Who is Ben DiNucci? Former Cowboys QB looking to spark NFL comeback with XFL’s Sea Dragons
Dedicated football fans may remember Ben DiNucci. He helped the Cowboys fill the void left by Dak Prescott’s season-ending injury in 2020.
Now 26, DiNucci is hoping to get back on the NFL teams’ radar and is trying his hand at the XFL. He beat Steven Montez and Harrison Frost to become the starting quarterback for the Seattle Sea Dragons. He now has an extended chance to show the football world what he can do.
Led by former Saints coach Jim Haslett, the Sea Dragons hope DiNucci’s NFL experience translates into XFL success on the field and in the movie room.
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The Sporting News takes a look at how DiNucci got here, including a recap of his college and NFL careers.
Who is Ben DiNucci?
DiNucci was drafted by the Cowboys at No. 231 in 2020 after a long and winding collegiate career.
Seventh-round picks don’t typically start as rookies, Brock Purdy and Skylar Thompson notwithstanding, but DiNucci found himself center for the Cowboys after both Prescott and Andy Dalton went down in 2020.
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Not only did DiNucci see his dream come true, he also got the opportunity to start a prime-time game against division rivals the Eagles. The Cowboys led at halftime but were shut out in the second half. Dalton took over for the remainder of the season after recovering from a concussion.
DiNucci fell behind Garrett Gilbert on the Dallas depth chart but remained on the practice team until being cut just before the 2022 season.
He was assigned to the Sea Dragons in November and is one of only a few quarterbacks in the XFL with NFL playing experience, along with AJ McCarron and Brett Hundley.
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Where did Ben DiNucci go to college?
DiNucci spent three seasons with Pitt. He was the Panthers’ leading passer in 2017 when he shared time with Kenny Pickett and Max Browne. After Pickett claimed the starting job late that season, DiNucci moved to FCS James Madison.
The decision turned out to be wise. He was able to show off his talent to NFL scouts by throwing for 3,441 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior in 2019 and leading the Dukes to the FCS championship game.
It was enough to make DiNucci the 11th of 13 quarterbacks selected in the 2020 NFL Draft and one of seven from that draft class to start the regular season.
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Ben DiNucci NFL Stats
DiNucci was sacked seven times in just over one game, leaving him with little chance with an exhausted Cowboys team that finished the 2020 season 6-10.
Still, he was given more chances than most round seven players, and the XFL will give him and others a chance to command a pro offense for a full season.