QB Jordan Ta’amu – St. Louis Battlehawks
Over the next three players, I want to specifically talk quarterbacks. Howie Roseman will always draft a quarterback in the NFL draft, but clearly, that was a waste of a pick last season with Clayton Thorson. Nate Sudfeld just received an extension, but Josh McCown retired after a tough loss in the 2019 NFL Wildcard round to the Seattle Seahawks. Give Jordan Ta’amu a look. He threw five touchdowns and two interceptions, totaling 1,050 yards in the abbreviated XFL season.
Finishing his collegiate career at the University of Mississippi, Jordan Ta’amu threw for 3,918 yards and nineteen touchdowns while rushing for 342 yards and six touchdowns. He finished second in the SEC behind Tua Tagovailoa, who played three more games. Briefly, Ta’amu was signed by the Houston Texans but released in the same month. He was the only quarterback out of the first eight drafted in the XFL to not have any NFL experience. Ta’amu finishes the XFL season with a 101.3 passer rating.
QB Josh Johnson – Los Angeles Wildcats
Here is a quarterback that probably has nightmares about the Philadelphia Eagles. Josh Johnson started a game for the Washington Redskins in a season where Alex Smith and Colt McCoy both were injured. Johnson threw for a total of 91 yards and an interception in week seventeen of 2018 against the Eagles. For a brief period, after his stint with the Redskins, Johnson was signed and released by the Detroit Lions in just over a month. Of these three quarterbacks on the list, Johnson has the size that NFL scouts look for.
An NFL journeyman of sorts, Josh Johnson has quietly been around the NFL since the 2009-2010 season. He was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL draft. Johnson wouldn’t make his first appearance in the NFL until 2009-2010 against the New York Giants, replacing Byron Leftwich. His best stretch in the NFL was the 2010-2011 season with the Buccaneers, making his first career start against the Washington Redskins. He played eleven games that season and had a passer rating of 95.6 before Josh Freeman became his successor.
QB PJ Walker – Houston Roughnecks
The final quarterback on this list, and the best that the XFL had to offer, is PJ Walker. Walker outpaced the other XFL quarterbacks in passing yards by nearly three-hundred yards. He should undoubtedly be on the Philadelphia Eagles radar because he is a local product. Playing his college football at Temple University, he was a part of Matt Rhule’s Owls team from 2013-2016. This includes the season when Temple hung in tough against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Going into the 2017 NFL Draft, PJ Walker was ranked the 32nd best quarterback available. He signed to the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent and spent his time on the Colts practice squad before lighting up the XFL. A lot of things could have worked differently for Walker during his time in the NFL. Perhaps if Indianapolis knew of Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement, Walker would still have a spot on that NFL roster. Now that he is available, it cannot hurt to stash him on the Philadelphia Eagles roster.
It’s a high probability that a player from the XFL still has something to give to an NFL roster in 2020. It’s early in the free-agency period and the offseason is brand new. The Philadelphia Eagles are going to make some moves with the cap space they have available. A smart idea is to always find talent for a small contract. After all, the Eagles have been making the playoffs off the backs of practice squad players for the last two seasons.
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports