After successful campaigns in the XFL’s 2023 season, we’ve seen many players make their way to NFL camps and rosters. The Denver Broncos hosted their minicamp last weekend, and have since signed two XFL standouts to the team. QB Ben DiNucci and RB Jacques Patrick are now officially rostered in Orange and Blue, and with the way the team’s depth chart stands under new HC Sean Payton they’re both positioned well.
DiNucci posted a successful campaign with the Sea Dragons. He led the league in both passing yards (2,671), and unfortunately interceptions as well (13), while coming in 2nd in pass TDs (20) and contributing well on the ground. His rushing contributions were especially worthy of note, as he was 6th overall in rush yards (305) and led all QB’s in the category, with 3 more TD’s to boot.
That performance, and his NFL experience (23-of-43 for 219 yards) starting for Dallas back in 2020 led to his signing, and he’s entering an ideal situation for an XFL QB. Obviously, Russell Wilson is entrenched as the starter, but there were both health and performance question marks last year, and the Broncos QB2 spot could potentially make an impact this season if the Sean Payton effect doesn’t turn around Russ, or if the injury bug strikes again.
Denver currently has 4 passers in their QB room, Russell Wilson, Jarrett Stidham, Jarrett Guarantano and DiNucci. In camp it could be a 3-way battle for the backup job, though I would give Stidham the edge because of his starting experience, upside and 2 year, $10 Million contract.
Jarrett Stidham would be the safer bet, but I do believe DiNucci could compete for the job. DiNucci has the edge in mobility, as Stidham has mostly been a pocket quarterback in college and the pros, but it could all come down to what kind of offense Sean Payton wants to run.
If the plan is to get Russ in space to extend plays off-schedule, I think that DiNucci could be the better option with his skillset.
Regardless of how the QB2 spot shakes out, I absolutely give the former Seattle Dragons QB the advantage to make the team as QB3 over Jarrett Guarantano. The Tennessee product, who does possess upside, was brought in by Nathaniel Hackett in December just a few weeks before Hackett was fired. This puts him in the circumstance of being a holdover from last year’s regime, while DiNucci was specifically brought in by Sean Payton’s staff.
Smart money is, the Seattle Dragon’s starting QB makes the team at least as a practice squad/QB3, and possibly competes for the backup job.
Rushing By Committee
Jacques Patrick is entering a very promising situation in Dove Valley, as the team is far from established at the running back position. While Javonte Williams had an incredible on-field impact in his rookie year, a week 4 ACL/LCL tear in his sophomore campaign has raised question marks about his availability this coming year. The team is looking at a training camp return for the hard-nosed rusher, but even if he is back, it could take time to get back to 100%, and they’d do well to watch his snap count early in the year.
Samaje Perine is a proven commodity, and the 5’11” 235 pound back is a threat in both the run and pass game. Behind these two, however, the depth chart is wide open. Tony Jones Jr. has some experience in Sean Payton’s offense, and played limited snaps on special teams as well. UDFA Jahleel McLaughlin (who had a NCAA record 8,155 rush yards) Tyler Badie and Tyreik McAllister bring speed to the table, which could give them an edge in a stable full of power backs. Damarea Crockett has some on-field experience in Denver as well.
Sifting through this list, I’d wager we see some degree of a platoon approach. At least one of the speedier backs should make the roster for change-of-pace abilities, but Patrick has the opportunity to impress on this coaching staff that he’s capable of being a contributor as they navigate around Javonte’s knee.
With his experience, strong running style and acumen for pass-catching, I think he’s a good candidate to factor into this rotation, especially if their starter takes longer than expected to return.
Both of these players have worked hard to get to this spot, and I’m glad to see that they will have a good fighting chance to make an impact on this roster. Denver also just cut longtime kicker Brandon McManus, and with slim pickings on the FA market and no other kickers on the roster, we could potentially see another XFL signing. Stay tuned.
Unleash the Action: Sign up for XFL Insider and Fuel Your Passion for Football!
USFL and XFL Merger: A Deep Dive into the Historic Collaboration
/ 2 months ago
Welcome to Episode 216 of the “XFL Week In Review,” your premier destination for...