• Cody Latimer helps Guardians secure first win: He now has the most receiving yards and yards after the catch in the XFL this season.
• Defenders cornerback Michael Joseph a consistent presence: He has yet to grade out below 60.0 in any of his seven outings this season and is DC's highest-graded defender.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Week 8 of the XFL is here, with the Vipers and Battlehawks set to open the slate on Saturday. Here are PFF's highest-graded players through seven weeks of action.
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The Renegades fell to 3-4 on the season following a Week 7 loss to the Sea Dragons, but De'Veon Smith enjoyed his best game of the year. He tallied two scores, 61 rushing yards (48 of which came after contact) and 33 yards through the air. That all culminated in a 90.7 PFF grade, making him the highest-graded XFL running back of Week 7.
Schooler debuts here after earning his fifth 70.0-plus game grade of the season. Josh Hawkins does edge him out in overall grade and qualifies for the snap count minimum, but he hasn't played since Week 3 and is out for the season. Schooler, meanwhile, has missed just two tackles this year and has allowed only 32 yards into his coverage.
Maietti continues his reign as the XFL's highest-graded interior offensive lineman. He has earned a positive grade on 20.9% of his run-blocking snaps, by far the best rate among all offensive linemen, and that pairs well with his stout pass blocking (three pressures allowed on 88 such snaps).
Cornerback play is often volatile from week to week, but Joseph has yet to grade out below 60.0 in any of his seven outings this season. Overall, he's allowed 21 catches on 35 targets for 229 yards and four touchdowns, but he offsets that with four interceptions and three pass breakups.
Borghi is nothing if not solid, either scoring during his quieter games or providing the Roughnecks' offense with 40-plus yards per game. Thirty-five of his 46 rushing yards in Week 7 came after contact, and he added three forced missed tackles to bring his season total to 20 — the second most among XFL running backs.
While he's missed the past two games, Ward was on a tear before suffering a shoulder injury. His 16 pressures through Week 5 were the fifth most in the XFL, and his 22.6% pass-rush win rate over the same span also ranked fifth. He pairs with John Daka to spearhead one of the XFL's top edge-rushing units.
Smith's career highlight reel now includes a hurdle for a score, as seen below. His 88.0 receiving grade for the game, after he secured all three of his targets for 33 yards and the touchdown, was the second-highest mark of the week among all receivers.
There is little more we can say about Taumoepenu to convey his dominance. He tacked on another seven pressures in Week 7 — tied for his season high — en route to the highest pass-rush grade of any XFL player for the week (82.4).
OH MY WORD. WHAT A HURDLE. Rod Smith just LEAPED into the endzone to put the @XFLVipers back in front.
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenPFN) April 1, 2023
Orlando pulled off the upset of the season in Week 7, taking down the then-undefeated Defenders to earn their first win. And Cody Latimer was a star yet again. He has now overtaken Jahcour Pearson for the most receiving yards and yards after the catch in the league. His 85.7 PFF grade paces the position by more than four points.
Plummer missed three tackles in Week 7, tanking his game grade, but has been a solid presence for the Guardians this season as a run defender. He has now earned 65.0-plus game grades in six of his seven outings this season.
— Orlando Guardians (@XFLGuardians) April 2, 2023
Patrick is one of five running backs to lead the way for their respective offenses this week, and although his Week 7 stat line was forgettable, his 183 yards after contact on the season is a top-five mark. San Antonio's offense failed to top 20 points for the fifth straight week, so Patrick appears set to hold onto this spot until the team provides an offensive outburst.
Scott is now tied for the XFL's highest-graded edge defender. He tallied five pressures in Week 7, including two sacks, two hits and one hurry. His 16 stops this season also rank second at the position.
Frankly, it was a disastrous Week 7 for Ellison, who lost a fumble and recorded just 15 rushing yards on six carries. He earned a season-low 29.0 game grade but features here for the Sea Dragons based on a body of work that includes 3.92 yards after contact per attempt (first), 17 forced missed tackles (fifth) and 11 first-down runs (second).
Skipper played another part-time role in Week 7 but still managed two quarterback pressures. He maintains a 90.0-plus pass-rushing grade, making him one of only three XFL edge defenders to sit above the threshold.
McCarron is very clearly the XFL's top quarterback. He led St. Louis to a tight win in Week 7 on the back of three touchdown passes and a 79.4% adjusted completion rate. His 78.1% rate for the season ranks first among quarterbacks.
Feeney leads the XFL with 11 quarterback knockdowns — hits and sacks — this season. His 20.0% pass-rush win rate ranks fifth among all pass rushers, but his 91.5 pass-rushing grade tops the charts.