With the first weekend of the inaugural Alliance of American Football season nearly wrapped up, the upstart league got off to fast start with four games aired on four different networks.
Though it’s only one week and each team will play a 10-game schedule before the league’s championship match on April 27, several young players made statements rising above their competitors and could earn another shot at playing in the NFL next summer if they continue to produce at a high level.
Which players could be enticing addition possibilities for the Seahawks? Teams will be evaluating players throughout the next two months, but these five prospects could plausibly compete for roster spots in Seattle based on positional needs and scheme fits.
Luis Perez, Quarterback - Birmingham Iron
Week 1 Stats: 19-33, 252 passing yards, 12 rushing yards
While the vast majority of quarterbacks on other teams struggled mightily with accuracy and decision-making in the AAF’s first weekend of competition, the 6-foot-3 Perez showed above-average arm strength and plenty of touch on downfield throws. And unlike most of his fellow signal callers, he made smart decisions with the football, played with outstanding awareness in the pocket, and used his legs effectively on a couple of scrambles.
Though he didn’t throw a touchdown, Perez's overall numbers don’t indicate how effectively he commanded Birmingham’s offense in a 26-0 victory, as his receivers let him down with several drops on accurate passes. The former Texas A&M-Commerce star spent last August with the Rams in training camp and with the Seahawks only having Paxton Lynch behind Russell Wilson at the moment, he’d be an intriguing player to bring on board to compete for the backup job.
Anthony Manzo-Lewis, Fullback – Memphis Express
Week 1 Stats: Two carries, seven yards
A former First-Team All-CAA selection as a fullback and tight end at the University of Albany, Manzo-Lewis signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent immediately after the 2018 NFL Draft. After catching one pass for five yards in the preseason, he was released on September 1 and didn’t latch on with another team as a practice squad member.
While playing a surprising number of snaps, the bruising 6-foot, 257-pound fullback steamrolled through the Iron’s defense on a third-and-short run in Sunday’s opener, picking up eight yards while dragging multiple defenders. He was later stuffed on a fourth down conversion attempt, but he made several jarring hits as a lead blocker in this game and previously caught 36 passes during his final two collegiate seasons. Seattle hasn’t had a versatile fullback who can both block and create with the football in his hands since Michael Robinson and Manzo-Lewis would be a fun addition to compete against Tre Madden next summer.
Mekale McKay, Receiver – San Antonio Commanders
Week 1 Stats: Five receptions, 80 yards
Formerly starring at Cincinnati, the 6-foot-5 McKay ran a 4.55 40-yard dash at the 2016 Scouting Combine, displaying a rare blend of size and athleticism. Despite the performance, however, he still went undrafted and bounced around with three teams before signing with the Titans prior to the start of training camp. Injuries prevented him from competing for a roster spot and he spent a portion of the season on the Bears practice squad.
Most recently, McKay caught four passes for 59 yards last preseason with the Cowboys but failed to make the final roster. In his first game with the Commanders, he hauled in five passes for 80 yards and also had a touchdown overturned by replay review. The Seahawks will have options looking for a big receiver in the upcoming draft, but McKay wouldn’t be a bad player to take a flier on given his size, speed, and ability after the catch.
Damontre Moore, Defensive End – San Diego Fleet
Week 1 Stats: Six tackles, 1.0 sacks
If Moore’s name sounds familiar, it’s because unlike the rest of the players who made this list, he’s actually spent previous time with the Seahawks in 2016. Once a promising third-round pick for the Giants, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive end eventually was released after a series of locker room altercations and has played for five different teams over the past four seasons. He played well during his brief tenure with Seattle, making seven tackles and recording two tackles for loss in four games as a reserve.
But a foot injury landed him on injured reserve and after being arrested for a DWI in mid-December, the Seahawks chose not to bring Moore back. He reportedly had multiple workouts with the Seahawks last season, but never signed a contract. He’s only 26 years old and after registering six tackles and a sack in his AAF debut, Seattle could do a lot worse than re-signing him to compete in camp.
Jamar Summers, Cornerback – Birmingham Iron
Week 1 Stats: Two passes defensed, one interception
Back in 2015, Summers earned First-Team All-AAC honors when he intercepted eight passes for Connecticut as a sophomore, putting his name on NFL Draft boards. While he increased his tackle totals during his final two seasons, he couldn’t come close to replicating prior success in coverage, intercepting three total passes in his last 22 games while playing both cornerback and safety for the Huskies. With the decline in production, the 6-foot, 190-pound defender went undrafted and signed with the Steelers, eventually getting cut in early September.
In a blowout win over the Express on Sunday, Summers made his presence felt quickly, intercepting a deflected pass from Christian Hackenberg and nearly picking off a second pass a few drives later. Boasting above-average ball skills and positional versatility, Summers has enough length to fit in Seattle’s secondary. With Neiko Thorpe and Justin Coleman heading to free agency, he could, at the bare minimum, compete for a job on special teams and add depth at either corner or safety.