Whereas the XFL is an outstanding league by itself, everyone knows that each soccer participant desires of sooner or later making it to the NFL. The XFL’s 2020 season has seen extra of its stars make it to the NFL than any spring or developmental soccer league in current reminiscence, possibly ever. Over 30 gamers made it to NFL rosters, with 12 on lively rosters, and 13 on apply squads as of press time.
A number of the XFL’s finest and brightest have made their option to the 2020 common season, and whereas making the roster out of 1000’s of accessible gamers is a feat of its personal, they’re starting to crack lineups and show that that spring soccer works. In truth, two huge playmakers are poised to make their impacts in coming weeks as alternatives come up.
QB PJ Walker – Carolina Panthers
3/8 Passing, 15 Yards
The XFL’s most seen star was simply Roughnecks passer PJ Walker, and he’s really competing to make his first begin this weekend in Carolina. Paired up together with his school coach in Matt Rhule, Walker has stepped in for Teddy Bridgewater in restricted motion already this yr. Now with Bridgewater resting his knees, PJ has been neck and neck with Will Grier to take over underneath middle.
He’s solely tried 8 passes in spot responsibility this yr, however its clear that Matt Rhule trusts his arm. Sometimes when a backup enters the sport the offense leans on the run recreation predictably, however on PJ’s first play he took a deep nook shot to Robby Anderson within the endzone. They didn’t join, however within the last drives of that recreation they schemed up some huge vertical routes.
With veteran expertise and an excellent connection together with his coach, I (with full acknowledgement of my bias) imagine that Walker has the sting over Grier, who has but to seek out success within the professionals.
In his first actual shot within the professionals, Walker demonstrated a exact arm, nice mobility and elite pocket consciousness, and those that adopted the Houston Roughnecks know that the Detroit Lions could possibly be in for a shock if he makes the beginning.
RB Austin Walter – San Francisco 49ers
3 Rush Yards, 61 Return Yards
The Dallas Renegades’ speedy working again/return specialist holds the XFL report for longest TD with after an electrical 97 yard return for a rating. He’s fielded some kickoffs for the Niners already this yr, and is now really the final man standing of their backfield.
San Francisco has had horrible luck at working again this yr with Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Jeff Wilson Sr., Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty taking place with harm. They may have an opportunity to coax certainly one of these again into the lineup after their Week 11 BYE, however because it stands Walter is the one wholesome RB on this room.
The possibility to run in a legendary Shanahan dashing assault must be a really enticing prospect for the younger participant, and he provides nice worth as a rusher and receiver. We’ll hold monitor of the 49ers secure shifting ahead, however it could possibly be his time to shine.
TE Donald Parham – Los Angeles Chargers
3 Rec, 54 Yards, 2 TD’s
Phrase is lastly spreading about Donald Parham, and in only a handful of snaps he’s already made a big impact on this group. 3 Receptions for two TD’s is extraordinary, and he’s set to be a near-unstoppable red-zone risk on this league.
How do you cowl a man who’s 6’8″ ultimately zone? The straightforward reply is no person is aware of. He’s simply scratching the floor of his soccer potential, and I’ve been excessive on him because the XFL Draft a yr in the past. I gave their Tight Finish group a B- as an entire although, so possibly I wasn’t excessive sufficient.
He’s hounding for snaps behind Hunter Henry, and I imagine Justin Herbert will come to depend on him an increasing number of as time goes on.
TE Colin Thompson – Carolina Panthers
1 Rec, 7 Yards, 1 TD
The Panthers had been early patrons of XFL expertise, and their funding in Thompson has already paid dividends. With only one reception, he’s already scored his first TD on this league.
One other Matt Rhule participant from Temple, he began incomes his snaps as a blocking TE and eventually scored on his first NFL catch in Week 10. Together with his school QB doubtless taking the helm this Sunday, he may emerge as a security valve for PJ Walker on this offense.
LB Edmond Robinson – Atlanta Falcons
7 Tackles, 1 QBH
Robinson was a key piece within the Roughnecks protection in 2020, racking up 22 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 3 QBH and a compelled fumble/restoration in simply 5 video games. He was a dynamic disruptor within the entrance seven, and has labored his method into the lineup in Atlanta.
He’s making an impression on particular groups, however has additionally been in a position to generate some move rush on restricted snaps. His success as a 3-4 edge rusher in Houston may translate into the NFL as he continues to develop on this roster.
S Kenny Robinson – Carolina Panthers
1 Deal with
Because the XFL’s first college-eligible participant, Kenny Robinson has been a trailblazer for what this league could be. After placing up some nice movie and serving to lock down the again finish of the BattleHawks protection, he was a seventh Spherical Choose by Carolina.
He made the apply squad, and after being elevated to the lively roster he has develop into a gradual presence on particular groups. Because the Panthers have locked down each beginning security spots with Tre Boston and Justin Burris, Robinson will carve out a task for himself right here on particular groups as he develops.
He’s additionally simply 21 years outdated, and with the bodily instruments and instincts he possesses, the restrict is sky excessive.
Okay Sergio Castillo – New York Jets
6/7 FG, 4/4 XP
The XFL is proving fertile floor for aspirant kickers to flash their abilities, and it makes excellent sense. Theirs is a solitary recreation, and so the product they placed on the sector within the XFL is strictly what NFL groups can count on to see at this degree. The extent of competitors isn’t any issue right here, so groups know what they’re getting with XFL kickers.
Sergio Castillo was rocksteady for the Renegades, and the New York Jets ended up calling his quantity when the necessity arose. He’s already proven off a booming leg, hitting a 55 yard subject objective, and is solidifying his maintain on the job.
P Hunter Niswander – Dallas Cowboys
2 Punts, 79 Yards
The DC Defenders had a rock stable punter in Niswander throughout the 2020 season, and he averaged 44.6 yards/punt within the XFL. The Cowboys misplaced Chris Jones to core muscle surgical procedure on November seventh, and signed Niswander to fill in. He’s had simply 2 punts in his first NFL recreation, and is ready to show that the XFL can be a superb place for groups to seek out particular groups expertise at Punter.