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AAF Signings Reaction

Graphic by Pat Pryor

Written By: Roy Countryman @PreacherBoyRoy

As we all know, the AAF has closed its doors, and we here at Blitzalytics are still reeling from the news. Also, we would like to send our thoughts and prayers to the players, executives, employees, and everyone in the media that have been affected by this decision. However, we are not by any means finished yet with our coverage of the AAF. This article is meant to help take a look at some of the recent standouts from the AAF who have already signed with NFL teams and how they will fit into their plans.

Garrett Gilbert: QB, Orlando Apollos

NFL Team: Cleveland Browns

AAF Stat Line: 60.6% Comp., 2152 Pass Yds, 13 Pass TD, 3 INT, 6 Pass 2-PT, 1 Rush TD, 1 Rush 2-PT, 1 Rec. TD, 4 Fumbles.

Outlook: The unofficial MVP of the AAF has quickly found a home with one of the shrewdest GMs in the NFL, John Dorsey. The Browns QB room is the young phenom Baker Mayfield and the grizzled vet Drew Stanton, but that’s it. With his standout performances this season, he should easily find a spot on the roster as the #3 QB and possibly push Stanton for #2 duties.

Rashad Ross: WR, Arizona Hotshots

NFL Team: Carolina Panthers

AAF Stat Line: 36 Catches on 52 targets, 583 Rec. Yds, 7 Rec. TD, 1 Rec. 2-Pt.

Outlook: If Gilbert was the unofficial MVP of the AAF, then Ross was the OPOY. A force for the Hotshots, Ross was utilized both outside and in the slot, which should give him the needed versatility to make a case to be on the Panthers 53-man roster. The Panthers WR corps consists of two young playmakers in D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel and some vets in Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright. If he can flash like he did this season, look out-he will be a success.

Derron Smith: S, San Antonio Commanders

NFL Team: Minnesota Vikings

AAF Stat Line: 21 Total Tackles (21 Solo), 8 PD, 3 INT.

Outlook: Smith was the best coverage safety in the AAF, and played with great range from his CF position. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time to make a play on the ball. Smith is another quality S to add to a Vikings defense that is looking to find a new running mate beside Harrison Smith, and what better man to battle it out with incumbents Anthony Harris and Jayron Kearse. He could be a Week One starter next year if he rides this wave of momentum.

Keith Reaser: CB, Orlando Apollos

NFL Team: Kansas City Chiefs

AAF Stat Line: 12 Total Tackles (11 Solo), 10 PD, 3 INT.

Outlook: Reaser was the epitome of a shutdown corner this season in the AAF. QBs tended to look away from his side of the field because of his stickiness in coverage. He’s also adept at not only picking passes off but taking them back to the house. The Chiefs are a prime spot for him because they are transitioning to a new defense under Steve Spagnuolo and are looking for some quality CBs to add to the equation after seeing Steven Nelson and Marcus Peters leave in successive seasons.

Damontre Moore: EDGE, San Diego Fleet

NFL Team: San Francisco 49ers

AAF Stat Line: 22 Total Tackles (20 Solo), 5 TFL, 7.0 Sacks, 25 QB Hits, 4 PD, 2 FF, 1 FR.

Outlook: “Da Monster” is back in “Da Bay”! Moore was a wrecking ball for any AAF OL to try and combat this season. His length, strength, and pass rushing prowess really stand out when watching his tape. He simply was too much for OL to block him one-on-one, and should step into a 49ers DL rotation with an opportunity to face a lot of single matchups opposite Dee Ford and Co.

De’Vante Bausby: CB, San Antonio Commanders

NFL Team: Denver Broncos

AAF Stat Line: 17 Total Tackles (17 Solo), 10 PD, 4 INT.

Outlook: After seeing Bradley Roby leave town and never fully recouping from the loss of Aqib Talib, the Broncos are seeking more talent at CB and decided to scoop up the leader of interceptions in the AAF in Bausby. He also has the aggressiveness not only to pick off wary QBs but is dangerous returning them.

