Written By: David Connors @DavidConnors @Blitzalytics.com
As we head into Week Seven of the AAF season, the playoff race is heating up, with most of the field currently a game or two ahead/behind each other. That said, having only a few weeks of the regular season left, most rosters have a blemish or two. So here are three trade scenarios that would be mutually beneficial for both teams to help give the push into the playoffs and, quite possibly, a championship run.
De’Veon Smith, RB
Salt Lake City Stallions:
Sealver Siliga, DT
Orlando is considered by many to be the juggernaut of the AAF, possessing very few weaknesses. Their interior defensive line play is the only position they are subpar. The only DT to play more than 100 snaps and have a PFF defensive grade over 60 is Josh Banks Sr., while Jeff Worthy has come and played well for the last 3 games. Even with these two players, the DT talent for the Apollos has been weak. Siliga from the Stallions will be an instant upgrade to the Apollos. He has been great all season but has gone under the radar due to the unstoppable play of Mike Purcell. Siliga will come into Orlando and instantly be their top interior defensive lineman.
The Stallions lead running back has been fighting an injury and was inactive last week. Unfortunately, the play from the other RBs on the Stallions leaves a lot to be desired. Joel Bouagnon has been passable, but every other RB has been a detriment. If they brought in De’Veon Smith, that would be a huge upgrade to their backfield. Smith is a top rated runner and pass blocker. He has shown okay hands, but his vision will translate well to Salt Lake City. The best part is, they pay a small price to get him. They will miss Siliga on their team, but the drop off from Siliga to Hamilton and Tanielu for their DT depth is marginal.
Kit O’Brien, G
San Antonio Commanders:
Tyrone Holmes, DE
Kit O’Brien has been incredibly consistent for the Birmingham Iron in the interior O-Line, and there is no doubt he will be missed. However, Michael Dunn and Korren Kirven have both proven they are more than capable to fill the hole left behind. Casey Sayles has been a beast on the Iron D-line; nevertheless, it is time he gets more help off the edge. Tyrone Holmes has gone under the radar as one of the best Edge Rushers for the Commanders. Shaan Washington got spotlighted for his big hit on Week One, and while Elliot has been one of the best edge rushers in the league, Holmes has been a stud with a PFF pass rush grade over 90! He would be an instant upgrade over Shaheed Salmon.
Adding Kit O’Brien to the Commanders would be a game changer for an already potent offense. Cyril Richardson has solid pass blocking but is below average in run blocking. Avery Young, on the other hand, is average in the run block and abysmal in pass blocking. It only gets bleaker after those two. O’Brien is above average in both categories, and he would be a key asset to anchor down the inside of the Commander’s offensive line.
Davis Tull, LB
San Diego Fleet:
Gavin Escobar, TE
Whether it’s Johnny Manziel or Brandon Silvers under center, Gavin Escobar could be a unique weapon for the Express offense. However, Escobar’s skill set is more designed to help a player like Johnny Football out. When he starts to scramble out of the pocket, it will be a huge crutch to have a 6’6” behemoth tight end cutting back to his QB. The Express needs more weapons, and the only position they have to trade is a linebacker. Davis Tull has not been the highlight reel that DeMarquis Gates or Drew Jackson have been, but he is still a top-10 off-the-ball LB in the AAF.
For the Fleet, this trade is a no brainer, as trading Escobar does not hurt the team much. Marcus Baugh and Ben Johnson are both really good tight ends, especially Baugh. He had 119 receiving yards in Weeks Four and Five and should seamlessly fill Escobar’s role. Do they have a gaping hole at linebacker? No, but Davis Tull would still be an instant starter. He is a consistent run stopper with some deficiencies in tackling.