Can AAF star cornerback De’Vante Bausby resurrect his NFL career with the Denver Broncos? What makes this player special?
De’Vante Bausby was once getting coverage reps in mid-October games against Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers.
He has a Super Bowl ring as a member of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad, a team he climbed onto the active roster and even into the starting lineup for a game.
So why was this dude in the AAF? What in the world happened?
This was a guy who was clocked by Benjamin Allbright and a number of other scouts at the Pittsburg State (Kansas) pro day in the 4.2’s in the 40-yard dash. He has elite speed and posted a 37.5-inch vertical jump along with a ridiculous 11-foot broad jump.
Athletically, this guy is unreal.
It doesn’t take more than a quick Google of Bausby’s name to find out how revered he was by Eagles fans when they were so desperate for young defensive back help. They placed their hopes and dreams on the same things.
Big time speed. Elite leaping ability. Explosiveness. Great hands.
For some players, it takes a long time to put it all together on the field, and that’s why the AAF (or something like it) is so beneficial.
Even just for seven games and all of the practices he was able to get, Bausby is better for having played with the San Antonio Commanders over the past two months.
And even though the league crumbling is sad and disappointing, it could be a blessing in disguise for Bausby and many others.
The sudden demise of the AAF was a shock to pretty much everybody, and certainly a disappointment for everybody. It’s not that the AAF was the NFL’s last hope for a developmental league, but it was clearly being paid close attention to.
Since the AAF folded, at least 15 players from that league (and counting) have signed deals with NFL teams and there are sure to be more coming.
A year ago at this time, the players signing with NFL teams from the AAF would have likely been reserve/future contract type of players. Now they have a unique advantage of having new (good) tape to put out there for NFL teams, and Bausby was one of the most impressive.
Bausby had five interceptions in his seven AAF games, which led the league. He didn’t have the league’s top coverage grade, but his hands were the stickest of all the defensive backs.
Ironically, Bausby doesn’t have a regular season NFL interception, but I included his interception of Trevone Boykin (while he was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs) in that video as well.
Even if you think Bausby is the type of player to be considered your ’54th’ player on the roster — meaning he is a fringe NFL active roster player with the ability to help as needed if someone gets hurt — this is an exciting signing for a team that seriously lacked cornerback depth this past season.
In the interview linked above with Orange & Blue 760, Benjamin Allbright seems to indicate the Broncos plan on using Kareem Jackson in more of a hybrid role than anticipated. He will play cornerback, of course, but he will also be playing safety and matching up on players.
This, along with the recent development of Chris Harris Jr. not coming to OTAs, drastically changes the Broncos’ perceived need at cornerback.
If Harris is re-signed and Jackson is playing cornerback, the Broncos also have Bryce Callahan to play the slot and Isaac Yiadom as a player they like on the outside.
But if Harris is not re-signed and Jackson is playing all over the field, all of a sudden you’ve got a really interesting situation where De’Vante Bausby could see some playing time.
He showed in the AAF and even at times at his previous NFL stops that he has excellent closing speed and ball skills. He’s another year older, and while many players in his situation would have to wait for practices to show what they can do on tape, he got seven games of AAF work and made big plays consistently.
Thanks to his seven games in the AAF, Bausby can resurrect his NFL career.