It’s been a little over a week since the Alliance of American Football suspended all operations, and several players have already found new homes in the NFL. Per SportingNews.com, 45 former AAF players have signed free agent deals with NFL teams, with a handful more being brought in for workouts. Not all that shocking given the talent on display during the AAF’s short-lived inaugural season. Perhaps what is shocking is that a pair of San Diego Fleet stars, former Colorado Buffaloes Nelson Spruce and Ryan Moeller, have NOT been signed.
In eight games, Spruce led all Fleet wide receivers with 38 receptions (second in the AAF), was second on the team in receiving yards (426), averaged 11.21 yards per catch and hauled in two touchdowns.
His signature game came in week seven, when the 26-year old finished with an-AAF record 12 receptions for 146 yards in a 32-15 loss to the Arizona Hotshots, coached by former Buffaloes head coach Rick Neuheisel. During his tenure in Boulder, Colo., Spruce set 41 different school records, including most receptions (294), receiving yards (3,347) and touchdown receptions (23). Spruce may not have elite speed, but he makes up for it with his precise route-running and great hands. Even Fleet head coach Mike Martz, architect of the St. Louis Rams’ ‘Greatest Show on Turf’, had high praise for Spruce, calling him one of the better wide receivers he’s coached.
Defensive back Ryan Moeller played in 34 career games for the Buffaloes, recording just one interception. In 8 games with the Fleet, the safety picked off four passes, tying him for the league lead with teammate Kameron Kelly (signed with Pittsburgh Steelers) and San Antonio’s De’Vante Bausby (signed with Denver Broncos). He also registered 37 total tackles, which tied him for second on the team behind defensive end Damontre Moore (signed with San Francisco 49ers). Moeller’s standout performance came in what would end up being the Fleet’s final game. The Rifle, Colo. native picked off two passes, recovered a fumble and recorded six tackles in an 8-3 loss to the Salt Lake Stallions.
Like Spruce, Moeller isn’t exactly a speed demon. He ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at the Buffaloes Pro Timing Day back in March, 2018. But his football IQ and instinct are second to none. Both Moeller and Spruce deserve another shot at the NFL. Given the right situation, Spruce could easily average 60-plus catches a year, while Moller would be a great anchor for any teams secondary. It wouldn’t shock me if either are signed to an NFL teams 90-man roster in the coming days or weeks. But if not, I guess there’s always the XFL.