Defenders make a move; Signing of Kicker Matthew McCrane
The XFL's D.C Defenders make a bold move, signing experienced kicker Matthew McCrane, just one month before the start of the season. Let's discuss that;
Hailing from the town of Brownwood Texas, the 28-year-old McCrane started his kicking career with Kansas State University in 2014. Throughout his 38 games played with K-State, he connected on 57 of his 66 field goal attempts (86%) and all of his 133 PATs. His longest connection came from 54 yards out, and he averaged 8.8 points per game. He graduated as the school’s all-time leader in career field goals made, career field goal percentage, and extra point percentage, and was voted First Team All-Big 12.
After going undrafted in 2018, Matthew signed with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals for a short period before being released. He was quickly picked up by the Oakland Raiders and made his professional debut against the Cleveland Browns.
I've been working hard. It's something that I wanted as a kid, to play in the National Football League. - McCrane
He finished his stint with the Raiders going 5/9 (55%) on field goals and 5/5 on PATs before being replaced. He was then re-signed by the Cardinals following an injury to their starting kicker, and played 1 game, going 3/3 on PATs before being released yet again.
McCrane was then picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers after their kicker went down with an injury. He ended up making all 3 of his field goal attempts with a long of 47 yards. He was released and ended the 2018 season as a free agent.
In 2019, Matthew McCrane was drafted by the XFL New York Guardians in the supplemental draft. He would finish the 5-week season making all 8 of his field goal attempts. He made 3 kicks between 40-49 yards and 2 field goals over 50 yards (long of 53 yards). Despite his success, the league folded before the end of the year and he faced free agency once again.
The Defender's kicker room is getting a bit crowded now, with McCrane joining Daniel Whelan and Jacob Schum. While I originally touted Whelan as the club's most likely candidate for the starting kicker position, the signing of McCrane likely means we will see either Whelan or Schum hitting free agency once again. Given how well Whelan performed at Nick Novaks training camp for the XFL, I find it highly unlikely the Defenders would let him walk. Whelan simply outperformed Schum. The duo of McCrane and Whelan would give D.C. the best chance of success, as both specialists can kick field goals, as well as handle kickoff duties.
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