Though we had 47 players go from the XFL to the NFL this offseason, the number that made it through cut day is much smaller. While this is a tough day for football hopefuls, we hope to see the rest of the XFL alumni back on the field either with us, or somewhere else in the NFL.
The Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Chargers have kept two players each, moving forward into the regular season, and these are some of the very best and brightest the XFL had to offer.
QB PJ Walker – Panthers
He would have easily been the XFL’s MVP. The star QB has found an NFL home, alongside this college coach in Matt Rhule. Behind Teddy Bridgewater, some have projected him to fill the QB3 role behind Will Grier, but I disagree. Grier strikes me as more of a developmental prospect, and while he could rise to fill his 3rd round potential, he had a rough outing in his rookie campaign.
In two starts, he was 0-2, completed 53.8% of his passes and threw 4 picks, with no scores. I still think he has NFL talent, but a 33.2 passer rating doesn’t inspire much confidence as a QB2 heading into the 2020 season. Walker however, is coming off a stellar XFL debut, and has 3 years of NFL experience with the Colts.
In a QB room with 3 spots, coaches typically keep their starter, a veteran backup and a developmental guy. Walker strikes me as the backup in this depth chart, and we hope he can continue his story in Carolina.
FS Kenny Robinson – Carolina
You love to see it. Kenny Robinson has gone from WVU standout, to become the XFL’s first college-eligible recruit, and he has now found a home in the Panthers secondary. The young DB will sit behind veteran Tre Boston on the depth chart, but should get his share of reps in.
Playing in the Air-Heavy NFC south could be a baptism in fire, but it could be a crucible as well. Robinson flashed some eye-popping potential on the field with the BattleHawks, and at 6’2″ with his speed, he could be called on to help contain some of his division’s more towering receivers and tight ends.
The 5th rounder seems to have carved out a role for himself in this defense, and will hope to establish himself in the NFL this season.
TE Donald Parham – Chargers
The massive prospect led all XFL tight ends in receiving in 2020 after a wildly productive career at Stetson. It’s little surprise that he made the Chargers roster, and he could actually make an impact this year.
QB Tyrod Taylor heavily favors TE’s in the passing game, and while Hunter Henry is the incumbent starter, I could see Parham easily carving out a role as a slot target over the middle and up the seam. With his size (6’8″), speed and hands, I have high hopes for Parham in his endeavors here.
OT Storm Norton – Chargers
The Wildcats starting LT has earned a gig in Los Angeles again, with the NFL this time. The 6’7″, 317 pound tackle will compete with Trey Pipkins III for the swing tackle job behind Sam Tevi and Brian Bulaga, and he has 3 years of NFL experience to draw on, as well as his time starting in the XFL.
The Chargers have had issues solidifying their bookend spots in recent years, and after the departure of Russell Okung, shoring up the position is more important than ever. Norton is entering a good situation. He did a stellar job protecting Josh Johnson’s blind side in 2020, and will hopefully make an impression with the Chargers.
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