As most of you know, the XFL draft took place this past week in a total of five phases. I will be reviewing all 71 players that the Seattle Dragons drafted phase by phase over the next few weeks starting off with QB assignment and phase one.
QB Assignment: Brandon Silvers
I was not really expecting to get Silvers here but boy was I excited when we got him. Silvers threw for over ten thousand yards and had a 71:29 TD to Int ratio from 2014-2017 at Troy. I was not really too familiar with him at Troy but I watched every single one of his AAF games and the guy is a baller. While his AAF stats were solid (64% completion, 799 yards, 4TDs, 2ints), it was how he gave life to a previously lifeless team that impressed me. The Memphis Express were a 1-win team and Silvers made this team go toe-to-toe with two of the best teams in the AAF. Zachary Gartin (@The_Sideline10 on twitter) charted Brandon Silvers’ accuracy in the AAF and it was fairly impressive. He charted Silvers as 70% accurate (77% short, 67% medium, 47% deep). Silvers threw short 43% of the time which sets up great for Seattle’s weapons (Trey Williams, Jace Amaro, Keenan Reynolds, John Santiago). Overall, I think Silvers will get the job done as the Dragon’s QB and should be able to go toe-to-toe with anyone.
RD 1: RB Trey Williams
What are the chances! Anyone that followed my work in the AAF knows that I was a HUGE Trey Williams fan and even I did not expect him to go this high. I am not complaining though, as Williams will be electric for the Dragons and was definitely handpicked by Mike Riley. Mike Riley was the head coach for the San Antonio Commanders in the AAF, which is where is connection to Williams is. William averaged 5.0 YPC in the AAF and I would expect him to be used in an Alvin Kamara type role for the Dragons. He should get plenty of work, both on the ground and in the air and will be a centerpiece of this offense
RD 2: RB Kenneth Farrow
In round 2, Zorn and the Dragons go right back to a Commander RB. Farrow was Williams running-mate in the AAF and actually handled a bigger workload than Williams (106 carries for 372 yards). I would expect Farrow to take the Mark Ingram role and be a good 1-2 punch with Williams. Farrow could handle some more short-yardage work as he had 4 TDs in the AAF. It will be interesting to see how this RB split shakes out but based on draft capital, these two have the upper-hand early.
RD 3: WR Fred Ross
For their first WR, the Dragons nabbed the Mississippi State product, Fred Ross. Ross balled out at Mississippi State posting 199 catches for 2528 yards and 22 TDs in a little over 3 seasons worth of game. Ross is a good athlete, as he runs a 4.51 40 at 6’1 213 lbs. After watching some highlights, Ross possesses sneaky big-play potential and has an inside track to be the Dragon’s #1 WR based on draft capital.
RD 4: TE Jace Amaro
Amaro probably has the highest NFL draft capital spent on him as he was picked in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL draft. Amaro went on to have 41 catches for 404 yards and 2 TDs in 17 games for the Jets. It was obviously not what the Jets were hoping for but maybe Amaro can find some success in the XFL. He should get the first crack at being the TE1/chainmover for the Dragons but will have to perform in training camp as they drafted 6 TEs.
RD 5: WR Keenan Reynolds
Reynolds was another player that was drafted previously in the NFL draft, albeit this time in the 6th round. Reynolds played briefly for 3 NFL teams with the hometown Seahawks being the most recent. Reynolds, who is a converted QB, projects to be the starting slot receiver for the Dragons at 5’9 190 and could be another target for Silvers over the middle of the field. Reynolds is a very slippery runner, he could get an opportunity to be a return man and if he’s not a starting receiver he will be a guy that they manufacture screens or end-arounds for.
RD 6: TE Evan Rodriguez
The Dragons took their second TE of the phase here in the sixth round and it was their third San Antonio Commander. Rodriguez was a guy who really came around in the last 3 weeks of the AAF catching all 8 of his targets for 139 yards and a TD. OC Mike Riley is obviously selecting players he is familiar with and that does not bother me. Rodriguez turned into a pretty solid option once he settled in and he already knows Riley’s offense so he has the potential to be a big contributor from the start. He should see plenty of action in 21/31 personnel and will battle with Amaro in training camp for the #1 job.
RD 7: WR Kasen Williams
When they weren’t picking Commanders, they were picking former Seahawk guys. Williams has bounced around to a few NFL training camps but he had his most success in Seattle where he flashed during the preseason. Williams has really good hands and showed his ability to make spectacular catches with the Hawks but was surprisingly cut and could not stick anywhere. Kasen will compete with Fred Ross and Malachi Jones to play on the outside and it will be interesting to see what kind of circus catches he can make in the XFL.
RD 8: WR John Santiago
In round 8, the Dragons picked the electric North Dakota RB (designated as WR in the XFL). Santiago was a 3-time All-American and had 6592 all-purpose yards in college and was just a straight baller. NFL Draft Scout Ric Serritella said his best value was as a return specialist but he could also play slot receiver at the next level due to his open-field elusiveness and catching ability. Like Reynolds, Santiago could play slot for the Dragons but if not he will definitely be a manufactured touch player and return man. Santiago is a player I am really interested in seeing this winter.
RD 9: TE Cam Clear
Mike Riley goes back to the Commander connection has he picks another Commander TE. Clear had 10 catches for 72 yards over the course of the AAF season and was mainly used as a blocker. Clear is a big physical blocker that will probably be used in jumbo sets as a run blocker. Riley did like him enough to take him again though so maybe they have a bigger plan for him here in Seattle.
RD 10: WR Malachi Jones
Talk about a steal. Malachi has shined in both the arena football league and AAF and should contribute for the Dragons in the XFL. Jones has 22 catches for 312 yards and 2 TDs in the AAF and was the top option for the Atlanta offense. Jones should challenge for the “X” receiver role in camp but will most likely get a role either way. He provides a medium between the towering Kasen Williams and Fred Ross and the diminutive Keenan Reynolds and John Santiago.
Overall, this team will have an advantage in the fact that 4 of these players are already familiar with Mike Riley’s offense. The 3 TE approach was a little surprising to me but Riley got guys he was familiar with and this shows to me that they want to run the football. Farrow and Williams should be major contributors to this offense but don’t be surprised if a player from the open phase works in here. The WR rotation is wide open. Ross and Williams are big-bodied outside receivers and Santiago and Reynolds will be gadget type/slot players while Jones is in the middle. The offense should be pretty balanced but it will all come down to Brandon Silvers.
17-year-old football fan. Team Reporter for Seattle XFL.