Two weeks ago, Demarquis Gates, whose Ole Miss career was marred by terrible defensive play-calling and even worse talent around him, was the leading tackler of the Alliance of American Football.
He was playing in the upstart league that would either challenge the NFL or become its farm system. He led the Memphis Express defense and looked like a potential defensive player of the year. Gates had accumulated 72 tackles in the short season.
Then the league announced it didn’t have enough money to make it through its first season. Yeah. Not the best planning by league officials.
Gates was out of a job and training back in Oxford. But now, he’ll be playing for the NFL team in Washington. He’s not guaranteed anything at all, having only been signed to the 90 man roster. He has a long road ahead of him to make the team for next season, but that chance wouldn’t have come without the exposure he got in the AAF.
The hometown kid, DeMarquis Gates, definitely had his @Skittles today.— Memphis Express (@aafexpress) March 10, 2019
Big fumble to set up the TD | #MEMvsATL pic.twitter.com/l81E8prRL1
He joins a Redskins linebacking corps that includes former Alabama LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, but he is one of several linebackers looking for a full time job this fall. And the NFL Draft still looms later this month.
This is the same player who had 282 career tackles at Ole Miss while playing LINEBACKER on some of the worst LINEBACKING units of all time. He was the only player I ever felt comfortable about bringing down opposing ball carriers, and I’m so happy to see him get a shot at the NFL. Gates isn’t a flashy guy, which could stifle his attempts at standing out among 90 players, but if they’ll give him a chance, he’s reliable.
DeMarquis Gates & the @Skittles strike again. Turnover for the Memphis D. #AllAboad | #MEMvsSL pic.twitter.com/9kiaeunwg1— Memphis Express (@aafexpress) March 16, 2019
Plenty of NFL teams could use some more reliable defensive players. Hopefully DeMarquis gets a chance to show he’s consistent and will put in the work to get a better chance to play at the highest level.