- The AAF is suspending operations after eight weeks of its inaugural season. Which players’ performances earned a look from NFL scouts?
The AAF has suspended its operation (for now), but that doesn’t mean some players didn’t benefit from playing the eight weeks of games. For a precious few, the league’s platform could lead to another shot at the NFL, which was the idea behind this to begin.
After talking to a mix of evaluators mining the AAF for talent, and those working on the scouting side in the league itself, here are a few players to keep an eye on …
QB Garrett Gilbert, Orlando: A former high-profile high-school recruit, Gilbert has always had tools, but has never realized his potential. He led the AAF with 2,152 passing yards, and posted an impressive 13–3 TD–INT ratio.
QB John Wolford, Arizona: The scheme will have to be right, but Wolford showed potential as a shifty, if small, quarterback, in throwing for 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was in camp with the Jets last summer.
RB Zac Stacy, Memphis: Stacy was picked in the fifth round of the 2013 draft by the Rams, and the former Vanderbilt player looked promising as a rookie before injuries torpedoed his career and led to an early retirement. He showed flashes of his NFL self at the beginning of the AAF season, but got hurt again.
WR Charles Johnson, Orlando: Johnson’s speed has always tantalized NFL teams, and he put together a respectable 2014 season for Minnesota (31 catches, 475 yards). His 687 receiving yards led the AAF.
WR Rashad Ross, Arizona: This 29-year-old has spent the last nine years bouncing on and off NFL practice squads and camp rosters. He led the AAF with seven touchdowns catches as part of a 36-catch season, but his age is his enemy.
WR Jalin Marshall, Orlando: Talent hasn’t been the primary issue with Marshall over the years—after declaring for the draft early, he was drafted by the Jets in 2016, but was suspended to start the ’17 season and cut thereafter. Marshall finished with 26 catches in the AAF.
DE Karter Schult, Salt Lake: Schult had outrageous sack production in college at Northern Iowa (31 over his last two years) but he washed out of the NFL after shots with the Browns and Panthers. But that collegiate production did carry over to the AAF, where he had seven sacks.
DE Damontre Moore, San Diego: This former Texas A&M star was once seen as a first-round draft prospect, but character flags caused a fall to the third round in 2013. The 26-year-old bounced around the NFL for six years before landing in the AAF, where he had seven sacks.
NT Mike Purcell, Salt Lake: Purcell, a 328-pound run-plugger who actually started eight NFL games for the Niners over three years, showed his ability against the run in the AFF and actually flashed some pass rush (3 sacks) too.
OLB Jayrone Elliott, San Antonio: The 27-year-old former Packer and Cowboy, who showed promise early in his NFL career, led the AAF in sacks (7.5). That’s should land him somewhere in the NFL in the coming weeks.
CB Keith Reaser, Orlando: A fifth-round pick in 2014, Reaser made it through three coaching changes in San Francisco before getting cut in September 2017. An injury short-circuited the 2018 season for him in KC, and he was stellar in the AAF.
FS Derron Smith, San Antonio: This 2015 sixth-rounder spent two-and-a-half years with the Bengals, before hooking on with the Browns in mid-2017. He didn’t make it out of camp last year, but his three-pick AAF season could earn him another shot.
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