The first season of the XFL was canceled after the midway point of the regular season due to the coronavirus pandemic, which means players will soon be able to sign contracts with NFL teams.
There was some initial confusion as to when players could sign, but that has been cleared up now. The XFL told its players on Friday that they can sign with NFL teams on March 23rd, according to reports.
On that day you can expect plenty of XFL players to start signing contracts in the NFL. During training camp and the early part of the preseason, NFL teams are allowed to have 90-man rosters. So while many names might not end up on final rosters, there should be a lot of players who at least get opportunities.
When the AAF shut down last year, more than 50 players ended up signing contracts with NFL teams. But when the 53-man roster cuts came down, only 18 players made rosters or practice squads. A few players made an impact such as Greg Ward Jr., who became a starting receiver for the Eagles near the end of the season, finishing 28-254-1 on the year
As for the XFL, let's look at 10 players who could make an impact in the NFL in 2020.
P.J. Walker, QB, Houston Roughnecks
Can't wait to see @pjwalker_5 back on the field again 🚀🚀
Watch all SIXTEEN of his touchdowns for the @XFLRoughnecks this season ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/RpCKl1bJNt
— XFL on FOX (@XFLonFOX) March 18, 2020
Any XFL-to-NFL list is going to have Walker's name on it, and for good reason. He dominated the XFL, leading the league in passing yards (1,338) and touchdowns (15). He had the second-highest QB rating (104.4) and showed off his mobility with 99 rushing yards in five games.
Walker has already reportedly drawn interest from a few teams.
NFL source: The @Seahawks, @AZCardinals and @Broncos have contacted the Houston Roughnecks (@XFLRoughnecks) inquiring about quarterback PJ Walker (@pjwalker_5).
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 20, 2020
As the teams above suggest, it's unlikely Walker would just join an NFL team as a starting quarterback. Garrett Gilbert dominated the AAF but was relegated to third-string quarterback for the Browns last season. Walker could earn a job in the future, but don't expect him to get a starting role right away.
UPDATE: Walker has signed a 2-year deal with the Panthers.
Kenny Robinson, S, St. Louis BattleHawks
Robinson is a special case, as he was the only player in the XFL with college eligibility remaining. (We spoke with Robinson recently and covered his story in more detail here.)
As for his NFL prospects, Robinson is eligible for the NFL Draft and will likely get selected. The Atheltic's Arif Hasan told us Robinson is likely a Day 3 draft choice, and he likes Robinson's chances to be drafted, "particularly in the sixth round."
Pro Football Focus' lead draft analyst Mike Renner tweeted he'd take Robinson "in the third (round)."
S Kenny Robinson Jr.:
9 INTs in 28 games between West Virginia and the XFL
Don't forget about the best ball-hawk in the draft class pic.twitter.com/IboxADLNpz
— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) March 20, 2020
Robinson finished his XFL season with two interceptions and a sack along with 17 solo tackles.
Cam Phillips, WR, Houston Roughnecks
Cam Phillips earned the XFL's "Star of the Week" award three times (out of five) as he continued to dominate defenses on a weekly basis. Outside of one bad game, Phillips produced ridiculous numbers in his five starts.
He finished with 31 receptions, 455 yards and 9 touchdowns, leading the XFL in all categories. At just 24, Phillips is a promising young wideout. With 84-, 50- and 48-yard scores on the season, he should draw interest from teams looking for a deep threat receiver.
Donald Parham, TE, Dallas Renegades
Heading into the season, it seemed as if the XFL was severely lacking in talent at tight end. That was mostly true, as not many had success, but Donald Parham came out of nowhere to impress.
Parham is an interesting player, standing tall at 6-8 but not much bulk at 237 pounds. He turned out to be a great receiving threat in Dallas, finishing fifth in the league in receptions (24), third in the league in receiving yards (307) and second in the league in receiving touchdowns (4). He