Denver Broncos giving sleeper XFL QB a shot to make the team

Vegas Vipers v Seattle Sea Dragons
Vegas Vipers v Seattle Sea Dragons / Ali Gradischer/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos are in search of a fourth quarterback to potentially take to training camp along with Russell Wilson, Jarrett Stidham, and Jarrett Guarantano. They could have drafted someone or signed someone as a priority undrafted free agent, but instead, the Broncos are looking for players in more unconventional ways.

Leaving no stone unturned, the team has invited a handful of former XFL players to their upcoming minicamp, including former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci, who led the XFL in passing this season and impressed enough to at least get an invitation to an NFL camp. A seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of James Madison, DiNucci appeared in three games for the Cowboys and actually started a game for them as a rookie.

He was with the Cowboys through August of 2022 before ultimately getting let go at final roster cuts, then getting drafted by the XFL's Seattle Sea Dragons in November, 2022.

For DiNucci, getting an opportunity to get some actual on-field reps in a game setting is huge. Everyone understands that the XFL is not the NFL, and it speaks volumes that some of the top performers in the NFL were not just signed to NFL teams outright, but given invitations to minicamp.

It's a lot different than the now-defunct AAF which had players getting signed to 90-man rosters as soon as the league disbanded.

At any rate, DiNucci's inclusion in the Denver Broncos' minicamp roster is fascinating and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the former Cowboys draft pick get signed to the 90-man roster when all is said and done. It's pretty typical to see teams keep four quarterbacks on the 90-man roster and in this day and age of the NFL, it's probably the wise thing to do.

The Broncos have cycled through a few quarterbacks in recent years, of course, and Russell Wilson is actually coming off of a year in which he dealt with way more injuries than anyone really realized. He had the torn lat, he had the torn hamstring, he was dealing with a nagging knee injury, and he suffered a scary concussion late in the season.

Jarrett Stidham was brought in as a potential future starter and top-tier backup, and the Broncos hoarded Jarrett Guarantano on the roster starting late last season, poaching him off the Cardinals practice squad.

As for DiNucci, it's an interesting opportunity. He threw for 267 yards per game in the XFL with 20 passing touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and over 300 rushing yards with three more touchdowns on the ground.

His journey to the NFL has been about as unique as you will find, starting off at Pittsburgh and transferring to James Madison where he started for two seasons. After the 2019 season, the pandemic hit and completely derailed the pre-draft process for a lot of guys, including DiNucci, who didn't get invited to the Combine and wasn't able to have a pro day.

Even still, his tape was impressive enough to catch the eyes of the Cowboys' staff, and they selected him in the 7th round before ultimately giving him a chance to actually play in his rookie season. Again, considering the context of the ongoing pandemic at the time, it had to have been a lot to take in.

In the XFL, DiNucci's head coach was Jim Haslett, somewhat ironically the coach Sean Payton replaced on the New Orleans Saints back in 2006.

Can the former 7th-rounder out of James Madison continue to progress in his pro football career and make the Broncos' 90-man roster? We'll find out after the team's minicamp this coming weekend.

Next. Denver Broncos 53-man roster prediction post-Draft. dark