We’ve learned a lot about the XFL through three weeks, and some surprise names have dominated at quarterback
One of the first steps the relaunched XFL took in building each team's roster was to assign a quarterback to each franchise prior to the league's inaugural draft, which was held in mid-October. Teams submitted a preference list to the XFL, and the league assigned one Tier-One quarterback to each team.
But things change quickly in this league. The Los Angeles Wildcats traded Luis Perez to the New York Guardians after signing Josh Johnson, and Aaron Murray lost his starting job with the Tampa Bay Vipers after one game. Even New York's Matt McGloin was benched during halftime of their Week 2 loss.
Between college football stardom and/or appearances in the short-lived Alliance of American Football, all eight quarterbacks assigned to teams have some level of name recognition. Here's our ranking of the eight new faces of the XFL:
1. P.J. Walker – Houston Roughnecks
Walker owns most of Temple's passing records after four years leading the Owls, and he has continued that success in the XFL after spending three years on the Colts' practice squad. He easily beat out former Michigan State Spartan and Oakland Raider Connor Cook for the starting job in Houston and leads its high-powered offense. Walker has thrown 10 touchdowns through three games — with no other quarterback surpassing six — and only has one interception. He's a threat on the ground as well, where his 104 yards and 6.1 yards per carry are second among all quarterbacks.
2. Jordan Ta'amu – St. Louis BattleHawks
Ta'amu passed for 3,918 yards in his lone full season as a starter for Ole Miss in 2018 and finished 18th in the nation with a 153.54 passer rating. He's showing that's not a fluke in the XFL. The Hawaii native has a league-high 75.2 percent completion rate through four games and leads all signal-callers with 186 rushing yards. At an impressive 8.0 yards per attempt, Ta'amu has been one of the more pleasant surprises in the league.
3. Josh Johnson – Los Angeles Wildcats
Johnson has been around the block. After nearly eclipsing 10,000 passing yards in his prodigious career at San Diego, he has played for 13 NFL teams, albeit with only eight starts. Maybe he just needed to return to a smaller stage. Although he missed the season opener with a thigh injury, Johnson has absolutely lit up the XFL with a league-leading 106.0 passer rating and 8.0 yards per attempt. He's the only passer in the league with one or fewer interceptions and may quickly move up the list.
4. Landry Jones – Dallas Renegades
Jones was the first player to sign with the XFL, and the league has hoped he could be the face of the league. That's taken some time due to an early-season knee injury that cost him a game, but he's coming around into form. The former Sooner looks good in his reunion with his old head coach, Bob Stoops, and he's completed 69.4 percent of his passes on 6.6 yards per attempt through Week 4. Jones ran an impressive Air Raid offense at Oklahoma for four years, and the Renegades looked poised to dominate through the air with this dynamic duo again — if he can stay healthy.
5. Cardale Jones – DC Defenders
Jones played like an MVP early on, but turnover problems have caught up with him as the season has progressed. His arm strength is as tantalizing as ever, which he showed off by passing for 499 yards in the first two games. However, he has five interceptions and no touchdowns in his latest two contests. Jones has the talent to be higher up on this list, but he'll need to get his completion percentage closer to where it was in junior year at Ohio State (62.3 percent) than where it is currently (55.0 percent).
6. Brandon Silvers – Seattle Dragons
Silvers struggled to get looks in the NFL after a career as a four-year starter at Troy, but he made a name for himself in the AAF. He beat out former Power 5 stars Christian Hackenberg and Zach Mettenberger to start for the Memphis Express, and his 86.1 quarterback rating ranked third in the short-lived league thanks to a low turnover rate. Silvers has taken a step back in the XFL with a 52.0 percent completion rate and 5.3 yards per attempt through four games. His grip on the starting job over B.J. Daniels is tenuous at best.
7. Matt McGloin – New York Guardians
McGloin was a three-year starter at Penn State after arriving on campus as a walk-on and eventually broke school records for completions (270) and passing yards (3,276) in a season. McGloin was again doubted, going undrafted in 2013, but he spent parts of five seasons as an NFL backup. However, he hasn't been able to keep the magic going in New York, where his 52.5 percent completion rate and 5.3 yards per attempt are last in the league. His lack of arm strength has been an issue at times. A rib injury also forced him out of Week 4, and he may lose his starting job to Luis Perez.
8. Taylor Cornelius – Tampa Bay Vipers
The Vipers expected to start former Georgia Bulldog great Aaron Murray, but he got the hook after one disappointing game. Head coach Marc Trestman has cycled in Quinton Flowers at times, but Cornelius has taken over as the nominal starter for the last remaining winless team in the XFL. His leash may not be long, as his 2-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio leaves much to be desired, and he has failed to complete 60 percent of his passes in two of his
(Top photo courtesy of @XFLRoughnecks)