Daniel Whelan & His Remarkable Path To Success In The NFL

Daniel Whelan & His Remarkable Path To Success In The NFL

Former XFL punter, Daniel Whelan, has impressed through several weeks in the NFL. Whelan made NFL history in week one, becoming the first Irish-born athlete to play in a game since 1985.

However, his path to the NFL has been far from ordinary. Whelan played his college ball at California-Davis, where he excelled as a punter. During his senior season, he sent 55 punts for 2,544 yards – averaging 46.3 YPP.

This led to a stint in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints. Unfortunately, Daniel would be released by the team during the 2022 preseason.

Then, the XFL came along. After showcasing his skills at the XFL combine in November, Daniel Whelan signed to the DC Defenders, and turned out to be one of the top punters in the league. In fact, he earned All-XFL honors – averaging 45.8 yards per punt. Whelan finished the XFL season with eight of his 29 punts landing inside the 20 yard line.

Daniel helped lead the DC Defenders to the Championship, where the team fell just short against the Renegades. His postseason efforts didn’t go unnoticed, however, as Whelan averaged 53.8 yards per punt in the playoffs.

NFL Success

Since the XFL concluded their inaugural season, the league sent over 60 players to the NFL. Daniel Whelan was the only athlete to secure a spot on a 53 man roster, impressing with the Green Bay Packers during training camp. Whelan beat out veteran Pat O’Donnell in the preseason, locking himself in for the 2023 NFL season.

So far, things have been going quite well for Daniel Whelan in the NFL. He is averaging 48.5 YPP with the Packers, with a long of 68 yards – the 10th longest punt from anyone this season.

Additionally, his 48.5 yards per punt has him 11th in the league. He’s had a couple of games in particular where he has punted at a high level – most recently putting on a show in a loss against Minnesota.

Daniel Whelan is getting the job done for the Green Bay Packers, proving he belongs in the NFL’s ranks. Had it not been for the national platform that the XFL provided him with, who knows if this would have been possible.

“A lot of people told me not to join the XFL, because it wasn’t going to do anything for me. But I got paid, I got viewership, and I was able to get my name out there. You got to play football, and meet new people. The XFL was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had, honestly. It was so much fun.”

The DC Defenders will certainly be looking for a new punter in 2024, as Whelan is here to stay in the NFL. And, he’s not the only one. Former Battlehawks DT LaCale London officially signed to the Atlanta Falcons active roster last week.

You can stay up to date with all XFL to NFL signings with our official tracker.

What are your thoughts on Daniel Whelan playing in the NFL? Which XFL players deserve an opportunity? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!