In their never-ending search for Russell Wilson’s backup, the Seahawks might have found their answer in XFL quarterback P.J. Walker.
What the Seahawks and 12s all hope is that whoever happens to be Russell Wilson‘s backup never is forced to enter a game. That would mean something very bad has happened and Seattle would be a lesser team. Wilson, thankfully, has never missed a game in his eight-year career and hopefully he never will. But that seems unlikely as everyone misses a game or three over their careers.
So Seattle has a near-yearly search for Wilson’s backup. Last year Geno Smith was backup to Wilson and the year before that it was Brett Hundley and the year before that it was Austin Davis. The Seahawks go through more Russell Wilson-backups than Hogwarts does Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers. But 2020 could bring a new era of Wilson backup in the form of the XFL’s P.J. Walker.
Walker leads the first-year XFL in touchdown passes (15 – no one else has more than 7) and yards (1,338 – no one else has more than 876). He is second in quarterback rating at 104.4. He has also been sacked 6 times (third-most in the XFL), so right in line with how many times a Seahawks quarterback should expect to get hit. Meaning, a lot.
Walker has good arm strength. What hurts him is his size as he is 6-foot even and 200 pounds. This is slightly taller than Wilson but about 20 pounds lighter. The question would become could he take the punishment that Wilson does as much as Wilson is hit. The answer, by the way, is no. Because no one else could endure the hits Wilson takes and keep playing at a high level.
Still, the Seahawks sent scouts to watch Walker play on Saturday as Walker’s Houston Roughnecks played the Seattle Dragons. Walker threw 2 interceptions, one returned for a touchdown and had another pass that should have been intercepted. He also fumbled once. But he also managed to throw 3 more touchdown passes and lead his team to a 32-23 win.
That last part is important because the Seahawks like winners and Walker is a winner. His Roughnecks are 6-0 this year. In college at Temple, not a school normally assumed to be good, he led his team to a 10-4 record his senior season.
Walker also can run a bit as he has run the ball 24 times for 99 yards and a touchdown in six games with the Roughnecks. He’s mobile, so he can run the same kind of offense Wilson does. This is, snap the ball, wait 2 seconds for the protection to break down, improvise and make a great play. Well, that is Wilson anyway. Walker is unproven that he can do that in the NFL.
Here is another important thing about Walker. He was on the practice squad with the Colts in 2017. This is also when current-Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was in the same position with the Colts. So Schottenheimer knows about Walker and maybe he put a buzz in John Schneider’s ear.
Walker is free to sign with any NFL team once his XFL season ends. The XFL championship is on April 26th, one day after the NFL draft ends. It could be that by April 27th, Russell Wilson has a new backup and his name is P.J. Walker.