The Seattle Dragons will play their first regular season game on February 8th when they travel to the nation’s capital for a matchup with the DC Defenders, first we take a look at five players from either side of the ball that have the ability to be impact players during the upcoming season.
Isaiah Battle, Offensive Tackle
Protecting a quarterback is key to team success. At 6-foot-6-inches protection is what the 312 pound lineman knows best. Battle was a three-star prospect that committed to Clemson University and parlayed his years as a Tiger into being drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Supplemental draft by the St. Louis Rams. Since then, Battle has been in and out of NFL organizations with stints in training camps and on practice squads. Now, with an opportunity to have the playing time to showcase himself, Battle appears to be a lock for the Dragons’ left tackle. He will be tasked with protecting whoever ends up winning the starting job.
Dontez Byrd, Wide Receiver
Dontez Byrd @speedybyrd— Myra Moore (@MyraMoore04) November 17, 2019
WR | 5’11 | 181lbs
College: Tennessee Tech and University of Louisville
Accolades: Formerly w/Atlanta Falcons, Formerly w/Memphis Express#XFL2020 #XFLDraft #Draft pic.twitter.com/5dJu449ku9
Byrd was a late arrival at Dragons camp, joining a crowded crop of 10 other receivers all eager to make the final 52-man roster. Byrd had to make an impact and quickly at that, which has been the theme of his entire football career.
Byrd was barley recruited coming out of high school and played for two colleges, Louisville and Tennessee Tech. It was in the now-defunct Alliance of American Football where Byrd made himself a prospect. The 24-year-old played for the Memphis Express with Brandon Silvers who is currently battling for the Dragons’ starting QB job. In the AAF, Byrd compiled 10 receptions for 131 yards a TD and a 2PT conversion in five games. As his Twitter handle suggests, Byrd’s top weapon he can bring to the table is his speed. The ability to get downfield behind the secondary could make Byrd a valuable option for the Dragons.
Nick Temple, Linebacker
Temple has a knack for staying in the play. The linebacker played all 13 games of each season of his four-year career as a Cincinnati Bearcat filing a stat sheet in every place imaginable: 281 total tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, three interceptions (one for a TD), one forced fumble (one returned for a TD). He brings the ability to play outside or inside at linebacker and be a vocal leader on a young defense. His impact is already being felt at training camp as he intercepted a tipped pass in a scrimmage against the DC Defenders (see picture below).
Will Sutton, Defensive Tackle
Sutton was a two-time first-team All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year at Arizona State where he played a more traditional nose tackle. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played for three seasons before being out of football for two years and made his comeback in 2019 in the AAF with the Arizona Hotshots. With the Hotshots, he started seven games and posted 28 total tackles with a sack. That was enough for Seattle to draft the 28-year-old in the third round of the front seven portion of the XFL Draft. You can expect Sutton to play a big role in the Dragons defense, being a key member up the middle in stopping the run.
Channing Stribling, Cornerback
Perhaps no defensive player has made a bigger splash than Stribling so far in training camp. A story on XFL.com highlighted that the 6-foot-2-inch cornerback has compiled nine interceptions during training camp, catching the eyes of many. However, it hasn’t always been this way for the 25-year-old Michigan Football product who went undrafted in 2017 and bounced around NFL practice squads in Cleveland, Indianapolis, San Francisco and San Diego followed by a stint with the Memphis Express (AAF) before heading north and joining Hamilton of the Canadian Football League. Now, Stribling will hope to carry his momentum from training camp and continue to be a ballhawk for the Dragons in 2020.
Channing Stribling (@C_Strib8)— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) October 14, 2016
University of Michigan#GoBlue 〽️ pic.twitter.com/rrLV82TecB
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