Seattle Sea Dragons Pass on Selecting a Quarterback, Load Up on Weapons

With every quarterback on the roster receiving NFL interest for the Sea Dragons, and one of them being a 2023 NFL Draft Eligible player, the Sea Dragons and DPP Randy Mueller chose not to select a quarterback in the rookie draft. Despite this fact, the Sea Dragons had one of the most interesting draft classes of any XFL team in 2023.

With a front office, and coaching staff full of veteran coaches, and former NFL executives; Who did they select and which players are the most likely to make an immediate impact in 2024?

Entire 2023 Rookie Draft Class

Let’s start with the most interesting note from this draft class. Seattle selected two different Kansas defensive linemen, also adding Wes Moeai a very productive space eating nose tackle from Rocky Mountain.

The Kansas Two-Step

Sam Burt

6’4 295 pounds

Defensive Tackle/Defensive End

College Kansas 17-22

Burt began his career strictly playing special teams showcasing his ability to get involved in other ways. This continued in 2018 when he again appeared on special teams in every game for his first year.

Finally in season three Burt got more involved on defense. He would play in all ten games, and see his first start. He also saw some time at defensive end displaying his versatility and viability as a 3-4 defensive end.

After six seasons Burt had played in 58 games with 22 starts (21 of which came after his junior year). Even though he played in a lot of games his impact didn’t translate to the star line like you might expect.

He would graduate and declare for the 2023 NFL Draft with 50 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, and 1.5 sacks. (which ironically all came in one game against Iowa State in October. While he might lack production, he doesn’t lack the necessary play strength to make it in the XFL having put up 30 reps in the benchpress at his pro day. He also ran a 5.26 40-yard dash, with 1.82 and 2.98 10 and 20 yard splits, with a 26.5 inch vertical, and 7.67 3 cone drill.

These numbers are not far off the average times run by NFL defensive tackles. I personally believe Burt is a guy who will turn some NFL heads if he can have a productive XFL season. However he doesn’t have an easy path to a roster spot or playing time with Utsey, and Paama still on the roster. You also have Tisdale who can play inside or outside. I put his chances at making the roster at 50/50.

Malcolm Lee

6’5 255 pounds

Defensive End

College: Iowa Western CC 18, Kansas 19-22

Originally a JUCO product out of Iowa Western community college, Malcolm Lee quickly put his name on the map at that level. As a freshman he started and collected 43 tackles, including ten for a loss, and five sacks. This had him ranked 33rd overall on 24/7 Sports JUCO Rankings.

He would receive offers from Florida Atlantic, Houston, Iowa, Iowa State, and Louisville among others. Over the next four seasons, Lee would play in 44 games starting 32 of them, 4 of which came his first year with Kansas. However he would only produce 3 sacks. With his size, I believe some teams shied away due to his production in this area.

Stopping the run however is his speciality with about 10% of his career tackles resulting in a loss. He did however find other ways to impact the passing game logging 4 batted balls, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. Somehow started four games at defensive tackle despite being very undersized, and no where near the desired play strength for an interior defensive lineman.

However he has the kind of long arms, and first step that should translate into better production if he can develop the mental side of his game. At his pro day he managed a 4.65 40 yard dash, (on his only clean attempt due to a pulled hamstring) with a 1.60 10 yard split, a 34.5 inch vertical, and 15 reps in the bench press. His wing span of 79 inches, with 32 5/8 arms is going to play to his advantage at the professional level.

He also brings scheme versatility able to play outside linebacker and nearly every facet of special teams when called upon. This is a great value pick and a name to watch in 2024 behind Joseph and Tisdale as a rotational rusher who might see some time as a stand up rusher as well.

Biggest Surprise

Titus Swen

5’11 206 pounds

Running Back

College: Wyoming 2019-2022

On the surface, Seattle doesn’t really need a running back. Morgan Ellison, Brenden Knox, Scottie Phillips, and Phillip Lindsay on the roster. They ran for the third most yards in the league with 962, averaged more yards per carry than any other team, tied for the highest first down percentage in the league and had the second most carries for 10+ yards in the league with 32. To put that into perspective they were behind only DC who had 41, they also ran the ball 113 more times than the Sea Dragons.

So why draft a running back? Well…that question disappears very quickly when you look at the player. Just a couple months ago Swen held a personal pro day at his high school.

Here are his results:

Broad Jump: 10 feet, 9 inches

Vertical Leap: 36 inches

Bench Press: 13 reps

Not sure why, but they didn’t produce the results of his 3 cone drill or 40-yard dash. Swen was famously dismissed from the team just weeks after he put up over 200 yards rushing, the Cherry on top of his first 1,000 yard season. In four years and three seasons (Swen sat out the 2020 season to help his father who is a nurse after he contracted COVID 19) he managed 406 carries for 2,161 yards, 5.3 yards per carry and 16 touchdowns. He added 22 receptions for 178 yards while playing in 31 games.

