For the first time since 2001, the XFL has undergone a successful weekend of play. With new innovations that included three-point conversions and a unique kickoff system, various players received their opportunities to shine.
Here are four names that specifically stood out:
Offensive Player of the Week: QB P.J. Walker, Houston Roughnecks
In a 37-17 win over the Los Angeles Wildcats, Walker managed to display an excellent debut. He finished 23-of-39 passes for 272 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He also added 26 rushing yards on Saturday. Prior to the XFL, Walker spent three preseasons with the Indianapolis Colts.
Through the course of the season, the XFL isn’t expected to display a lot of consistent talent. However, Walker started out on the right foot by completing passes to eight different receivers.
Defensive Player of the Week: CB Deatrick Nichols, Houston Roughnecks
While the Roughnecks offense seemed to be the backbone in their 37-17 win over the Los Angeles Wildcats, the defense stepped up to the plate as well. Nichols added to one of the team’s five sacks on the day, and came away with an interception as well. With a total of five tackles and two pass deflections, this was a bright start to his XFL campaign.
After being drafted in the 39th round by Houston in the XFL Draft, his role will likely increase as the season progresses. He previously spent one season with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie in 2018, appearing in two games.
Offensive Player of the Week Runner-Up: WR Austin Proehl, Seattle Dragons
Proehl made history for the Seattle Dragons on Saturday, becoming the first player to catch a touchdown pass in the revival of the XFL. He ended up finding the end zone again later on, totaling five receptions for 88 yards and two scores. There were other players with more receiving volume, but it was clear that Proehl established himself as the top receiver for Seattle.
After being drafted by the Buffalo Bills as a seventh round pick in 2017, he previously spent time on the practice squads for the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams before joining the XFL.
Defensive Player of the Week Runner-Up: DE Bunmi Rotini, New York Guardians
The Guardians managed to holds the Tampa Bay Vipers to three points on Sunday, and it was in large thanks to the pressure placed on quarterback Aaron Murray. For Rotini, he finished with seven tackles, which included a sack and a forced fumble.
The undrafted rookie spent minimal time with the Chicago Bears before they waived him. Perhaps this season, he can make a name for himself in the XFL.
Offensive Honorable Mentions: QB Cardale Jones, DC Defenders; WR Nelson Spruce, Los Angeles Wildcats; WR Daniel Williams, Tampa Bay Vipers
Defensive Honorable Mentions: LB Jameer Thurman, DC Defenders; LB Steven Johnson, Seattle Dragons; LB Tegray Scales, Dallas Renegades
Photo Credit- Houston Press