• Michael Joseph continues to climb the CB ranks: The D.C. standout is on a streak of four straight 70.0-plus game grades.
• RB Jacques Patrick enjoying a solid stretch of play: The Brahmas' top back recorded 98 rushing yards, 38 receiving yards, a touchdown, six forced total missed tackles and eight first downs in Week 8.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Week 9 of the XFL is here, with the Vipers and Roughnecks set to open the slate. Here are PFF's highest-graded players through eight weeks of action.
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Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5
Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8
- Offense: OG Mike Horton (76.5)
- Defense: DI T.J. Barnes (85.1)
Horton became the first XFL offensive lineman in 2022 to crack a 90.0-plus game grade, doing so in Arlington's Week 8 win with a 93.1 mark. Ten of his 25 run-blocking snaps earned a positive grade, the most by an offensive lineman this season.
Barnes was rather quiet on 32 snaps in the Renegades win, tallying one quarterback pressure and one tackle. Still, he wasn't downgraded on any of those snaps and thus maintained a strong 85.0-plus grade for the season.
- Offense: OG Michael Maietti (85.7)
- Defense: CB Michael Joseph (81.7)
The Defenders placed Maietti on injured reserve ahead of Week 8, but he holds onto this top spot for now. As we noted last week, he has earned a positive grade on 20.9% of his run-blocking snaps, by far the best rate among all offensive linemen.
Joseph is on a streak of four straight 70.0-plus game grades. He was targeted 11 times in Week 8 yet allowed just five catches for 59 yards, breaking up three of those passes. He sits as the XFL's third-highest-graded cornerback, behind only Arlington's Josh Hawkins (injured reserve) and San Antonio's Luq Barcoo.
- Offense: RB Max Borghi (76.7)
- Defense: EDGE Tim Ward (90.8)
Borghi played fewer than 15 snaps for the fourth straight game, and he wasn't able to get much out of his ground-game touches in Week 8. He finished with just 10 rushing yards on seven carries. However, he enjoyed his best outing yet as a receiver, catching four of five targets for 46 yards — including a contested grab.
The Roughnecks ruled Ward out for the third straight week. As we noted last week, he 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.
???? Max Borghi est déjà chaud avec un catch de 20 yards. #XFL #XFL2023 pic.twitter.com/J1KNnqP8Yn
— Spring Football News ???? ???????? (@SpringFBnews) April 9, 2023
Las Vegas Vipers
- Offense: RB Rod Smith (74.8)
- Defense: EDGE Pita Taumoepenu (82.7)
Smith put together another respectable showing on the ground in Week 8 to the tune of 51 yards on 13 carries, two forced missed tackles and 32 yards after contact. He is now the XFL's fourth-highest-graded running back.
While a forced fumble and three quarterback pressures is an elite day for most, it may have just been an average performance for Taumoepenu in Week 8. The elite edge defender leads the league in quarterback pressures (32) and pass-rush grade (91.1) through eight weeks.
.@PitaTaumoepenu has so much he almost doesn’t need the rip… pic.twitter.com/HLpbJvDg9U
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) April 13, 2023
- Offense: TE Cody Latimer (89.1)
- Defense: LB Terrance Plummer (87.8)
Targets, receiving yards, yards after the catch, contested catches — you name it, and Cody Latimer is either at the top of the receiver leaderboard or close to it. He has yet to drop a pass this season and is generating a 128.7 passer rating when targeted.
Plummer earned a season-high 89.1 run-defense grade in Week 8 and owns a top-five season-long run-defense grade across all positions. His 8.2% missed tackle rate also places him just outside of the top 10 among linebackers.
San Antonio Brahmas
- Offense: RB Jacques Patrick (75.3)
- Defense: EDGE Delontae Scott (90.8)
Patrick showed out in Week 8, recording 98 rushing yards, 38 receiving yards, a touchdown, six forced total missed tackles and eight first downs. While running back play remains inconsistent in the XFL, outside of D.C.'s Abram Smith, Patrick is in the midst of a stretch of good form.
Scott has racked up 12 quarterback pressures over the past three weeks and is now tied for the XFL's highest-graded edge defender. His elite 91.0 run-defense grade doesn't hurt, either.
Seattle Sea Dragons
- Offense: WR Jahcour Pearson (73.9)
- Defense: EDGE Tuzar Skipper (82.9)
Morgan Ellison technically holds this spot, but he hasn't played in three weeks and is now on injured reserve. Enter, Jahcour Pearson. The standout wide receiver is trying to break out of a quiet three-game stretch after establishing himself as the XFL's top receiver through Week 5. He hasn't eclipsed 40 receiving yards or a 65.0 game grade since then.
Skipper tallied two quarterback pressures in Week 8 to bring his season total to 11, which ranks only 21st at the position. But that doesn't tell the entire story. His 17.5% pass-rush win rate, which takes into account reps where pressure may not have been achieved, ranks eighth at the position.
St. Louis Battlehawks
- Offense: QB A.J. McCarron (79.6)
- Defense: EDGE Travis Feeney (89.1)
The XFL's top quarterback remains as such despite not playing in Week 8. He put forth a relatively clean performance in Week 7 — albeit one with a turnover-worthy play and no big-time throws. McCarron leads the league in adjusted completion rate (78.1%) through eight weeks.
Feeney is now one of only five XFL edge defenders with 20-plus pressures this season. He has recorded a sack in each of his past three games and boasts six stops over his past two.
Travis Feeney : 8 tackles, 2 for loss, sack & a forced fumble
LaCale London : 2 tackles, 1 for loss & a fumble recovery pic.twitter.com/VTXOYyps9a
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) April 9, 2023