• RBs Rod Smith and Brian Hill debut at the top: Both boast 70.0-plus grades this season.
• TE Cody Latimer keeps putting on a show: The XFL's leader in contested catches enjoyed his best outing yet in Week 5, totaling 124 yards and a score on eight catches.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Week 6 of the XFL is here, with the Seattle Sea Dragons and Orlando Guardians set to open the slate on Saturday. Here are PFF's highest-graded players through five weeks of action.
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Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
- Offense: OG Mike Horton (68.6)
- Defense: DI T.J. Barnes (89.8)
While Horton was lauded as the XFL's top run-blocking guard through four weeks, he faltered in that facet this past week. Instead, it was his pass blocking that shined amid a tough offensive outing for the Renegades. His 87.0 pass-blocking grade for the game tied for the week's highest mark among guards.
Barnes, like Horton, continues his reign atop the leaderboard for the Renegades. He has earned a negative grade on just 4.5% of his run-defense snaps (fourth best) while producing a positive grade on 27.3% of those snaps (fifth best).
T.J. Barnes was feelin' it after his sack ????@XFL2023 | @XFLRenegades pic.twitter.com/RoSTsCpM8a
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 20, 2023
- Offense: QB D'Eriq King (88.2)
- Defense: EDGE Andre Mintze (75.1)
King barely qualifies for the season-long snap-count threshold after playing just six snaps in D.C.'s Week 5 win. But, at this point, he could play one snap and still score. He has now found the end zone — whether through the air or on the ground — in all five weeks. He did earn his first poor grade of the season in Week 5 due to the small sample size and an interception on a two-point try.
Mintze debuts atop the defensive leaderboard for the Defenders after racking up five quarterback pressures — including two sacks — against St. Louis. His 11 pressures on the season are a top-10 mark among XFL edge defenders.
D'Eriq King : 0/1 passing; 2 carries for 9 yards & a TD (5th rushing TD this season) pic.twitter.com/0ngoJ842xA
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) March 19, 2023
- Offense: RB Max Borghi (79.9)
- Defense: LB Tavante Beckett (91.1)
Borghi returned in Week 5 after sitting out the prior contest due to injury. It was a largely unproductive rushing outing on just six attempts, with the former Washington State standout generating 12 yards and a score on six carries. He made his mark through the air, though, catching all five targets sent his way for 21 yards and forcing a season-high three missed tackles.
John Daka‘s quieter day against the Sea Dragons opened the door for Beckett, who has graded well all season, to claim the top spot. Beckett is the XFL's highest-graded linebacker after earning his third 80.0 game grade of the season this past week. He has missed only two tackles and ranks in the top 10 at the position in stops (11), which are tackles that lead to an offensive failure.
.@max_borghi punches it in for 6!@XFLRoughnecks | #XFL2023 pic.twitter.com/MUUSkTWVuL
— XFL (@XFL2023) March 17, 2023
Las Vegas Vipers
- Offense: RB Rod Smith (71.6)
- Defense: EDGE Pita Taumoepenu (76.2)
A new crop of running backs is beginning to emerge at the top of the XFL leaderboard, with Smith among them. He posted a season-high 81.2 grade in Week 5, forcing two missed tackles and finding the end zone twice on 18 carries.
Taumoepenu, a former sixth-round pick of the Denver Broncos, recorded three sacks in Week 5 and beat his blocker on another two reps. Missed tackles (seven) continue to plague him, as does a poor showing in run defense (42.0 grade), but he sure does get after it as a pass rusher. His 91.7 pass-rushing grade is the second-highest mark among all XFL defenders.
Cross Chop/Club by @PitaTaumoepenu of the @XFLVipers. Have a pass rush plan! #passrush #XFL2023 pic.twitter.com/KJETSXglXx
— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) March 20, 2023
- Offense: TE Cody Latimer (84.2)
- Defense: LB Terrance Plummer (89.9)
Latimer is the only player who has been featured for his team in all five iterations of this article. And Week 5 was his best showing yet. The Guardians' offense finally broke out of its shell with quarterback Quinten Dormady at the helm, and Latimer totaled 124 yards and a score on eight catches. Outside of his touchdown grab, his best play was a 31-yard contested catch down the sideline in the fourth quarter.
Plummer's 3.3% missed tackle rate ranks second among XFL linebackers through Week 5, and his 12 stops are tied for fifth. After posting his fourth 70.0-plus game grade in five outings, Plummer has established himself as one of the XFL's most consistent defenders — particularly as a tackler and a run defender.
TOP 5 plays from this weekend’s @XFL2023 GAMES ???? ????
As owner, building this league of opportunity, to unlock player’s dreams is not only incredibly gratifying but a full circle journey for me. Thank you for all your amazing support! Enjoy the games this weekend! @ESPN @ABC
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) March 22, 2023
San Antonio Brahmas
- Offense: OT Kohl Levao (76.3)
- Defense: CB Luq Barcoo (89.9)
Both of the Brahmas' top-graded players from Week 4 return for Week 5. Levao didn't allow a single quarterback pressure on 42 pass-blocking snaps against Arlington and posted season-high marks in run-defense grade (76.6) and overall grade (81.5).
Barcoo is one of only a handful of players who can earn a 46.5 game grade and still rank as the XFL's best at his position; he's had that great of a year. He allowed three catches on six targets for 43 yards this past week and didn't record a pass breakup for the first time all season. Still, his seven breakups overall rank first among cornerbacks.
Seattle Sea Dragons
- Offense: WR Jahcour Pearson (78.7)
- Defense: EDGE Tuzar Skipper (90.0)
Pearson, arguably the XFL's most consistent receiver thus far, makes his season debut here. He leads the league in receiving yards (430) despite having just one touchdown catch and has yet to record less than 75 yards in a game. His 46 targets and 197 yards after the catch also pace all XFL pass catchers.
Skipper almost replicated his Week 4 performance in Week 5, tallying two sacks, a forced fumble and a 75.0-plus overall grade. He is also one of four XFL edge defenders to have played 100-plus snaps and not missed a tackle.
.@tuzarskipper out here drilling quarterbacks and knocking the ball loose all season
He takes home our midseason honor for QB Nightmare ????
TUZAR Too STRONG @XFLSeaDragons pic.twitter.com/gGkazik4Zq
— Matty Fresh (@MattyFreshTV) March 23, 2023
St. Louis Battlehawks
- Offense: RB Brian Hill (75.7)
- Defense: EDGE Travis Feeney (89.6)
Hill, a 2017 fifth-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons, now has 250 rushing yards on just 48 carries this season. He pairs that with 110 receiving yards on 11 catches as one of the XFL's most productive backs. He is the league's lone running back to have forced 15 missed tackles on the ground and five as a receiver.
Feeney has two 90.0-plus game grades and two sub-51.0 game grades this season, and while Week 5 was of the latter variety, his pass-rushing prowess is undeniable. The former sixth-round pick added another three quarterback pressures and a stop to his season totals, ranking as the XFL's fourth-highest-graded edge defender.