My XFL mid-season all-pro team

Houston Roughnecks quarterback PJ Walker. (Credit: XFL.com)

At the midway point of the regular season, here is my all-star/all-pro team. This is just my opinion, although I do back these up with a lot of statistics. There is a ton of talent in this league, a lot of players deserve to be recognized but I could only select very few from each position.

QB – PJ Walker (HOU)

This was honestly a lot harder of a decision than I thought it would be. Josh Johnson and Jordan Ta’amu have very impressive cases for this spot but I had to stick with PJ. Walker leads the league in yards (1338 passing, 99 rushing), in touchdowns (15 passing, 1 rushing) and his team is 5-0. Walker should continue his impressive tear into the second half of the season and find himself back on an NFL roster.

RB – Cameron Artis-Payne (DAL)

CAP is one of two running backs with 350+ total yards, averaging 5.1 yards per tote, has the sixth highest elusive rating per PFF and is PFF’s #2 graded running back. That is an impressive resume and what is also equally as impressive is that CAP has taken over the second half of games. In the Renegades two game winning streak, CAP had game-clinching runs and was a major factor in their victories

WR – Cam Phillips (HOU) and Tre McBride (LA)

Cam Phillips is an obvious choice, his 31 catches for 455 yards easily lead the league but the real crazy stat is his 9 TDs. For some reference, the next closest receiver has 4 touchdowns and there are three teams who have 9 or less total touchdowns. He could be the league MVP after 5 games. The other receiver, Tre McBride, is a bit more controversial. McBride was hurt to start the season but after his return he has averaged almost 100 yards per game and scored in all 3. The Ross for McBride trade is looking pretty good for the Wildcats.

TE – Donald Parham (DAL)

This was another easy decision as Donald Parham has been phenomenal this season. In a league that has barely utilized tight ends, Parham is 3rd in receiving yards and 2nd in touchdowns among ALL receivers. Parham has 170 more yards than the next closest tight end (Brandon Barnes) which in itself makes this choice very easy.

OT – Michael Dunn (SEA) and Storm Norton (LA)

Both of these offensive tackles have been very good in both pass protection and run blocking. In a combined 552 snaps between the two of these tackles they have allowed 0 sacks, 4 QB hits and 9 hurried passes. PFF has also rated these two as the top run blocking OTs in the league. Individually, Michael Dunn has missed 1 game but has been a little better in pass protection than Norton while Norton is the #1 run blocker by a large margin.

OG – Avery Genessy (HOU) and Bruno Reagan (STL)

The offensive guard race was a little closer because there was not a player that was dominant in both pass protection and run blocking like with the offensive tackles. Given that, I decided to weight pass protection a little heavier but these guys were still solid in run blocking. Genessy has allowed 1 pressure and 0 sacks on 317 snaps in a high passing volume offense. Reagan has allowed 1 sack but only 3 pressures on 368 snaps. These two have solid run blocking grades to go along with elite pass protection

C –  Marquice Shakir (DAL)

Dillon Day and Jordan McCray were both considerations but in the end I decided to go with Shakir. Shakir has the third highest run blocking grade among center and the second highest pass blocking grade. Shakir has allowed 0 sacks and only 3 pressures on 347 snaps.

DL – Nikita Whitlock (TB) and Will Sutton (SEA)

Both of these players stand out as they have seen a lot of snaps and been effective in lots of facets of the game. Whitlock has clogged up lanes as PFF’s #1 rated run defender but is also 2nd among defensive linemen with 12 total pressures. He is the clear best DL in the league. Sutton is also producing at a similar level with a top-5 run defense grade to go along with 10 total pressures, 2 sacks and 3 QB hits.

EDGE – Olubunmi Rotini (NY) and Cavon Walker (NY)

It is a little surprising that two teammates were the top players but hey, it is only an eight team league. Rotini leads all edge rushers in QB hurries (12) and tackles (18) and even though he only has 1 sack, those stats are a tribute to the disruption he has caused. His teammate, Walker, meanwhile has been the one hitting home as he leads the league with 5 sacks. This duo has been a nightmare for opposing QBs.

LB – Beniquez Brown (HOU) and Steven Johnson (SEA)

This was a pretty tough race but both these players have been good defensive leaders. Brown has been impressive on multiple fronts, allowing 4.7 yards per target, collecting 6 total pressures and 31 tackles. Steven Johnson has been a tackling machine as he leads the league with 36 of them.

CB – Jamar Summers (NY) and Josh Hawkins (DAL)

I consider Darius Hillary(STL), Summers’ teammate Drovon Askew-Henry and a few Houston corners but I ended up with these two. Summers was debatably the defensive player of the year in the AAF and he had carried his success to the XFL. Summers has been targeted 24 times on 307 snaps and has only allowed 10 catches for 140 yards and 0 touchdowns. That is good for a 41.7% catch rate and 5.8 yards per attempt when targeted. Summers also has an interception and a pass breakup and unlike most other corners he has not been penalized. Josh Hawkins has also been extremely impressive in coverage this year. On his 305 snaps, Hawkins has been targeted 23 times allowing 10 catches for 152 yards and 0 touchdowns. That is good for a 43.5% completion rate, 6.6 yards per attempt and a measly 29.6 passer rating when targeted. Hawkins also tags on two interceptions and three pass breakups.

S – Rahim Moore (DC) and Will Hill III (STL)

I considered Derron Smith (DAL) but I just went with Moore and Hill. Rahim Moore has been absolutely outstanding in coverage but has been surprisingly efficient as a pass-rusher as well. Moore has five total pressures in just 16 pass rush snaps. In coverage Moore has allowed 3 receptions for 9 yards on 12 targets, a whopping 0.75 yards per target and a 0.0 passer rating against. Moore also tacks on 2 interceptions and 2 pass breakups. Will Hill has only allowed 47 yards on 12 targets in coverage, just under 4 yards per target, and he also has 2 interceptions to go along with that. Hill has also been exceptional against the run, recording 28 tackles.

K- Matt McCrane (NY)

I considered Austin MacGinnis, who also has a 100% field goal percentage and 2 more field goals, but I went with McCrane because he is 2 for 2 on 50+ yard field goals. For reference, the rest of the league is 4 for 8 on such field goals. McCrane is 6 for 6 on all other field goals and has not missed an extra point ;).

P – Drew Galitz (DAL)

This one was pretty simple. 50% of Galitz’s punt were inside the 20, Galitz has 0 touchbacks, and his net punt is the highest in the league at 40.7.

Returner – Austin Walter (DAL)

Considered John Santiago (SEA) but had to give the edge to Walter given he has a return touchdown. Walter has returned 17 kicks for 431 yards (25.4 average) and has that return touchdown.

Totals by team:

Dallas: 6 (3 Offense, 1 Defense, 2 Special Teams)

Houston: 4 (3 Offense, 1 Defense)

New York: 4 (3 Defense, 1 Special Teams)

Seattle: 3 (1 Offense, 2 Defense)

Los Angeles: 2 (2 Offense)

St. Louis: 2 (1 Offense, 1 Defense)

DC: 1 (1 Defense)

Tampa Bay: 1 (1 Defense)

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