As the AAF comes to an abrupt end, some of the players who starred in the start-up league will be getting shots with NFL teams like the Chicago Bears this fall.
The AAF was a great way for some guys that may have been overlook or not given a real chance to make a roster. Ryan Pace may be thinking about taking a stab on one of these guys, so here are a few at whom he should closely look.
Jamar Summers, CB, Birmingham Iron
Summers was a part of one of the best defenses in the AAF in the Iron, and he was the best player on that defense. He displayed exactly what the league was made for: to prove that some of these guys deserve another shot.
He proved his worth to NFL Teams in a few ways. One of his talents was that not being afraid to get physical. When Summers saw the ball in the air, he was not afraid to make contact.
With two pass breakups and an INT, the Jamar Summers hive is going strong today. pic.twitter.com/PFNYDd00p2
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) February 10, 2019
To add to the physicality part, he had a knack for the football. Summers had three interceptions to go with plenty of other great pass breakups for the Iron. When he had the opportunity to intercept the football, he took advantage.
Jamar Summers coming up with the clutch @aafiron INT!
34.2 passer rating allowed in coverage coming into Week 6 (3rd among CBs)#BIRvsSD
— PFF_AAF (@PFF_AAF) March 18, 2019
When these AAF guys are signed, they are likely going to need to be a special teams players. Luckily for Summers, he displayed some fantastic abilities on special teams, especially at gunner.
Happy game day folks! With a few hours until kickoff, I figured I’d do a quick thread on one of my favorite players in the #AAF so far.#ForgeOn CB Jamar Summers has been the best at his position. Making an impact in all phases of the game, including special teams. pic.twitter.com/pOJWvslf5w
— Jonathan Valencia (@JonValenciaBF) March 2, 2019
The Bears are losing a gunner in Josh Bellamy, so they may want to acquire another. Summers is that, and he showed plenty of potential at cornerback, so this seems like a great fit for both Summers and the Bears.
DaMarquis Gates, LB, Memphis Express
The best linebacker in the AAF was coached by none other than Mike Singletary, so wouldn’t it make sense for the Chicago Bears to take a look at him? Singletary used Gates in a variety of ways, and Gates excelled at them all.
The big thing that I saw from Gates was his ability to blitz. Bears new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano seems to like to throw exotic blitzes out on the field, so adding players that blitz effectively would be smart.
If you’re looking for a linebacker who can fly in on a blitz, Gates is your guy.
DeMarquis Gates forces the Gilbert fumble!
Corey Crawford with the scoop and score and Memphis takes the lead, 23-22! #ORLvsMEM
— PFF_AAF (@PFF_AAF) March 30, 2019
He also was a tackling machine for the Express, as he would be all over the field for them. The team may not have been very talented overall, but Evans was a bright spot.
The Bears really do not need an off-ball linebacker at the moment, but there is nothing wrong with trying to get more depth at the position.
Jayrone Elliott, EDGE, San Antonio
Most of these guys really did not have much of an NFL career, but Jayrone Elliott has a decent resume. Elliott spent three seasons with the Packers, during which he had four sacks for them. He then went to the Cowboys, where he only played in one game.
Elliott was likely the best pass rusher in the league. This is impressive because the AAF limited how many players could rush the passer, due to its worries about offensive line play. Nobody seemed to tell Elliott, as it felt like he couldn’t be stopped.
Jayrone Elliott runs over the LT for the SACK 😤💪! #AZvsSA
— PFF_AAF (@PFF_AAF) April 1, 2019
Technically, Elliott was the best pass rusher in the history of the AAF. He lead the league in sacks with 7.5 in eight games with San Antonio.
Nick Rose, Kicker, San Antonio
This is a prospective signing that makes too much sense to me. When the AAF was first starting up, one of my first thoughts was that the Bears could find their next kicker in this league.
A couple kickers had their moments in the AAF, but no kicker was better than Rose, as he went a perfect 14/14 in his time with the San Antonio Commanders. Rose was also able to nail a couple of long ones, like the one shown below.
— San Antonio Commanders (@aafcommanders) April 1, 2019
— San Antonio Commanders (@aafcommanders) February 17, 2019
This move is a no-brainer for the Bears. They should absolutely bring in a kicker that was red hot just a couple months ago to compete at training camp. If he continues to kick at the level he was for San Antonio, they should have absolutely no problem making him their kicker for the 2019 season.
On a personal note, I am sad to see the AAF end. It was a league that I enjoyed watching on Saturdays and Sundays during the offseason. It was great to have football in the Spring, and I hope the XFL will learn from the AAF’s mistakes and deliver a great product.