The Seattle Sea Dragons have finished putting together their 2023 roster. For now.
Seattle added 13 more players on Day 2 of the 2022 XFL draft, a day after adding athletes such as wide receivers Kevin Shaa, former Washington tight end Joshua Perkins, cornerback Chris Jones from Nebraska, and defensive lineman Elijah Ponder in a 44-round first day of selections.
The first three rounds of Thursday’s draft were focused on specialists, and Seattle kicked things off by taking former Alabama long snapper Thomas Fletcher. Fletcher won the Patrick Mannelly Award in 2020 as the nation’s best long snapper, and was picked in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers waived Fletcher last August after he missed his rookie season with a hip injury.
Former University of Georgia punter Cameron Nizialek was next on the board for the Sea Dragons. Nizialek played for the Alliance of American Football’s Atlanta Legends in 2019, and has since spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
At kicker, Seattle drafted former Arizona State and Mississippi State player Brandon Ruiz.
The draft then shifted to open rounds, which Seattle used to beef up its offensive and defensive lines. The Sea Dragons took Wisconsin First Team All-American Josh Seltzner with its first open pick, followed by Sama Paama, a 6-foot-4, 347-pound former University of Washington defensive lineman who retired from college football in 2020.
Seattle took another defensive lineman with its third pick of the open rounds, in Rutgers graduate Julius Turner, a 6-foot, 275 pound “ball of energy” defensive tackle who went undrafted in the 2022 NFL draft due to his relative lack of size at nose guard.
Seattle took a pair of wide receivers with its next two picks, Blake Jackson and McLane Mannix. Jackson is a former quarterback who led the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to a since-vacated Division III National Championship in 2016. Jackson played with the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks in 2020, and has also spent time with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, and Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Mannix caught 2,002 receiving yards in a college career that he split between Nevada and Texas Tech.
In rounds six and seven, the Sea Dragons took former Ball State linebacker Jaylin Thomas, and Erik Hansen, a two-time All-America defensive end at Upper Iowa University who set the program record with 24.5 career sacks.
Seattle added another defensive tackle in the eighth round, in 6-foot-1, 297 pound Memphis grad O’Bryan Goodson, who had eight tackles for loss and four sacks in his senior season.
The Sea Dragons passed in the ninth round, but then finished the selection process by picking former University of Cincinnati and Ferris State defensive back Alex Thomas, and one-time Indiana Hoosiers running back Morgan Ellison.
Thomas led Ferris State with 12 pass breakups his senior year, and finished second with five interceptions on the season, while Ellison rushed for a career-high 704 yards as a freshman at Indiana in 2017, and won the school’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year award.
With the draft over, the Sea Dragons’ new players have eight weeks to prepare for training camp, which begins on Jan. 9.
XFL teams will have another chance to add players during the supplemental draft, which will take place in early 2023 and focuses on players who are currently under contract with another football team, or who were not selected in the first XFL draft.
The XFL season kicks off Feb. 18.
Seattle Sea Dragons Day 2 draft selections
- Thomas Fletcher, Long Snapper, Alabama
- Cameron Nizialek, Punter, Georgia
- Brandon Ruiz, Kicker, Mississippi State
- Josh Seltzner, OL, Wisconsin
- Sama Paama, DL, Washington
- Julius Turner, DL, Rutgers
- Blake Jackson, WR, Mary Hardin-Baylor
- McLane Mannix, WR, Texas Tech
- Jaylin Thomas, LB, Ball State
- Erik Hansen, DL, Upper Iowa
- O’Bryan Goodson, DT, Memphis
- Alex Thomas, DB, Ferris State
- Morgan Ellison, RB, SE Louisiana