The XFL works. PJ Walker started as an undrafted roster bubble QB3 in Indianapolis, cut and resigned no less than 11 times to the practice squad. He signed on with the XFL and ended up with the Houston Roughnecks, where he beat out Connor Cook for the starting job and put up 5 straight dominant performances as the league’s unquestioned MVP.
That caught the attention of the football world, and most importantly his former coach, Matt Rhule. They had been together at Temple and turned that program around, and now Rhule had earned a job as the Panthers’ head coach.
Carolina invested early in XFL talent, and today have 3 players in the roster, as Walker, TE Colin Thompson and S Kenny Robinson pave the way for other players to make it in the NFL.
Walker has performed spot duty so far this year, and after Teddy Bridgewater has been officially ruled out with an MCL sprain, PJ will make his first NFL start over their 2019 draft selection Will Grier.
Special teams talent from the XFL has already made an impact in the NFL this year as Sergio Castillo and Hunter Niswander have made their first starts, with others waiting in the wings. PJ Walker however, is the first XFL player to start on offense or defense in the 2020 season, and this is a historic landmark for the league.
They have proven that they can find diamonds in the rough, let them shine on the field and catch national attention. This league is not just about watching great football in the spring, its about keeping the dream alive for the hundreds, if not thousands of players who are grinding every day to get their names up in lights.
We’re eagerly awaiting kickoff, and while making his first NFL start is no easy task, PJ Walker will be ready. He knows the system, he knows his coach, he knows what it takes to be an NFL player and he’s proven that he can perform against pro talent.
With weapons like Robby Anderson, Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore he will have plenty of opportunity to put the ball up. Despite the absences of Christian McCaffrey and Russell Okung on offense, he is set out to prove that he is more than capable of being the next man up.