• EDGE John Daka can't be contained: He recorded another six pressures in Week 4 to bring his season total to a league-leading 18.
• QB A.J. McCarron rises to the top for the Battlehawks: He is the XFL's second-highest-graded quarterback through four weeks of play.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Week 5 of the XFL is here, with the Houston Roughnecks and Seattle Sea Dragons set to open the slate on Thursday. Here are PFF's highest-graded players through four weeks of action.
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- Offense: OG Mike Horton (76.8)
- Defense: DI T.J. Barnes (90.4)
Horton is the best run-blocking interior offensive lineman in the XFL through four weeks (77.9 run-blocking grade) but suffers a bit as a pass blocker. He has surrendered six pressures this season, including two in Week 4. Still, he remains a consistent presence, having earned 65.0-plus overall grades in all four weeks of action.
One of two XFL interior defenders boasting a 90.0-plus overall grade through Week 4, Barnes continues to shine. While he recorded no official run stops this past week, his best play of the game was beating a double-team for a backfield stuff that was negated by a penalty.
- Offense: QB D'Eriq King (91.8)
- Defense: LB Francis Bernard (75.1)
All D'Eriq King does is score. He was responsible for three touchdowns in the Defenders' 32-18 win over the Vipers in Week 4 and earned an elite 93.5 game grade on 21 snaps — only nine of which were as a runner or passer. King leads the league in rushing scores (four) and has two passing touchdowns despite just nine attempts on the season.
Despite not playing in Week 4 due to suspension, Bernard debuts at the top of the defensive leaderboard for D.C. following a Week 3 performance in which he made three tackles, broke up a pass and allowed just five yards on four targets into his coverage.
What a gutsy play call by DC to likely put this one away. D'Eriq King finds a wide open Jequez Ezzard for the score on 4th and 2, putting the @XFLDefenders on top 29-12.
This DC team is playing lights out football. #XFL | @XFL2023 pic.twitter.com/kOMOwrrlJh
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenPFN) March 13, 2023
- Offense: RB Max Borghi (82.8)
- Defense: EDGE John Daka (93.0)
Borghi couldn't continue his dominance in Week 4 while sidelined with a knee injury, but he holds onto the top spot for the Roughnecks. Even with his absence, no XFL running back has forced more missed tackles than his 16.
We're running out of nice things to say about Daka, who recorded another six pressures in Week 4 to bring his season total to a league-leading 18. His 35.1% pass-rush win rate is more than 8 percentage points better than the second-ranked pass rusher this season.
Las Vegas Vipers
- Offense: C Kahlil McKenzie (68.9)
- Defense: EDGE Pita Taumoepenu (77.5)
The Vipers placed McKenzie on injured reserve ahead of Week 4, yet he remains the offense's top-graded player amid an 0-4 start to the season. McKenzie leads XFL centers with a 68.9 overall grade and a 69.3 run-blocking grade. The former sixth-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs earned 70.0-plus grades as both a pass blocker (72.2) and a run blocker (71.5) in Week 3.
Taumoepenu was active in run defense and the pass rush in Week 4, totaling one quarterback pressure and two run stops. A couple of missed tackles did drop his overall grade for the game, but his 16 pressures on the season are a top-three figure among XFL pass rushers.
- Offense: WR Cody Latimer (79.6)
- Defense: LB Terrance Plummer (90.1)
The Guardians, joining the Vipers in the winless category, set a new season-high with 16 points in Week 4 but were ultimately throttled by the Defenders in a 44-16 defeat. Latimer, meanwhile, is a bright spot for the team. He is the XFL's highest-graded wideout thus far, leading the league in contested catches (eight) and having dropped no passes on 29 targets.
Plummer was one of seven XFL defenders to earn a 90.0-plus grade in Week 4, vaulting him to the top of the Guardians' defensive leaderboard. He finished with a league-leading five stops (a solo tackle resulting in an offensive failure) against the Roughnecks and gave up just 12 yards on three targets in coverage.
San Antonio Brahmas
- Offense: OT Kohl Levao (71.0)
- Defense: CB Luq Barcoo (92.0)
Continued success in both run blocking and pass blocking has Levao making his debut as the Brahmas' highest-graded offensive player. He is one of three XFL tackles with 65.0-plus grades in both facets. His 18.6% rate of positively graded run blocks ranks first among all tackles this season.
Barcoo has firmly established himself as the XFL's best cornerback through four weeks. Despite being targeted more than any other defensive back (26), he has allowed all of 13 catches for 127 yards and no scores. His three pass breakups in Week 4 brought his season total to seven — more than double the next closest player.
Great play from Luq Barcoo.
Tampa 2 after Man Free presentation (like it), Barcoo gets 2nd man thru his zone and carries it vertical pic.twitter.com/3gc53pcEKv
— Zach (@GoJags) Gartin (@All22_Addict) March 14, 2023
Seattle Sea Dragons
- Offense: RB Morgan Ellison (84.1)
- Defense: EDGE Tuzar Skipper (89.7)
Ellison is among the XFL players who are consistently playing at a level above their peers. Week 4 marked his third straight game with 60-plus rushing yards and three forced missed tackles. He and Max Borghi are the XFL's highest-graded running backs by a comfortable margin.
Skipper finished Week 4 with two sacks, including a strip-sack of the Brahmas' Jack Coan. While he has recorded just five pressures on the season, four have been sacks. He's also one of only five XFL edge defenders with 90-plus snaps to have not missed a tackle this season.
Former #Steelers OLB Tuzar Skipper with the strip-sack. #XFL pic.twitter.com/4yfwGSdLWS
— Tyler Wise (@TriggeredWise) March 12, 2023
St. Louis Battlehawks
- Offense: QB A.J. McCarron (78.2)
- Defense: EDGE Travis Feeney (93.0)
This has been a long time coming, with McCarron consistently grading well but usually just missing out on the top offensive spot for the Battlehawks. He is the XFL's second-highest-graded quarterback while ranking second in big-time throws (seven) and third in turnover-worthy play rate (2.4%). The 3-1 Battlehawks have a tough test against the 4-0 Defenders in Week 5.
Feeney has only 62 snaps to his name this season and was largely a nonfactor in Week 3. But it was hard to miss him in Week 4. He posted five quarterback pressures, including a strip-sack, and finished the week as the XFL's highest-graded player (94.4).
Kyle Sloter fumbles. Travis Feeney with the pressure. Big takeover for St. Louis. #XFL2023 pic.twitter.com/qs96SVB5VJ
— Spring Football Gems (@spring_fbgems) March 12, 2023