The XFL season is just weeks away. In addition to running practices, New York Guardians GM/Head Coach Kevin Gilbride has been busy making deals.
Professional football doesn’t end with Super Bowl LIV on February 2. One week later the XFL makes its debut. The New York Guardians are one of the early favorites, but that hasn’t stopped Head Coach and General Manager Kevin Gilbride from making trades to upgrade the roster. As a matter of fact, he’s made four in the last week alone.
New York Guardians acquire WR Joe Horn Jr. from Houston for WR Taivon Jacobs
Football fans are familiar with the name Joe Horn, he was a 12-year NFL veteran who made four Pro-Bowl appearances. Horn’s son followed his path attending a Junior College in Mississippi. The younger receiver went to Northeast Mississippi Community College before transferring to NCAA Division 2 Missouri Western State. As a junior at MWSU in 2018, he caught 11 passes for 195 yards.
Horn Jr. learned the art of route-running from his dad who was a volunteer assistant coach at Northeast Mississippi. His talents landed him a training camp invite from the Baltimore Ravens last summer. He didn’t stick but made enough of an impression to get drafted by the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks. The 25-year-old is 5-10 with a huge 73+ inch wingspan and has been clocked at 4.52 I the 40-yard draft.
New York Guardians acquire G’s Dejon Allen and Avery Young from St. Louis for OT Brian Wallace and CB David Rivers
The Guardians suffered a big roster hit before camp opened. Offensive guard Cyrus Couandjio, New York’s second-round pick in the lineman phase of the draft, failed his physical. The veteran of 30 NFL games was considered to be a cornerstone of the O-Line and the team has been scrambling to fill the void ever since.
Allen is an undersized offensive lineman at 6-3, 290 pounds, but is extremely athletic and strong. The former University of Hawaii standout is technically sound and plays a steady game. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chicago Bears in 2018 and spent the season on the practice squad. He signed with Green Bay last year but didn’t appear in any games.
Lookup journeyman in the dictionary and there will be a picture of Avery Young. The Auburn Alum was with four different NFL teams between 2016-18. He’s a big man at 6-5 and nearly 330 pounds. Unfortunately, Young has battled various injuries since he was a sophomore in college which has slowed his development.
New York Guardians acquire QB Luis Perez from Los Angeles for QB Charles Kanoff
This one came as a bit of a surprise. Los Angeles selected Perez in the quarterback allocation phase before the XFL draft even began. When the Wildcats signed Joe Johnson as a free agent, Perez became expendable. Gilbride most likely acquired the signal-caller to back up starter Matt McGloin.
He was a former NCAA Division 2 National Champion at Texas A&M-Commerce and the 2017 Harlon Hill Trophy winner as the D2 Player of the Year. In his two years as a starter at TAMC, Perez threw for 8,327 yards with 78 touchdown passes against just 16 picks.
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Perez has decent size and accuracy but lacks NFL arm strength. His smarts and skills earned him a shot with the Rams and he played in a 2018 preseason game. After his release from Los Angeles, Perez went to the Alliance of American football where he was the starter in Birmingham.
In a three-team trade, New York Guardians acquire G Damien Mama from Los Angeles and sent S Shamarko Thomas to DC
Another move to strengthen the Guardians offensive line. Mama was a High School All-American and a Second Team All-Pac-12 selection as a senior at USC. A literal mountain at over 340 pounds (down from a reported 400), Mama is very strong. His mobility has improved with his weight-loss. Even so, he struggled with consistency in the past. Our cousins at “With the First Pick” had a great write up of Mama before the 2017 draft.
Since leaving the Trojans, Mama kicked around a few NFL training camps. Last year, he was a starter for San Diego of the AAF.