The Denver Broncos held their rookie minicamp this past weekend at the newly revealed Centura Health Training Center in Dove Valley.

As Denver’s rookie draft class got acclimated to what an NFL practice looks like, the team also held tryouts for several veteran players over the weekend.

With rookie minicamp in the books, the Broncos have signed quarterback Ben DiNucci and running back/fullback Jacques Patrick to their 90-man roster for training camp and the NFL preseason.

DiNucci comes to the Denver Broncos after being on the Dallas Cowboys roster last season, specifically during Dallas’ joint training camp practice against the Broncos. More recently, DiNucci played in the XFL for the Seattle Sea Dragons where he led the league in passing yards (2671) and passing touchdowns (20) while throwing 13 interceptions.

The Sea Dragons went 7-3 on the season before falling to the DC Defenders in a rematch from Week 1 in the North Division Championship Round.

He did enough to make an impression on Broncos head coach Sean Payton over the course of his three day tryout with the team. During the second day of tryouts, DiNucci threw an interception that was snagged by third-round rookie linebacker Drew Sanders and returned for a touchdown.

Payton joked with DiNucci about the interception as Broncos owner/CEO Greg Penner was observing practice.

“Unfortunately for [QB] Ben DiNucci, it was his first interception and there was more to that interception if you looked at it,” Payton joked. “It was a good play by [ILB Drew] Sanders and it was right in front of [Owner & CEO] Greg Penner. I was telling Greg before practice how this Ben DiNucci was doing well. I told Ben—I said, ‘You know, he owns Walmart. If it doesn’t work out here, I’m sure there’s a greeting opportunity somewhere at one of his local stores.’ (laughs) It was good play by Drew, [he had] a good break.”

DiNucci joins the Broncos quarterback room featuring Russell Wilson, backup Jarrett Stidham, and Jarrett Guarantano. He figures to compete with Guarantano for the team’s third spot at QB, which is likely to carry over into the regular season roster considering Payton’s history of having three players at the position on his roster.

Joining DiNucci from the professional tryouts is Jacques Patrick who comes over from the XFL’s San Antonio Brahmas. Patrick finished the 2023 XFL campaign as the league’s second-leading rusher with 443 yards and five rushing touchdowns.

Patrick joins a loaded running back room that features Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Tony Jones Jr., Damarea Crockett, Tyler Badie, and undrafted rookie free agent Jaleel McLaughlin.

While Payton’s offense is heavily predicated on running the football effectively, ensuring that Denver’s key backs don’t take on too much unnecessary contact is pivotal during training camp and the preseason.

On the other hand, Payton has been a long-standing fan of running backs making the roster as undrafted rookie free agents.

In 2007, the Saints drafted Antonio Pittman in the fourth-round of the NFL Draft, but ended up cutting him in favor of undrafted back Pierre Thomas who went on to have a valuable career in New Orleans.

“We just talk about—fortunately, in my history in New Orleans, [we had] a number of [college] free agents on opening day rosters in 15 years, we were [ranked] first,” Payton said. “Number of undrafted free agents that played the most amount of snaps in their first year, we were first. When you’re on the phone after the draft and you’re recruiting, having 16 years of that [and having] to convince a player to come because once they get here, there’s tape on their helmet with their name and now we just go by what we see. How they got here at this point is of no importance to us.”

Both Patrick and DiNucci’s path may have taken some detours throughout their professional careers, but as they begin again with the Denver Broncos — they’ll have a completely new slate to work with and build upon.