XFL 2020 quarterback power rankings: P.J. Walker clear No. 1, and here’s how the rest of the top 5 stack up

If you can believe it, we’re about to hit the halfway point of the XFL season. The playoffs are still far away and as the last two weeks have shown, anything can happen. Still, one theme has been apparent from teams enjoying success and teams scrambling to find it: quarterback play is key. 

It’s not everything — ask Tampa Bay, whose defense and ground game have stepped up recently — but it does make life a whole lot easier. And as I’ve written in the past, if the XFL can unearth hidden gems at quarterback and put a shine on ’em, this league has a real chance of survival. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top five signal callers heading into Week 5. The only rule here is that someone has to have made at least two starts to give a limited body of work at least some flesh. 

Season stats are courtesy of our <em>stats page</em>

1. P.J. Walker, Houston Roughnecks

Season stats: 92/147, 987 yards passing, 12 TDs, 2 INTs, 104 yards rushing, 1 TD

You were expecting someone else? The runaway favorite for league MVP has been a slingin’, scootin’ highlight reel since the opener. He leads everyone in passing yards and touchdowns and by far looks like the most likely quarterback to get picked up by an NFL franchise. The knocks on Walker are obvious: he’s small (5-foot-11), a little erratic with his accuracy, not the most athletic guy for the position (though he certainly isn’t lacking), and probably needs the right fit to thrive, but there’s no denying he can ball. The XFL has unquestionably done wonders for his potential and he’s unquestionably done wonders for the league’s entertainment value and visibility. He’s a star. 

2. Jordan Ta’amu, St. Louis BattleHawks

Season stats: 82/109, 876 yards passing, 5 TDs, 2 INTs, 186 yards rushing

Walker sucks up so much air in the league’s MVP conversation that it’s easy to forget how efficient Ta’amu has been. He’s completing about 75% of his passes and actually has a higher passer rating than Walker (105.9 to 104). He’s been money in passing down situations and his two interceptions, both in a loss to Houston, weren’t exactly his fault. On top of that, he leads all quarterbacks with yards on the ground. Based on the usage alone you could argue he’s been the more valuable quarterback to his team. Ta’amu is a clear No. 2 for this list, and not by the margin a lot of people would expect based on press coverage.   

3. Josh Johnson, Los Angeles Wildcats

Season stats: 61/99, 788 yards passing, 7 TDs, 1 INT

One of the more familiar quarterbacks in the XFL, Johnson has been solid in three starts. His ratio of touchdowns to interceptions is tops among QBs and it’s not like you can pin the Wildcats’ 1-3 start on his shoulders. Even though he was rusty in a Week 2 loss to the Renegades, he mostly outplayed Landry Jones. Johnson then played out of his mind against DC in Week 3 and was decent enough in the loss to New York. Wildcats running back Martez Carter has praised Johnson for his brains, telling CBS Sports that Johnson could run the offense himself without the help of a coach. Johnson probably can’t get L.A. to the playoffs by himself, but the Wildcats definitely aren’t sniffing them without him. 

4. Taylor Cornelius, Tampa Bay Vipers

Season stats: 56/89, 558 yards passing  2 TDs, 4 INTs

Here’s where the drop-off really begins as the numbers start to fall. To Cornelius’ credit, though, he’s been competent in three games and has gotten a little better every week. One thing he has going for him now is a running game. The Vipers have one of the best ground attacks in the XFL with De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick, who are two of the top three rushers in the league. That’s opened things up for the intermediate passing game and Cornelius (with a little assist from Quinton Flowers) has succeeded in that environment. He hasn’t been the breakout star like Walker or Ta’amu, but he’s been a little more solid than the numbers indicate — which is more than you can say about a lot of quarterbacks in the league. 

5. Cardale Jones, DC Defenders

Season stats: 61/111, 674 yards passing, 4 TDs, 6 INTs

Oof. Jones would be higher on this list if it was published two weeks ago. But in DC’s two consecutive losses, Jones has been outright abysmal and the Defenders have scored a whopping nine points with one touchdown (in garbage time). A home game against the BattleHawks isn’t exactly a typical get-right game, either. Still, Jones showed off a lot of physical traits in the first two weeks with his arm strength and some pocket mobility. His strength and size are assets, and while he has not been the most accurate quarterback, he’s still nailed some nice throws to his talented wideouts. The whole body of work keeps Jones in the top five, but with the way he and the Defenders are trending, that might not be the case soon. 

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