XFL draft day: QB Jordan Ta’amu headlines BattleHawks’ initial roster

Jordan Ta'amu passed for 3,918 yards at Ole Miss last season.
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The St. Louis BattleHawks are finally starting to look like a team.

The BattleHawks, one of eight original franchises in the second iteration of the XFL, had only a name, logo, home field, head coach and front office staff before Tuesday. But thanks to the first XFL draft, which began Tuesday, they now have players, too.

Their first player actually was assigned rather than drafted. The league office allocated one quarterback to each franchise before the draft. St. Louis’ is Jordan Ta’amu, who went undrafted by the NFL after passing for 3,918 yards at Ole Miss last season.

The two-day draft, which will wind up stocking each XFL roster with 71 players, opened with all teams selecting 10 skill position players. Among St. Louis’ picks were a pair of former Mizzou wide receivers, L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas.

BattleHawks picks in the skill position phase (listed in order of selection): RB Christine Michael, Texas A&M; QB Brogan Roback, Eastern Michigan; WR De’Mornay Pierson-El, Nebraska; WR L’Damian Washington, Missouri; TE Wes Saxton, South Alabama; WR Marcus Lucas, Missouri; RB Matt Jones, Florida; WR Ishmael Hyman, James Madison; WR Alonzo Russell, Toledo; WR Jordan Lasley, UCLA.

The draft continued with each team selecting 10 offensive linemen. The Battlehawks made UAB tackle Matt McCants their top pick.

BattleHawks picks in the offensive line phase: T Matt McCants, UAB; G Brian Folkerts, Washburn; G Dallas Thomas, Tennessee; T Kent Perkins, Texas; G Jake Campos, Iowa State; C  Tyler Gauthier, Miami; G Blake Muir, Baylor; C James Murray, Holy Cross; G Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Michigan; G Dejon Allen, Hawaii.

The third phase was for the defensive front seven, again 10 picks per team.

BattleHawks picks in the front seven phase: DT Casey Sayles, Ohio; LB Terence Garvin, West Virginia; DE Andrew Ankrah, DE, James Madison; DE Jamell Garcia-Williams, UAB; DT Channing Ward, Ole Miss; DT Khyri Thornton, Southern Miss; DE Gimel President, Illinois; DT Marcus Hardison, Arizona State; LB Nicholas Grigsby, Pitt; DE Corbin Kaufisi, BYU.

“I think we hit it out of the park,” head coach Jonathan Hayes said of the team’s Day 1 draft. “We got a lot of outstanding players that can play multiple positions. Size and physicality is something we targeted, and we definitely got that in our front seven.”

The draft will continue Wednesday with the defensive back phase (10 picks) and an open phase in which teams can select 30 players at any position.

COACHING STAFF

The club revealed Hayes’ staff Monday. Jay Hayes — the head coach’s brother — is the defensive coordinator, while Doug Meacham will coordinate the offense.

A name that will warm the hearts of St. Louisans who loved the St. Louis Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf: Az-Zahir Hakim, the star wide receiver who will coach BattleHawks receivers.

The full staff:

Offense: Doug Meacham, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach; Brian Braswell, offensive line coach; Chuck Long, running backs coach; Az-Zahir Hakim, receivers coach; Nick Siciliano, quality control/tight ends coach; Grant Williams, assistant offensive line coach.

Defense: Jay Hayes, defensive coordinator/defensive line coach; Matt Raich, co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach; Tim Lewis, defensive backs coach; Chris Crocker, quality control/assistant defensive backs coach.