The Dragons have a deep QB room with a lot of potential. Brandon Silvers out of Troy had a great run with the AAF last spring, and is penciled in as their starter. I wouldn’t count out Joe Callahan either, as the D-III legend has garnered enough interest to spend time with 7 NFL teams in his young career. BJ Daniels is an interesting pick as well, and the dual threat veteran out of USF has a lot of playmaking potential.
Running Backs: B-
Their running back stable is solid, headlined by Trey Williams and Kenneth Farrow. They’re a good speed/power duo, as Williams is smaller (5’7″ 200 lbs) and faster (4.43 40) while Farrow (5’10” 220 lbs) is more of a downhill runner. Both are capable receivers out of the backfield. With so many proven NFL backs in the draft, I would’ve liked to see them take a vet, but this duo has potential nonetheless.
Wide Receivers: B+
The Dragons WR corps is interesting as well. Fred Ross was their first WR off the board, and he possesses a 6’1″ 213 pound frame that makes him an ideal possession receiver. He doesn’t have top end speed (4.51 40), but is still athletic and can box out defenders with his size.
Malachi Jones was a stud in Arena Football, with 78 total receiving touchdowns in 3 years. The 6’2″ target recently made waves in the AAF, scoring twice in their short run. They also have a pair of military WR’s from Air Force and Navy with Jalen Rowell and Keenan Reynolds. Both stood out in their time in college with big-time production. Reynolds looks to be more of a slot/possession receiver while Rowell (6’4″) is a legit threat in the deep game and the red zone.
Tight Ends: A-
The Dragons Tight Ends are really exciting, and it looks like Jim Zorn is planning on using a lot of 2 TE singleback sets. With Jace Amaro gearing up to prove he’s still got the talent that made him a 2nd round pick in the NFL, they’ve got a legit proven option at starter. He’s 6’5″ and had 404 rec yards and 2 TD’s before his career was cut short with injury. His size and hands make him dangerous over the middle of the field.
Evan Rodriguez has been around the pro game for a long time, and has earned his stripes as a blocker. I figure he’ll be a big part of the run game, but he still is athletic enough at 31 to make an impact as a vertical threat as well.
Offensive Line: B
Isaiah Battle out of Clemson headlines this group, and figures to be the team’s LT. At 6’7″ 310, he’s got the ideal frame, and has experience going up against top end talent in the SEC. While scouts lauded his agility, size and movement out of college, it was the consensus that he needed time to develop and put on weight, which he has done since being taken in the 2015 supplemental draft.
Next to him, Cyril Richardson should take the LG spot with ease, as his size (6’5″ 330) and experience (12 NFL games) make him an ideal candidate to lock down the interior line.
Center Dillon Day started all 4 years in the SEC at Mississippi State. Thats an impressive feat. He’s a cerebral player, wholly capable of making calls on the line. He’s had to work on his technique out of college, but time spent with 4 NFL teams including the Super Bowl 50 Broncos has helped there.
Though Venzell Boulware is an interesting prospect, I think Robert Myers’ size and experience will win him the starting RG job. He’s also 6’5″ 330, giving the Dragons two massive interior lineman, and has been on 5 NFL teams. Another member of the Broncos Super Bowl 50 run, I think he’ll mesh well next to former teammate Dillon Day.
The RT position is hard to predict, as Quinerrius Eatmon, Jordan Rose, Michael Dunn and Na’Ty Rodgers all have upside. Eatmon and Rose are your prototypical road graders at 6’7″ 330+ pounds each, while Dunn and Rodgers still have good size at 6’5″ ~300 pounds, and bring a wealth of starting experience and honors in college. This will be an interesting camp battle.
Front Seven: B
The Dragons took Stansley Maponga with the first pick in phase III, and the Edge rusher has a lot of tools to work with. He packs a ton of power into his 6’2″ 250 pound frame, and repped 30 bench presses in his draft workout. At TCU, he had 15.5 sacks, 23 tackles for loss and 8 forced fumbles. With game-breaking production like that, he found his way onto 4 NFL teams, notching a sack in limited playing time.
Jacquies Smith should lock down the other Edge spot, and the 29 year old vet brings an impressive NFL resume. He’s got 13.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries and a TD in the pros. When he’s seen the field, he’s been dominant, but a couple injuries have limited his opportunities.
Will Sutton, and Tenny Palepoi are both solid interior lineman, and bring a wealth of NFL starting experience to the table. Both are a bit undersized though, and I hope they can find a run stopping NT somewhere on their roster. Pasoni Tasini or Jeremy Liggins could fit this bill at 300+ pounds each.
Steven Johnson, LB was a great pickup, and the former Bronco contributed well in his time on the field. The 31 year old is a proven commodity in the middle, and should be a steadying presence. Youngsters Nick Temple and Nyles Morgan should also see the field early and often.
The Dragons have by far the most proven CB duo in the league. Sterling Moore and Steve Williams have a combined 48 pass deflections and 8 interceptions in the pros, and should be able to lock down their sides of the field. Chris Davis also has NFL experience, while Javonte Dean and Channing Stribling are a couple of young corners with the length and speed to develop into solid pieces.
At safety, Jim Zorn got a great mix of ballhawks and box players. Cody Brown is a pure coverage safety, and has the ability to cover the back end of the field. He had 6 ints in two years in college. Kentrell Brice and Tyson Graham excel in coverage and the run game, and should both see time at SS.
Greg Joseph, K is only 25, but his career 85% Field Goal percentage in the NFL is the best among his XFL compatriots. Nick Novak has more expereince, but at 38 is at the tail end of his career. Considering that only 5 teams actually drafted a kicker, Joseph puts the Dragons at the top.
Brock Miller is a lefty punter, which can throw returners a curveball if they’re not used to the spin, and the 28 year old has had a ton of tryouts in the NFL.
Noah Borden is a long snapper, but garnered enough attention to be taken in the 2nd round of the open phase. He’s yet to mess up a snap in his career.
Overall Grade: B+
The Dragons have put together quite the roster here, with a great mix of proven NFL talent and young potential. Jim Zorn’s West Coast offense should thrive with his talented passers, big possession targets and speed/power runners. They invested early and often at the TE position, and I think that will pay big dividends. The front seven here is rock solid, and the secondary could be the best in the league. All around, there’s a lot to be excited about with the Dragons.
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Milt Stegall, Mike Hogan and Guilio Caravatta join us to preview week 7 of...