While there are obviously questions about what led to his dismissal from the team, he has since looked to the professional ranks for his next opportunity. He had hoped to land with the NFL, but they had other plans. Swen spent some time with the Indianapolis Colts earlier this offseason but didn’t stick on the roster. Now just months removed from the NFL draft he sees his name drafted by the XFL. As I said before he will not be handed a thing, and expected to prove he deserves a role in this offense. At the very least he makes for a very intriguing addition. However he isn’t my MOST intriguing pick from this class.

Chadarius Townsend

6’0 205 pounds

Wide Receiver

College: Alabama 17-19, Texas Tech 19-22

Chad Townsend is a very interesting player. Originally he committed to Alabama after a stand out career as a quarterback at Tanner High School in Alabama. He had racked up over 2,700 yards of total offense and 35 touchdowns in his final season showcasing how dangerous he could be. However most of his production in high school came as a runner, so he projected to other positions in college.

In his redshirt freshman season with Alabama he enrolled early to participate in spring ball and help his chances of finding a position to focus on and start getting acclimated. He redshirt this first year allowing him to focus on learning his new position groups; running back and wide receiver.

In his redshirt freshman season Townsend was involved on special teams in 12 games while seeing time at running back and wide receiver as well. As a sophomore he seemed to get more looks on offense and saw 8 carries for 22 yards, while still playing special teams as well. After the 2019 season he decided to transfer to Texas Tech in search of a larger role. He found one with the Red Raiders.

He was used as a runner, receiver, as well as on special teams as a gunner and return man. He would total 21 offensive touches for 122 yards and 1 touchdown, as well as 9 kick returns for 179 yards. In 2021 he saw his role diminish on offense with just 10 carries for 65 yards, and he had 11 kick returns for 216 yards. In his final season with Texas Tech he saw action in two games before an injury ended his college career early.

A utility player like this could have a lot more value in the XFL than he does to an NFL team that can carry 69 players and have players who focus on one or two positions. (53 active, 16 practice squad) Townsend didn’t see any NFL interest due to his rather paltry performance.

However a player like him in the XFL is much more valuable when he can feasibly serve as depth at two offensive positions, act as the emergency quarterback, and play all facets of special teams as well.

If you’re wondering how he made it into this draft class even after all that consider this: At his Pro day he ran a 4.45 40-yard dash, with a 1.56 10 yard split, had a 7.26 3-cone drill, a 36 inch vertical, and put up 18 reps of 225 pounds. He could be an interesting player to follow in 2024.

Offensive Line Help In-Coming

Des Holmes

6’5 320 pounds

Offensive Line

College: Penn State 17-21, Arizona State 22

Des Holmes has played quite a bit of football at the collegiate level. After redshirting as a freshman at Penn State he played in five games as a redshirt freshman seeing time on offense and special teams. He would play in 13 games as a sophomore, helping Will Levis and Sean Clifford have solid season. During their bowl game he helped pave the way to tie a Cotton Bowl record with five rushing touchdowns, and 396 rushing yards a program record.

In 2020 he played in four more games, before following it up with 12 more appearances in 2021 making it 33 total to this point. Arriving at ASU as a graduate transfer he started 10 games including the final 6 straight at right guard. Holmes has some position flexibility having started at both right guard and tackle last season for ASU.

Prior to that at Penn State, he had literally played every position other than center at some point. He saw snaps at left tackle, left guard, right guard, and right tackle. This is another player whose versatility could prove to be the reason he makes the Sea Dragons roster as a depth piece that can provide depth at every position. This is invaluable at this level, especially considering he did so over 43 games.

Jazston Turnertine

6’7 336 pounds

Offensive Tackle

College: Hutchinson CC 18-19, South Carolina 20-21, FSU 22

Jazston Turnetine is a very interesting player who played at three different colleges. Originally starting his career at the JUCO ranks he eventually saw himself ranked 6th by 247 Sports in the pool of JUCO transfers. Won 19 games at Hutchinson on their way to two Salt City Bowl Game victories.

He found his way to South Carolina after receiving many other offers from D1 programs looking to add the mammoth tackle. Over the next two seasons he would play in 18 games with 10 starts all at left tackle. During his seven starts in 2021 the South Carolina offense average 27 points, and 392.7 yards per game, an unbelievable stretch.

Moving on to FSU as a senior he played in all 13 games starting 10. He earned the Don Powell award voted as the unsung hero by his peers. During his stint with FSU he added right tackle, and right guard to his resume seeing all his starts at right tackle. It also just so happens that 2022 was his highest graded year (62.7 overall) at the D1 level. His best games came against Clemson, Syracuse, and Florida as he graded out 67.2 or higher, peaking at 75.8 versus Duquesne University.

At worst Seattle gains a swing tackle, at best they might have drafted their future right tackle. Regardless building the trenches should always be a priority. Mueller and company seem to agree.

Final Words

Versatility whether it be positional or scheme, is the biggest takeaway from this draft class. Not one player stuck at one position his entire collegiate career. It seems that this is something that appeals to the Sea Dragons. The logic is sound when you’re up against a wall to find borderline NFL talent while competing with the CFL, and USFL for talent. This class includes all the hallmarks of an impactful and well rounded class filled with a wide range of players that have played a lot, and some who have barely seen the field.

Stat Credits,, 24/7 Sports and As well as Individual college websites.

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