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One of the benefits of the startup football leagues — like the XFL — is that they provide an opportunity for players to showcase their talents for a potential NFL gig. Seattle Sea Dragons quarterback Ben DiNucci, who led the XFL with 2,671 passing yards in 10 games, did just that. And, after a strong performance during rookie minicamp, the Denver Broncos signed DiNucci.
While DiNucci piled up the passing yards, he threw 20 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. That’s not the greatest ratio. And, he didn’t made the All-XFL team. That honor went to XFL Offensive Player of the Year, D.C. Defenders quarterback Jordan Ta’amu.
While Ta’amu waits to see if he gets an NFL shot, DiNucci secured his. The Denver Broncos already have three quarterbacks on the roster. Russell Wilson, the starter, Jarrett Stidham, his backup, and third-stringer Jarrett Guarantano who the team signed off their practice squad in December.
It’s unlikely DiNucci unseats Stidham for the backup role. Stidham has NFL experience and started two games for the Las Vegas Raiders last season after Derek Carr left the team.
But DiNucci can compete for the #3 quarterback role against Guarantano. And going from XFL quarterback to third-string NFL QB is certainly an upgrade.
DiNucci completed just under 65% of his passes for the Sea Dragons. He was one of two XFL quarterbacks to eclipse 2,000 yards passing, along with former NFL QB AJ McCarron.
McCarron had a great season, too, throwing for 2,150 yards in nine games, with league-bests in completion percentage (68.8%) and touchdown passes (24).
McCarron hasn’t played in the NFL since 2020. But despite not winning Offensive Player of the Year or making the ALL-XFL team, McCarron took hom MVP honors for the league.
It remains to be seen if McCarron did enough to earn another go-around in the NFL.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak