Here are players who stood out on the offensive side of the ball in the short-lived league
With the Alliance of American Football (AAF) slowly fading into memory, many of its players are looking for their next opportunity. Every football player's goal is to make it to the NFL and some AAF standouts, including Orlando Apollos quarterback Garrett Gilbert (Cleveland Browns) and Arizona Hotshots wide receiver Rashad Ross (Kansas City Chiefs), have already been signed by a team and will be given that opportunity. But there are many others out there that would like a chance now that the AAF is no longer an option for them to continue their playing career.
Consider that in the AAF's brief eight-week campaign the league produced nearly 200 total touchdowns and more than 25,000 yards. There were plenty of players responsible for this production but a few guys stood out from the rest. Here are some offensive players that NFL teams should take a long look at and consider beyond those that have already been signed.
John Wolford, QB
The former Wake Forest standout beat out Trevor Knight for the starting job with the Arizona Hotshots. Wolford finished his AAF career as the league leader in touchdown passes (14), was second in both passing yards (1,617) and yards per attempt (7.8), ranked fourth in completion percentage (63.1), and finished with a passer rating of 95.9. In today's NFL you can never have too many quarterbacks, especially when injuries come about. Wolford has a strong arm and showed accuracy in the AAF. He held on to the ball too long at times (sacked 14 times in AAF play), but he is tough and can stand in the pocket.
Trent Richardson, RB
The road to NFL redemption for the former Alabama star was one of the many reasons why the league averaged a million television viewers each week. He was the anchor of the Birmingham Iron's offense as he led the AAF in rushing touchdowns (11), finished third in rushing yards (366), led all running backs in receiving yards (205). Perhaps some team is willing to give the third overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft another shot.
Joel Bouagnon, RB
For Bouagnon, his brief run with the Salt Lake Stallions could serve as his coming out party. After a solid college career at Northern Illinois, the former Huskie spent 2018 bouncing around NFL practice squads. The Stallions gave Bouagnon a chance to shine and he didn't disappoint. After eight weeks he was second in rushing touchdowns (6), third in rushing yards (360), and established himself as a power runner with the ability to shed tackles. NFL teams in need of a reliable ball carrier should give Mr. Bouagnon a call.
Nelson Spruce, WR
The 26-year-old was underrated during his time with Mike Martz and the San Diego Fleet. Spruce finished his AAF tenure as the league's second-leading receiver in catches (38) and third in yards (426) while seeing the second-most targets (66). I can see him as a productive slot receiver in the NFL.
Nick Truesdell, TE
At 29 years of age Truesdell is quite the journeyman in the sport of football. From 2014-18 he went back and forth between various indoor teams and a few NFL training camps with very little success. But after suiting up for the Salt Lake Stallions for eight weeks, he wound up being the AAF's top tight end with 24 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 11.2 yards per receptions. He has the size (6-5, 247) that NFL teams covet at the tight end position, and he is definitely worthy of at least an invitation to someone's training camp.
Wes Saxton, TE
Saxton was right behind Truesdell in terms of production from the tight end position with 17 receptions for 241 yards and a touchdown for the Iron. He averaged more yards per catch (14.2) and also distinguished himself as a blocker for Richardson and Birmingham's other ball carriers. Saxton started his career in the NFL (played one game for the New York Jets in 2015), so why not give him another shot?
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.
(Top photo courtesy of AAF.com)