By Roy Countryman (Resident Scout and Blitzalytics Director of AAF Content)
We are beginning a series here at Blitzalytics on all 8 of the Alliance of American Football Franchises. Contained within each article is a glimpse of some of the intriguing talents that the league has already been able to lure into a contract, as well as a scout’s take on said players skill set.
Disclaimer for some though is that some franchises have announced QB signings, but there is some confusion somewhat if the announced signings will stick with the franchise they were announced with, or as the Alliance has stated that there will be a QB draft later on in the lead up to the debut of the league. So for this exercise there will be no QB listed per team.
For the Phoenix franchise, which has been tabbed to be coached by Rick Neuheisel they have already assembled a crop of interesting players that should have a chance to make a name for themselves. Here are a few of them…
Demario Richard-RB-Arizona State
While many people were focused on the physical freak RB, Kalen Ballage at Arizona State, all Richard did was produce when he was afforded the opportunity. Blessed with tremendous balance, great lower body strength to break tackles, and a underrated set of hands to make an impact on third downs, Richard has a chance to become one of the stars of this young league, with a chance to make fans reminisce about a player in the mold of Maurice Jones-Drew.
D.J. Calhoun-ILB-Arizona State
Teaming with Christian Sam, D.J. Calhoun was the heart and soul of the Sun Devils defense the last few years. Blessed with good take on strength, tremendous instincts, whatever he lacks in pure speed he makes up for with fast diagnostic abilities, and sure tackling mechanics, Calhoun has all the ingredients to be able to put up some staggering numbers.
Will Sutton-DT-Arizona State
A former third round pick of the Bears in the 2014 Draft, Sutton has made a few stops along his travels in the NFL world, but now he gets a chance to get consistent opportunity to wreak havoc on opposing team’s backfields. Sutton was a terror while at Arizona State due to a penetrating defensive philosophy, and it seems he has been miscast in the NFL into gap type defenses. Blessed with good quickness off the ball, strong hand usage, a great understanding of using leverage, and power to rock OL back on their heels it is a surprise he hasn’t found a home at the next level. Sutton though seems to be the type of player that needs a strong coach to motivate him to be at his best.
Overshadowed while he was playing at West Virginia by the talented first round S, Karl Joseph. Dillon,a 5th Round pick in his own right back in 2016 showed flashes of big time combination Safety skills. Blessed with great length, great speed from the deep third, a knack for disrupting at the catch point, and a propensity to lay some timely big hits, Dillon is a shoe in for a valuable addition to the back end of Phoenix’s secondary.
Larry Rose III-RB-New Mexico State
Here we have a former Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year, who put up gaudy numbers at New Mexico State, and got a cup of coffee with the Rams in training camp. Rose is a diminutive stature RB, who has loose joints, and a noticeable burst with the ball in his hands. He can string together moves without hesitation, and has the speed and burst to get the corner and take the ball the distance. Shows patience and vision running behind his OL. If Neuheisel can tandem him up with Demario Richard, they could have a memorable thunder and lightning pairing in year one.
These are just five of the prospects that caught my eye when initially viewing the signings in the AAF. We will keep you updated with reports on additional players as they pour in, and if there is a specific player that you think I have overlooked, comment below, and I will take a look at their merits. This is just the beginning of our coverage on all things AAF, and we hope to be your top stop for all things related to the Alliance.
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