The players who will participate in the A11 Football League, both in showcase games in May and when the league kicks off its first full season in March of 2015, will be National Football League-caliber players who fit the A11 game.
Who might those players be? Well, there are hundreds and hundreds of players on the open market right now, and a lot of them are listed at great web sites updated frequently by Adam Caplan - http://thesidelineview.com/columns/caplans-nfl-corner/best-available-nfl-free-agents-offense and http://thesidelineview.com/columns/caplans-nfl-corner/best-available-nfl-free-agents-defense.
Those lists will change daily between now and when A11FL games will be played. But here are some of the players who might be targeted if they were to be available for the league around the time player acquisition begins:
- The most obvious player who would fit the A11 offense the best is former University of Florida, Denver Broncos, New York Jets and New England Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow. Tebow’s athletic ability and offensive background would fit an A11-style attack to a T. One easily could imagine Tebow playing in front of a packed house for the Florida-based A11FL team – and leading it to a lot of late-game comebacks.
- Or imagine a quarterback like Vince Young running Base (I) Montana Smoke Shoot for a big game for the Texas-based A11FL squad. Young was a surprising cut by the Green Bay Packers in most circles, and he has plenty of gas left in the tank following his days at the University of Texas, and with the Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles.
- Looking for a high-quality A11FL running back – one who can run, receive and block? Former Houston Texan and Miami Dolphin Steve Slaton just might do the trick. Slaton rushed for 1,282 yards and nine touchdowns with Houston as a rookie five years ago, and had back-to-back reception seasons of 50 and 44 in his first two NFL campaigns.
- Of course, A11FL teams are going to look for productive wide receivers, and some choices right now could come from a group that includes Lavelle Hawkins (47 catches for Tennessee in 2011), Early Doucet (54 catches for the Arizona Cardinals in 2011) and Mike Thomas (66 catches for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010). An A11FL team looking for a tall tight end who could double as a wide receiver could do worse than 6-foot-6 Evan Moore, who caught 34 passes for the Cleveland Browns just two years ago.
- A11FL defenses are going to have to have very versatile players, as well – ones who can rush the passer or run blitz on one down, and be able to cover receivers out in space the next. Former Eagles, Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders linebacker Omar Gaither has recorded 334 total tackles, six sacks, two interceptions and 18 pass breakups during his professional career.
- Former Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots defensive end/linebacker Marcus Benard has shown flashes of his ability at the professional level, recording 7½ sacks, two pass breakups and 28 total tackles during the 2010 NFL season with the Browns.
- And A11FL cornerbacks will have to cover receivers of all heights and speeds. Former San Francisco 49er and Raider corner Shawntae Spencer has accomplished a lot in his nine-year NFL career, picking off 11 passes and defending 53 more.
Make no mistake – there is more than enough high-quality talent to fill eight A11FL rosters in just 18 months. It might be some of the names mentioned here, and it might not.
But no matter whose names they are, they will bring exciting professional football to eight cities – maybe one near you – very soon.