Week 1: Quarterback scouting reports
As the 2020 XFL season kicks off Saturday, get to know who'll take snaps.
Read about the quarterback scouting reports for all four matchups.
Seattle Dragons @ DC Defenders
Brandon Silvers (Troy)
How You Know Him: Silvers was a standout college player at Troy, best known for a major upset over LSU in 2017. He played in the 2018 Senior Bowl as one of the country’s best senior quarterbacks and, although undrafted, received an opportunity with the Saints after the draft. He played in the AAF a year ago, breaking out as the starting quarterback for the Memphis Express, beating out quarterbacks like Zach Mettenberger and Christian Hackenberg.
What You’ll See: A gunslinging, strong-armed quarterback, Silvers is an aggressive downfield and perimeter passer who, once he gets hot, can lead his offense with explosive upside. The live-armed passer can be streaky, but his accuracy in the seam and vertically could lead to a stream of big plays.
Cardale Jones (Ohio State)
How You Know Him: Known best for his three-game run as the Ohio State quarterback in 2014, when he won the Big 10 Championship and two College Football Playoff games to lead his team to a National Championship. He entered the 2016 NFL Draft and was selected by the Buffalo Bills. Jones played in just one game in Buffalo in 2016 and was traded to the Los Angeles Chargers a year later. He played for the Chargers and Seahawks before opting to play in the XFL this season.
What You’ll See: Talent has never been an issue for Jones. The 6-foot-5, strong-armed, athletic threat can create inside and outside the pocket. With a natural release and the ability to drive the ball all over the field, Jones can manage an offense downfield with quick, decisive throws, and then attack downfield at a moment's notice to one of DC’s many vertical weapons.
Los Angeles Wildcats @ Houston Roughnecks
Jalan McClendon (Baylor)
How You Know Him: Expected to fill in for Josh Johnson (thigh) as the team’s starter, McClendon is a former N.C. State and Baylor quarterback who wrestled with college playing time but impressed with the Redskins in the 2019 pre-season. He’s greatly impressed the Wildcats coaching staff, enough for them to trade Luis Perez, their former top backup.
What You’ll See: A tall, impressive-looking passer, McClendon boasts tight-spiraled, strong-armed throws that should be utilized by offensive coordinator Norm Chow early and often in the Wildcats offense. Despite having dual-threat ability and a strong arm to the perimeter, look for McClendon to show off his composure and patience as a passer -- something the LA staff greatly appreciated during training camp -- and lead this versatile offense on long drives.
P.J. Walker (Temple)
How You Know Him: A four-year starter at Temple, Walker ended a productive college career with an opportunity with the Colts. After competing for the backup job for three seasons, Walker moved onto the XFL to compete for a starting job.
What You’ll See: An athletic, strong-armed passer, Walker has made defenders miss and stretched defenses vertically since his freshman year in college. He’s flourished in June Jones’ offense, where he doesn’t have to do as much improvising, but his mobility and arm talent are more so additional weapons than necessities for the Roughnecks, making him especially dangerous.
Tampa Bay Vipers @ New York Guardians
Aaron Murray (Georgia)
How You Know Him: A four-year starter at Georgia from 2010-2014, Murray finished his career as one of the most productive SEC quarterbacks in history, finishing with 137 total touchdowns. He was drafted in in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, and he played for the Cardinals, Eagles and Rams during his NFL career.
What You’ll See: Maybe the league’s most refined mobile quarterback, Murray can manage a game effectively from the pocket and improvise when the play breaks down. Murray’s creativity and accuracy in the mid-field should make him a consistently efficient XFL passer.
Matt McGloin (Penn State)
How You Know Him: McGloin was a former walk-on-turned-starter for the Penn State Nittany Lions, breaking out during his senior year in 2012 under current NFL head coach Bill O’Brien as one of the country’s most efficient passers. He earned a spot on the Raiders, starting six games in his rookie season despite going undrafted. He played in 13 games in his Raiders career and suited up for the Eagles, Texans and Chiefs before playing in the XFL this season.
What You’ll See: Consistently exceeding expectations since college, McGloin has the aggressiveness and anticipation across the field to create big plays out of tough situations, while carrying the attitude and confidence to convert on big downs and late game opportunities. He’s an educated gunslinger and a quarterback who isn’t rattled easily.
St. Louis BattleHawks @ Dallas Renegades
Jordan Ta’amu (Ole Miss)
How You Know Him: A two-year starter at Ole Miss, Ta’amu played with three future NFL receivers, including rookie breakouts A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf. Ta’amu played for the Texans during training camp. He was able to beat out former NFL quarterbacks Taylor Heinicke and Brogan Roback for the starting job in Battlehawks training camp.
What You’ll See: Despite being just a year out of college, Ta’amu’s mental and anticipatory progression as a passer has been outstanding for the BattleHawks. He has the arm talent and short-area mobility to evade tacklers and drive the ball downfield, and his placement in the seam and on the perimeter should maximize the length this receiving and tight end corps has.
Phillip Nelson (East Carolina)
How You Know Him: Nelson, who's expected to spell Landry Jones for likely just one week, played at Minnesota and Rutgers before landing at East Carolina, where he started one full season running a similar to current offensive coordinator Hal Mumme. Nelson most recently earned playing time in the AAF with the San Diego Fleet.
What You’ll See: Nelson has consistently won over coaching staffs wherever he’s been, and that’s due to his ability to evade and improvise in the pocket, fight through contact, and avoid the big mistake. Nelson has the accuracy in the short and mid-field and confidence inside and outside the pocket to be a capable, if not strong, quarterback for the Renegades.