Today was a big day for the NFL, all franchises were forced to trim down their rosters to 53. Going into this weekend we saw a lot of former XFL players get tryouts and even signed by multiple NFL teams.
Now that the dust has settled, we wanted to look at the four former XFL players that made the initial 53-man rosters for their respective teams.
PJ Walker – Carolina Panthers
PJ Walker finished his Houston Roughnecks debut as the league’s top passer in terms of both yards and touchdowns, throwing for 1,338-yards and 15 TDs compared to just four interceptions while guiding Houston to an undefeated 5-0 early season. A walking highlight reel for the XFL, Walker originally went un-drafted out of Temple in 2017. He spent the first two years of his career on and off the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad, where he learned under Andrew Luck and Jacoby Brissett.
After the XFL was forced to suspend due to the coronavirus, Walker became the first player to be signed by an NFL team when he joined the Carolina Panthers. Walker was joined by his #1 target, Cam Phillips, but unfortunately he was released earlier this week. As it stands now, it looks as if PJ Walker is in good position to become Bridgewater’s backup in Carolina. I suppose we’ll just need to wait and see.
Donald Parham – Los Angeles Chargers
Parham led XFL tight ends in yards and receptions, totaling 24 receptions for 307 yards and four touchdowns for the Dallas Renegades. He was the only tight end in the league to have a 100-yard receiving game. Prior to joining the XFL he spent some time with the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins during the 2012 offseason.
Now Parham has another chance to shine in the NFL due to his stellar performance in the XFL. We’ve seen Parham on HBO’s Hard Knocks, now we’re hoping to see him on the field this fall.
Storm Norton – Los Angeles Chargers
Norton was selected first overall in the second phase by the Los Angeles Wildcats in the inaugural XFL Draft. Before his time with the Wildcats, Norton was a standout at the University of Toledo. He went on to move between a few NFL teams without ever seeing action on the field.
In 2016, Toledo had the seventh-best offense in the country (517.8 per game) and ranked in the top-20 nationally in scoring (38 points per game). Norton started every game in 2015 and 2016 at left tackle, earning first-team All-MAC recognition both seasons, as well as being named to the AP All-Bowl Team in 2015.
Former BattleHawks safety, Kenny Robinson was the only draft-eligible player from the 2020 XFL season. Robinson decided to make the jump to the XFL to help boost is NFL draft chances; the gamble seems to have paid off.
Robinson proved to be a ball hawk during his time in the XFL and at the collegiate level. In five games with the BattleHawks, Robinson had two interceptions in the eight passes thrown his way. At West Virginia, Robinson nabbed three interceptions — including two for scores — as a freshman. He followed that up with four picks as a sophomore in 2018.
These four guys are all examples of how why the XFL worked. All four were at different crossroads in their careers, but now all are proving their worth in the NFL. We expect to see a lot of the XFL players that didn’t make the cut to be picked up this Sunday as teams build their practice squads.
We’ll keep you posted as more news come out around this matter. Until then, which XFL players would you like to see in the NFL? Which players would you like see return the the XFL? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.