For the 5 weeks, the XFL was in play, quarterbacks like PJ Walker, Landry Jones, Josh Johnson, and Cardale Jones showed how valuable their NFL experience was and if given the chance could become stars in the XFL.
PJ Walker exploded on the scene with his versatile style of play, doubling as a gun-slinging quarterback and a dynamic playmaker with his legs. Landry Jones underwhelmed at times but never seemed to let it rattle him like when he threw 2 first-half interceptions against the LA Wildcats but turned it around in the second half with a touchdown to Donald Parham to score the first passing touchdown in that game.
Cardale Jones became, during the first two weeks of the season, an early frontrunner for MVP. Josh Johnson missed the first week of XFL action but showed how capable he is as a quarterback in the Week 5 Sunday night matchup against the Tampa Bay Vipers where he went 20 for 36 and threw for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to victory.
Experience matters, but there is nothing wrong with injecting youth into a well structured roster and giving quarterbacks who are unproven, a shot to run a offense in professional football.
Now that the league has new owners and a return to the gridiron looks likely, I think the new owners should evaluate quarterbacks who have spent time in the NFL, but never got a true chance to shine or compete for a roster spot.
#1 Josh Rosen
The former 10th overall pick hasn’t had the best luck so far in his short NFL career. Rosen appeared in 13 games as the starting quarterback for the Cardinals and posted a 3-10 record. In 2019 he was traded to the Miami Dolphins and the Cardinals found their immediate replacement by way of the draft by selecting Kyler Murray with the first overall pick.
Rosen appeared in 3 games for the Dolphins as the starting quarterback going 0-3 and was ultimately benched in favor of journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins also drafted Alabama product Tua Tagovailoa in the first round of this year’s draft burying Rosen on the depth chart. Many scouts and experts during the 2018 draft said Rosen threw the best deep ball out of all the quarterback prospects in the draft but most were concerned about his ability to stay healthy.
Rosen is an interesting name to keep an eye on. He hasn’t had the chance to flourish in the NFL mostly due to coaching changes and not having the proper time to develop into the promising quarterback talent he once was expected to be. He would be a solid option to vet and would be another big name fanbases would recognize.
#2: Deshone Kizer
The former 52nd overall pick in the 2017 draft began his career in Cleveland, and actually beat out Brock Osweiler, who the Browns traded for that offseason, Cody Kessler, and Kevin Hogan in training camp.
During the 2017 season, he threw for just under 3,000 yards. 11 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions. Later he was traded to Green Bay, and most recently suited up for the Raiders but never saw playing time during his time in Oakland.
Before Kizer declared for the draft in 2017, his head coach at Notre Dame Brian Kelly stated “he needed more time in college to truly develop”, which was apparent during his three seasons in the NFL.
As we now know, the XFL is the perfect league for quarterbacks who are young and never had a true opportunity to compete for a roster spot in the NFL like PJ Walker now with the Carolina Panthers, and Jordan T’aamu now with the Chiefs. Both quarterbacks were on NFL rosters before becoming the up and coming stars they were in the XFL. Kizer has that same potential.
#3: JT Barrett
Barrett’s name will forever live in the college football history books. He broke Drew Brees longstanding record for most offensive yards with 12,697 yards over his career, he never threw more than 10 interceptions in a single season and maintained an above-average completion percentage (63.5%) throughout his entire college career.
Barrett went undrafted but signed a 3-year deal as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints, and was later assigned to their practice squad. Barrett had small stints with Seattle, a second stint with the Saints, and recently with the Steelers who released him earlier this month. Barrett does not have in-game experience in the NFL, but you can’t deny the potential he possesses.
#4: Shea Patterson
Patterson, a Michigan and Jim Harbaugh product, spent a small amount of time in the NFL after signing with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent but was released prior to the beginning of training camp. Patterson is a athlete in his own right. Not only was he a highly sought after quarterback in high school but he was also drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 39th round of the 2018 draft and was scheduled to attend spring camp with the team before his first year at Michigan.
Patterson is known for his ability to improvise and throw on the run, but struggled with being consistent and accuracy while at Ole Miss and Michigan. In my opinion, Patterson would be a nice fit in most of the systems in the XFL, like June Jones high powered offense in Houston. With his skill set and his college experience under Jim Harbaugh, with the right coach he could become a special talent.
It is yet to be seen if some of the quarterbacks who were apart this league last year would return, with exception of PJ Walker and Jordan T’ammu who both landed NFL jobs, but I firmly believe if there are any spots open, these guys would be an ideal fit for XFL 3.0.
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