Kitt O’Brien: C/G, Birmingham Iron

NFL Team: Carolina Panthers

Outlook: The Panthers have been busy bolstering their OL ranks this offseason, and O’Brien was one of the few quality OL in the league. He started off playing OG and helped the Iron establish running dominance, then slid over to C while Hassenauer was nicked up and played high-quality snaps there. The Panthers may have uncovered a quality 6th OL who can save roster spots with his versatility and ability to play a number of spots well, which they will need with the loss of Ryan Kalil and their LG play being so-so.

Jack Tocho: S, Birmingham Iron

NFL Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

AAF Stat Line: 19 Total Tackles (18 Solo), 1 QB Hit, 6 PD, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 FR.

Outlook: Tocho was the enforcer on the backend of the Iron Defense, and he flourished with laying some big hits. He is also adept at covering RBs and TEs in the intermediate areas due to being able to match their skill sets. The Steelers have a need for a SS or Dimebacker type player after releasing Morgan Burnett, and he can throw his hat in the ring to try and replace him along with last year’s draft pick, Marcus Allen.

Alex Barrett: DE, San Diego Fleet

NFL Team: Oakland Raiders

AAF Stat Line: 15 Total Tackles (15 Solo), 5 TFL, 2.0 Sacks, 7 QB Hits, 2 PD.

Outlook: The bookend to Karter Schult put up quality stats this past season and always seemed to be in the vicinity of the QB just like his teammate. The Raiders currently have 3 DEs on their roster,and there is a definite opportunity to be had for Barrett throughout the offseason workouts.

Andrew Ankrah: EDGE, Orlando Apollos

NFL Team: Washington Redskins

AAF Stat Line: 14 Total Tackles (10 Solo), 5 TFL, 3.0 Sacks, 6 QB Hits, 1 PD, 1 FF.

Outlook: The bookend to the freaky and athletic pass rusher Earl Okine feasted on his one-on-one matchups and showed his array of pass rushing moves, burst, and ability to be a difference maker behind the LOS. He steps into a situation in Washington where he can be utilized from both 4-3 and 3-4 concepts and should get a chance to compete for snaps since Preston Smith left via FA. Ryan Kerrigan can’t do everything himself, and I am not sold on Ryan Anderson being a pass-rushing force.

Duke Thomas: CB, San Antonio Commanders

NFL Team: Minnesota Vikings

AAF Stat Line: 22 Total Tackles (19 Solo), 1 TFL, 4 PD, 1 INT, 1 FR.

Outlook: The Vikings got a quality CB to add to the equation here, as he has a versatile skill set which enables him to slide inside and man the slot CB position or outside if necessary. He has good short area quickness and is feisty throughout the duration of the route. With Holton Hill getting slapped with a four-game suspension and Mike Hughes working his way back from a knee injury, Thomas could see increased reps if any of the likes of Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, or Mackensie Alexander struggle.

J.C. Hassenauer: C, Birmingham Iron

NFL Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Outlook: Hassenauer comes off a quality season where he was an essential ingredient in the Iron success upfront. As the pivot man, he has great intelligence and instincts to feel oncoming blitzes and has shown the ability to maul in the running game. He got nicked a little this past season and missed some time; if not for that reason, he would have been sought out even more. The Steelers make a shrewd depth signing here with Matt Feiler focusing more on the RT position with Marcus Gilbert leaving, and with B.J. Finney resigning to be the LG of the future, they needed an injection of talent to sit back and learn from one of the best in Maurkice Pouncey and depth along the IOL.

Brandon Greene: OT, Birmingham Iron

NFL Team: Carolina Panthers

Outlook: Greene is a good athlete at OT and showed good foot quickness, but he seems to be more of a developmental OL that could bide his time on the bottom of the Panthers roster or practice squad while they let Darryl Williams play out his one year deal and prove he is healthy.

Parker Collins: C, Atlanta Legends

NFL Team: Carolina Panthers

Outlook: Collins has had a few stops with NFL franchises in his early career and put up a decent season with the lowly Atlanta Legends, but he also seems like a lottery ticket type signing for a Panthers team that needs to turn over any stone it can to try and keep Cam Newton upright and push the ball downfield vertically. Look for him to get a chance as a backup or on the practice squad.

The AAF Season and League may have folded, but that doesn’t mean we are done examining all the great players that gave us such fond memories. Stay tuned for more reactions to all the AAF-to-NFL signings at Blitzalytics!



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