The XFL was seen as a developmental league for the NFL when it began. For the first time, we could see the rewards from the league. Carolina Panthers quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, has been listed as questionable leading up to Week 11. PJ Walker, the former star quarterback at Temple, and the XFL, could see the pro stage for the first time in his career.
Despite leaving Temple with multiple records to his name, Walker was undrafted in 2017. Walker was the AAC Championship Game MVP, the all-time leader in wins, passing yards, passing touchdowns, and total touchdowns. Yet, not a single team across all seven rounds wanted to take a chance on him. With Bridgewater potentially out, Walker could be QB1 for the Panthers on Sunday.
Starting At The Bottom
From online betting sites in America to online casinos with NZD, there was no organization that viewed Walker as a top quarterback in the draft. That led to the Indianapolis Colts signing Walker as an undrafted free agent. At 5-foot-11, Walker was did not fit the prototypical stature of a future starting quarterback in the league, but the Colts took a chance.
Walker stayed with the Colts, leading their practice squad, from 2017 to 2019. When the XFL emerged, it was too much of an opportunity for Walker to display his talents, so he elected to bolt from the up and coming league. Walker’s former teammate, Andrew Luck, encouraged Walker to go to the XFL, as his father, Oliver, was the XFL Commissioner at the time.
The XFL assigned Walker to the Houston Roughnecks, and the rest was history. Walker won the starting job in Houston, and would become a No. 1 contender for the league’s MVP award. Before the pandemic shut the XFL down, Walker led Houston to a perfect 5-0 record. He completed 119 passes out of 184 attempts for 1,338 yards, 15 touchdowns to just four interceptions, and a passer rating of 104.4.
When the Panthers hired Matt Rhule, it seemed like the perfect match. Rhule found great success at the University of Baylor running a similar offense to what Walker ran in Temple and in Houston. Minor league football really played out well for Walker, as he eventually was picked up by the Panthers before the start of the 2020 NFL season.
Walker has made two appearances this season. His NFL debut was on October 30 against the Atlanta Falcons, where he completed one of four passes for three yards. Last week, Walker subbed in for Bridgewater against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Walker completed two of four passes for 12 yards. With the way the week is shaping up, Walker could very well lead the team right out the gate.
If Walker gets this start, it will help revive the NFL’s significance. We have already seen former St. Louis Battlehawks safety, Kenny Robison, suited up for the Panthers’ secondary. Former Tampa Bay Vipers tight end Colin Thompson scored a touchdown this season for Carolina. The pandemic nearly wiped away the XFL completely until Dwayne Johnson became a part owner of the league. A former XFL quarterback making an NFL start would mean that the league can continuously supplement NFL talent for the future.