SportsPulse: The XFL followed in the footsteps of most major American sports by putting its season on hiatus as fears of coronavirus grow. USA TODAY
The XFL season was brought to an abrupt end by the coronavirus pandemic.
The rebooted league played just half of its scheduled games, with five weeks remaining in a 10-week regular season.
In that limited time, players from all eight teams had their moments. Some took their first (or second, or third) shot at pro football and made the most of it, potentially extending their careers — with a shot at the next level possibly awaiting.
The process of XFL players jumping to the NFL may begin as soon as Monday, when NFL teams can begin signing players who participated in the XFL this season.
NFL free agency 2020: Top 10 unsigned players following first wave of signings
Here are 10 players who showed out in the XFL that warrant a shot in the NFL:
P.J. Walker, QB, Houston Roughnecks
The "Mahomes of the XFL" is probably an unfair comparison. But Walker played like an MVP from Week 1 to Week 5 and seemingly has NFL prospects; multiple reports have indicated interest from NFL teams.
Walker extended plays with his legs and ran productively when needed. Coach June Jones ran one of the league's best-designed offenses and in it, Walker displayed accuracy, completing 65% of his passes, and admirable decision-making abilities, throwing four interceptions on 184 attempts.
Walker finished with 15 touchdowns and 1,338 yards. For any team looking to spice up its backup quarterback competition, they should find Walker's number by Monday morning.
Cam Phillips, WR, Houston Roughnecks
Yes, he had the best player in the league creating plays and throwing to him. But Phillips took advantage, and it could result in a NFL opportunity for him. It's one he deserves, because he was the best receiver in the XFL in 2020.
The Virginia Tech product led the league in targets (44), catches (31), receiving yards (455) and touchdowns (nine).
Jordan Ta'amu, QB, St. Louis BattleHawks
Ta'amu's emergence was a major factor in the BattleHawks becoming the XFL's most surprising team. The BattleHawks relied on a run-first, option offense, which meant Ta'amu had to be efficient when he was throwing. The Ole Miss product obliged by completing 72% of his passes (97-for-134) for 1,050 yards and five touchdowns with two picks.
The scheme also gave him a chance to show off his legs — Ta'amu averaged 5.3 yards per attempt, and his 217 rushing yards ranked seventh in the league. Above all, he led a team not expected to do much to a 3-2 record. He's worth a flyer for a team who could use another body in the quarterback room.
Storm Norton, OT, Los Angeles Wildcats
Norton protected quarterback Josh Johnson's blind side and in a league where not many linemen stood out, he did. The Wildcats made him the first pick of the "linemen" phase of the draft and he lived up to expectations. At 6-foot-8 and 317 pounds, he will be of interest.
Tre McBride, WR, Los Angeles Wildcats
On the two occasions the Wildcats' offense exploded (39 points and 41 points, respectively), Johnson took full advantage of his weapons. McBride emerged as the group's most efficient.
Among players with 20 receptions or more, he led the league in yards per catch (16.9). He also led the team with four receiving touchdowns and 271 yards.
Donald Parham, TE, Dallas Renegades
Dallas quarterbacks (mostly Landry Jones) targeted the tight end 43 times, one behind Phillips for the league lead. He was one of only three players to eclipse the 300-receiving yard mark and finished tied for second in the league with four touchdowns.
Dallas found success in its running game, with Parham proving to be a capable blocker.
Austin Proehl, WR, Seattle Dragons
Proehl doesn't have an imposing physical presence, as he stands all of 5-foot-9. His quickness, route-running and hands separated him from most other receivers, though, and he caught 16 passes for three scores.
In the XFL's first game, he announced his presence by catching the league's first touchdown. He became potent out of the slot in spite of uninspiring quarterback play from Brandon Silvers.
Deatrick Nichols, CB, Houston Roughnecks
While Phillips and Walker gave opposing defensive coordinators headaches, Nichols was locking down the other team's best outside weapon. He ranked tied for third in passes defended (six) and displayed his physicality — three tackles-for-loss and a sack.
Kenny Robinson, S, St. Louis BattleHawks
Between Robinson and Will Hill, who just missed the cut for this list and should receive a call from an NFL team for his services, St. Louis had perhaps the best back end in the league.
After being expelled from West Virginia and not yet draft eligible, Robinson opted to play in the XFL rather than sitting a year under the NCAA's transfer guidelines. He intercepted two passes, recorded a sack and made 21 combined tackles. Robinson's size — 6-foot-2, 198 pounds — will be an asset at the next level.
Nelson Spruce, WR, Los Angeles Wildcats
In addition to McBride, the other main threat for Johnson and the Wildcats offense was Spruce. He too proved his deep threat capabilities and hauled in 20 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns.