The Alliance of American Football regular season is officially at the halfway point. It’s been a memorable inaugural season with some of the best games of the year taking place in the past week. However, with the season nearly finished, it’s time to take a look at the AAF MVP frontrunners. One player is miles ahead of the pack, but there’s still plenty of time for any of these other players to make a push.
AAF MVP Rankings After Week Five
Garrett Gilbert is the league MVP and it’s not even close. Week in and week out, Gilbert is the most consistent and most effective quarterback in the league by a wide margin. In Week Five, Gilbert faced off against a Birmingham Iron unit boasting one of the best defenses in the entire league. Gilbert turned said unit into swiss cheese, throwing for 286 yards, two touchdowns, and two separate two-point conversions.
So far on the season, Gilbert has completed 62.8% of his passes for 1,357 yards, eight touchdowns, and four two-point conversions. Gilbert also added a score on the ground and as a receiver and, most impressively, has yet to throw an interception. His poise in the pocket is unmatched among AAF passers and his ability to progress through his reads is unparalleled. Gilbert’s played so well that it would be astonishing to see him not on an NFL roster by the time training camp rolls around.
The Orlando Apollos offense is the best unit in the league largely because they have the best quarterback and wide receiver. Charles Johnson, a former standout on the Minnesota Vikings, has easily been the class of the AAF’s pass catchers. Facing off against one of the league’s better cornerbacks in Jamar Summers, Johnson finished Week Five with six receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown.
So far on the season, Johnson has 29 receptions for 493 yards and two touchdowns. His receptions and yardage easily lead the league, and the film backs up his impressive number. Johnson can get open against anyone and has enviable speed and tackle-breaking ability. Just like Gilbert, don’t be surprised if you see Johnson on an NFL roster at some point over the summer.
Defensive players never get any love with these type of awards, so let’s rectify that by putting Salt Lake Stallions’ defensive end Karter Schult third on this list. Schult is probably the Defensive Player of the Year and has been a disruptive force week-in and week-out. Schult basically lives in the opposing backfield, recording four tackles-for-loss and one sack in Week Five against the San Diego Fleet.
So far on the season, Shult has recorded five sacks, 14 quarterback quarterback hits, and 10 tackles-for-loss. These numbers are all at or near the top of the league, and they’re not artificially inflated by one dominant outing. Schult has a sack in all but one game and has recorded at least one quarterback hit in each game. Schult is a monster against the run and the pass, and opposing offensive linemen simply cannot block him.
San Diego Fleet defensive end Damontre Moore hasn’t been quite as good as Schult, but he’s easily the second-best pass rusher in the league. Moore had a game to remember in Week Five, recording three tackles, two sacks, and four quarterback hits in San Diego’s thrilling victory.
So far on the season, Moore has recorded four sacks, 15 quarterback hits, and two tackles-for-loss. His inconsistency in the run game pushes him below Schult, but he actually has more quarterback hits than the Stallions star defender and only one fewer sack. In a league lacking star faces on either side of the ball, Moore is one of the better under-the-radar defenders around the league.
D’Ernest Johnson/DeVeon Smith
It’s hard for either one of these players to win the MVP award, simply because they’re cancelling each other out. D’Ernest Johnson and DeVeon Smith combine to easily form the best running back duo in the league. Johnson currently has 251 rushing yards and one touchdown on 43 rushing attempts, good for 5.8 yards-per-carry. Smith, meanwhile, has 239 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 43 carries.
Johnson gets the slight edge for what he brings to the passing game. Through five weeks of action, D’Ernest Johnson has recorded 10 recpetions for 128 yards and one touchdown. Smith, meanwhile, has just three receptions for 18 yards. Both players are more than capable of carrying a backfield, but their split work limits their place in these rankings.
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