On Tuesday, the XFL announced initial quarterback assignments for each of their 8 teams. The Seattle Sea Dragons selected former Colorado standout Steven Montez and former James Madison standout Ben DiNucci.
Head coach Jim Haslett commented on these additions, stating,
“We’re very excited to have Ben and Steven join the Sea Dragons. I’ve been open about our desire to pass the ball and the guys bring big arms to the table. Ben is an athletic, play-maker with NFL experience. Steven is also mobile and able to throw from anywhere on the field. Both of these players have all the tools to succeed in a June Jones offense.”
QB – Ben DiNucci
College: University of Pittsburgh (2015 – 2017), James Madison (2018 – 2019)
Pro Experience: Dallas Cowboys (2020 – 2021)
One of the two quarterbacks announced for the Sea Dragons is James Madison alumni Ben DiNucci, who most recently spent time with the Dallas Cowboys.
DiNucci started his college career on scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015, redshirting his freshman year and backing up Nathan Peterman.
DiNucci was named the starting quarterback just before week 7 of the 2016 season after senior Max Browne suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. DiNucci eventually lost the starting job to true freshman Kenny Pickett and announced his decision to transfer to James Madison University for the following season.
As a junior at James Madison, DiNucci started all 13 games and received Third-Team ALL-CAA honors in 2018. In 2019, he started all 16 games, completing 71% of his passes, and led the Dukes to the FCS Championship, where the team lost to North Dakota State. DiNucci earned CAA Offensive Player of the Year, First-Team All-CAA, and AFCA First-Team All-American honors at the end of the season.
In 2020, DiNucci was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 7th round of the NFL Draft and made his NFL debut in relief of Andy Dalton against the Arizona Cardinals. However, his first completed pass came against the Washington Football Team a week later after Dalton left the game with a Concussion.
DiNucci’s first professional start came on Sunday Night Football against the Philadelphia Eagles due to Dalton still being in the concussion protocols. He ended the game completing 21/40 passes for 180 yards, losing 2 fumbles, and getting sacked 4 times in the 23-9 loss.
After the loss on Sunday night, Garett Gilbert moved up the depth chart ahead of DiNucci for the rest of the 2021 season. DiNucci was sent to the Cowboys practice squad in late August 2021 and remained there until getting waived in late August 2022.
QB – Steven Montez
College: University of Colorado
Pro Experience: Washington Football Team (2020-2021), Detroit Lions practice squad (2021-2022)
The second quarterback announced for the Sea Dragons is University of Colorado alumni Steven Montez, who most recently spent time with the Detroit Lions before signing with the XFL.
After redshirting his first season at Colorado in 2015, Montez entered the 2016 season serving as the backup to Sefo Liufau. However, Montez appeared in 10 games, starting 3 of those due to an injury to Liufau.
In 2017, Montez entered the season as Colorado’s starting quarterback and remained the starter through the 2019 season.
Montez signed with the Washington Football Team as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft but was waived a day later and sent to the practice squad. He’d be elevated to the active roster for Washinton’s week 15 and 16 games versus the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers and reverted back to the practice squad after each game.
Montez was waived by Washinton at the end of August 2021 and signed a few days later to the Detroit Lions practice squad. He signed a reserve/future contract with Detroit in January 2022, but was waived in May 2022 before deciding to sign with the XFL.
The Sea Dragons will continue to fill out their roster during the draft taking place this Wednesday and Thursday.
The draft will be a ‘snake’ format, consisting of 58 total rounds across the two days.
Day one will be broken into four positional groupings, with 11 rounds of selections for each grouping.
- Offensive Skill Positions (WR, RB, TE, FB)
- Defensive Backs (CB, Nickel, Safety)
- Defensive Front Seven (ILB, Edge, DE, DT)
- Offensive Line (LT, LG, C, RG, RT)
Day two will have 3 rounds dedicated to Specialists (Kickers, Punters, Long Snappers), followed by up to 11 rounds of drafting not restricted to any specific position group.
A supplemental draft will take place early in 2023 for players currently under contract with other leagues that will become available before the XFL’s season kicks off.
Undrafted players from this week’s draft will remain in the supplemental draft pool and may be added to a roster at a later date.
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