Ex-Packer QB Turns Heads With Performance in UFL Start

Former Packers QB Manny Wilkins put on a phenomenal show in his first UFL start against the D.C. Defenders.
DC Defenders v St. Louis Battlehawks
DC Defenders v St. Louis Battlehawks / Scott Rovak/UFL/GettyImages

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Manny Wilkins started in his first football game (college or pro) since 2018 on Sunday afternoon against the D.C. Defenders in the UFL. 

Wilkins started in place of potential UFL MVP A.J. McCarron, who suffered an ankle injury in Week 7 against the Birmingham Stallions. The former Packers quarterback had a tough task ahead of him on Sunday as the Battlehawks needed a win to clinch a playoff spot in the XFL division.

At the same time, St. Louis was also missing some key playmakers at the wide receiver spot in Marcell Ateman and Jahcour Pearson, putting the former Arizona State quarterback in a tough bind.

However, Wilkins, who was with the Battlehawks in 2023, showed he had complete control of Bruce Gradkowski’s offense and led St. Louis to a 26-21 win. The former Packers quarterback did a tremendous job of moving the ball through the air while using his legs to get out of trouble and pick up positive yards on the ground.

Wilkins completed 50 percent of his passes for 126 yards and added a game-high 79 yards on 12 rushing attempts. Wilkins didn’t outplay Defenders quarterback Jordan Ta’amu through the air as the latter had 196 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.

However, the former Packers quarterback did a fantastic job of not turning the ball and making plays when his team needed it.

If you are a Packers fan, this is a different quarterback than you saw five years ago in Green Bay. Wilkins didn’t play in a single game with the Packers as he was signed to the practice squad in 2019 and then to a reserve/futures contract later that season.

The former Arizona State signal-caller was released in 2020 after the Packers drafted Jordan Love in the first round. 

It will be interesting to see if Wilkins will start next week against the Arlington Renegades, who are out of the playoffs. If not, Battlehawks head coach Anthony Becht knows he has a solid backup option behind McCarron.

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