFL season, Williams demonstrated his agility and speed, contributing significantly to DC’s offensive strategy in the playoffs after a stint with the Arlington Renegades.

Williams was arrested in December putting his season potentially in doubt.

CB Nydair Rouse (D.C.)

Nydair Rouse, a defensive back formerly with the D.C. Defenders, showcased his skills in the 2023 season. Rouse, born on June 13, 1995, and hailing from Philadelphia, PA, stands at 5’11” and weighs 188 pounds. During the season, he achieved a total of 7.5 tackles, including 7 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle, along with 2 breakups and 1 fumble. He appeared in 8 games for the Defenders, demonstrating his capability in the defensive backfield​​.

WR C.J. Johnson (D.C.)

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C.J. Johnson, a wide receiver from East Carolina, continues with the D.C. Defenders despite not being on the initial protected list. In 2022, he delivered a standout season at ECU, achieving over 1,000 receiving yards on 67 catches with 10 touchdowns. Standing at 6-2 and 222 pounds, Johnson’s size and physicality make him a valuable asset for the Defenders, both as a blocker in the ground game and a key target in the red zone. Despite projections as a potential late-round NFL draft pick, Johnson went undrafted and had a stint with the Seattle Seahawks. With the Defenders losing main receivers Chris Blair and Lucky Jackson to the NFL, Johnson’s record-setting college performance, including a single-game high of 283 receiving yards and second-team All-AAC honors in 2022, positions him as a prime candidate to fill the void in the Defenders’ receiving corps.

DT Boogie Roberts (Pittsburgh)

Boogie Roberts, a defensive tackle from the Pittsburgh Maulers, had a spring football career spanning from 2020 to 2023, including his time with the Los Angeles Wildcats and Pittsburgh Maulers. Standing at 6’2″ and weighing 289 pounds, Roberts recorded 3.5 quarterback sacks in his career. In 2023, he was particularly impactful, recording 3 sacks for 24 yards. His defensive statistics for the season included 23 tackles, 18 solo, and 10 assisted tackles. Roberts has been recognized for his robust defense and effective run stopping, as well as his ability to pressure quarterbacks, making him a significant addition to any team’s defensive line​​​​.

LB Anthony Hines III (D.C.)

Anthony Hines III, a linebacker, was a significant contributor to the D.C. Defenders in the previous season. Coming from Texas A&M, he recorded 33 tackles, including three for a loss and one sack, playing a key role in the Defenders’ linebacker corps alongside Francis Bernard and Reggie Northrup. Hines was reacquired by the Defenders in the UFL Super Dispersal Draft, reinforcing their defensive unit for the upcoming season​​​​.

RB/WR Tabyus Taylor (D.C.)

Tabyus Taylor, claimed earlier in the offseason by the Defenders, was officially selected in the UFL Super Dispersal Draft. He had an impressive collegiate career, totaling 2,800 yards and 31 touchdowns on 509 carries at Virginia Union, before transferring to Notre Dame College for his final year. There, he notched 1,013 yards and 12 touchdowns in just five games during a COVID-shortened season. Taylor will compete during training camp for a spellback position behind Abram Smith, showcasing his versatility as both a running back and wide receiver​​.

Kicker/Punter Enrique Yenny (D.C.)

Enrique Yenny Romero joins the D.C. Defenders as a kicker/punter with a remarkable background in Mexican football. Known for his powerful leg, Romero has made field goals as long as 60 yards and punts as deep as 94 yards, both records in the LFA. A two-time LFA all-star and the 2022 LFA scoring leader, his addition to the Defenders adds depth and versatility to their special teams unit. Romero will compete alongside Matt McCrane and Paxton Brooks for the kicking duties, bringing a unique story and skill set to the team​​.

As the Defenders approach training camp, starting on February 24, their roster currently includes 65 players, leaving room for up to 10 additional signings. The team, along with others in the UFL, is expected to actively engage in the free agency market. This period will likely focus on players not selected in the dispersal process and those who did not participate in the USFL or XFL last year. With a February 14 deadline to finalize their 75-man training camp rosters, the Defenders and other UFL teams may target players who recently completed the NFL season on practice squads. Despite unresolved questions, particularly regarding the quarterback position, the Defenders’ roster shows marked improvements from the previous season, especially in their defensive lineup. These upcoming weeks will be crucial in shaping the team’s final roster for the season ahead.

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Mark Perry Editor
Mark Perry, a devoted sports journalist and founder of UFL News Hub, has been a key figure in XFL, USFL and UFL coverage since 2018.

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