D.C. Defenders – OLB Jonathan Massaquoi, SS Matt Elam
The D.C. Defenders lived up to their name, making several big plays defensively to hold the Dragons at bay. They were lead by two-NFL veterans in outside linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi and strong safety Matt Elam.
Massaquoi was 5th round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and went to the Atlanta Falcons where he played outside linebacker. At 31 Massaquoi isn’t a long term solution like Proehl, but he can be a back-up or spot starter for the Browns in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. He’s the only person from the first game to record a whole sack and showed great pressure all day. The former University of Troy standout was so a sack machine during his collegiate days, recording 19.5 sacks in his two seasons there.
Elam, on the other hand, was a 1st round pick in 2013 to the Baltimore Ravens. Despite playing well for the Ravens, Elam was released after a series of legal issues that saw him out of the league for nearly four years. He spent some time in the Canadian Football League but couldn’t make it work with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and was released.
He played strong coverage for the Defenders, even though the Dragons weren’t too dangerous in the air. Assuming Elam has corrected his issues, is staying out of trouble won’t be a headcase, Elam would be an instant replacement for the Browns at strong safety assuming the team doesn’t bring back the 2019 starters. Both would shore up the defense, even in reserve roles.