PJ Walker Is a Phenomenon Waiting to Happen

Kyle Koster
PJ Walker has a lot to like.
PJ Walker has a lot to like. / XFL/Getty Images
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PJ Walker was the breakout star of the brief XFL experiment. The Houston Roughnecks quarterback threw for 1,336 yards and 15 touchdowns while leading his team to a 5-0 record. He was electric and must-watch television if you were choosing to spend some of your time watching the grooming school of a league.

It became almost immediately clear that he was destined for bigger things. And with XFL operations shutting down and players free to join NFL teams now, it's no surprised the Carolina Panthers came calling. Walker is the first of the XFL hopefuls to make the jump. He'll be reunited with rookie head coach Matt Rhule, with whom he spent four years at Temple.

It's unclear what role the Panthers are envisioning for him. Teddy Bridgewater is the presumptive starter. Kyle Allen performed moderately well in fill-in duty last season. Rhule obviously knows what Walker is capable of and it wouldn't be surprising if he went to a Taysom Hill- or Marcus Mariota-type package at times.

What is plainly evident is that Walker will become an instant fan favorite both in the Carolinas and nationwide. He marries a fantastic story with the ability to amaze on the field. That's the perfect recipe for a craze.

Think Tebowmania or Linsanity. That might be a high end for Walker's potential. There's a reason why he wasn't in the NFL before his small-sample-size dominance. But it's fun to dream. And that's exactly what fans and neutral observers alike will be doing by attaching their hopes to his success.

We should all keep a foot resting on the brakes of expectation. At the same time, the Panthers clearly have some sort of plan as to how he could help them win football games. If he starts actually doing that, things will begin to get fun.

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