People may want to consider the new Alliance of American Football as a potential competitor to the NFL given enough time. However, given how many connections the two leagues have from both the executive and coaching perspective, that seems unlikely. Especially considering that certain teams in that league have direct affiliations with NFL teams. A prime example is the Chicago Bears.

The AAF is somewhat unique in that its teams are only allowed to pursue players from certain locations. That goes from college to the pro levels. The Arizona Hotshots are only allowed to recruit talent from players who recently signed with the Bears, Cardinals, Ravens, and 49ers. Case and point? Former Bears 3rd round pick Will Sutton is their starting defensive tackle.

GM Ryan Pace has stated that his team is keeping several eyes on the new league. In a year where the Bears might not be able to make any big moves, they’re committed to seeing if they can add a few hidden gems. Maybe not any future stars but players who can add needed depth and play a role in certain areas.

One spot the Hotshots may have their attention at is running back.

Chicago Bears AAF affiliate is incubating some intriguing running back talent

Thus far the story in Arizona has been the player of their quarterback John Wolford who leads the league with six touchdown passes. However, they’ve also quietly been getting big contributions from a pair of young running backs on their roster. Players who seem to exhibit the types of skill set that would interest head coach Matt Nagy.

Jhurrell Pressley

Pressley was a standout back for New Mexico back in 2015. The initial belief was his mix of explosive speed and quick feet would get him drafted. That wasn’t the case. Eventually, he signed with the Green Bay Packers. He flashed that potential in the 2016 preseason but never got a chance after that. He spent the next few years bouncing around the league before the Hotshots picked him up last year.

He’s become their workhorse through the first two weeks, posting 121 yards on 30 carries as well as a 30-yard TD catch. A big problem that teams had with him were unreliable hands but it’s clear he can be a legitimate threat if given the opportunity.

Justin Stockton

This kid will be more of a mystery to NFL fans. That’s because he never had what would be called a high profile season during his time at Texas Tech. His best year was as a senior in 2017. He only ran the ball 132 times that season, though it was for 797 yards. He did catch 27 passes that year though which helped to showcase his versatility as a weapon out of the backfield. Sadly it wasn’t enough to garner true NFL attention.

He briefly spent time with the Seattle Seahawks before heading to Detroit where he was part of their roster for the preseason last year. He had one carry during that stint and it went for 18 yards. So far in the AAF, he has 11 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown. Clearly, this kid has some dynamic ability that is worth offering an opportunity.

Nobody is saying either of these guys would be replacements for Jordan Howard. Instead they would make for excellent competition for somebody like Taquan Mizzell.