DeMarquis Gates’ professional career doesn’t begin with the XFL, but rather the AAF, another league that also attempted to fill the NFL’s off-season void. The 6’2″, 220-pound linebacker made his presence known out of the gate, leading the AAF in tackles and forced fumbles before it’s collapse.
Now, with his new opportunity in Houston, he’s accumulated 28 tackles through 4 weeks, good for 5th in the entire XFL.
It’s well known the Bengals plan on completely overhauling their linebacker room this off-season. After the unit continued to be the Achilles heel of the team in 2019, Duke Tobin and company seem determined to get the position up to par.
Unfortunately, the only sure piece they currently have in place is Germaine Pratt. That means they’ll likely bring in many new faces through the draft and free-agent market, but there’s no reason Gates can’t be among the new blood.
He’s proven on two separate occasions he can be one of the top linebackers at the level below the NFL. That should at least earn him a shot to prove he contribute on special teams for Cincinnati, where his nose for the ball can help them in their quest to remain one of the best in the league in the third phase.