Here’s a round-up of the latest signings.
OL Ryan Swoboda — Detroit Lions
UCF ➡️ Detroit— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) April 29, 2023
Ryan Swoboda is a Lion ✍️ pic.twitter.com/YG6Dc6lrGI
Swoboda was the first Knight to sign with an NFL team. He is headed to the Motor City, where he will have the chance to compete for a spot on the Detroit Lions, a team that has quietly assembled a great O-line tangent over the years.
Swoboda transferred to the UCF after spending three years as a member of the Virginia Cavaliers. He started all 14 games in the 2022 season and was named First Team All-AAC by the conference coaches. A player who played in nearly every possible game in his collegiate career, he is reliable and durable, something NFL coaches want in a lineman.
The Lions have one of the better O-Lines in the NFL. Their unit includes Pro Bowlers like Penei Sewell and Frank Ragnow. Their unit as a whole was ranked 8th in the league last year, according to PFF. But they say you can’t teach size, and Ryan has plenty of it.
LS Alex Ward — Los Angeles Rams
UCF LS Alex Ward is headed to the LA Rams— NFL Draft Diamonds (@DraftDiamonds) April 29, 2023
Alex Ward found a team in need of a long snapper. As a specialist, Ward’s focus is strictly on long snapping, but he is very good at what does. The two-time Patrick Mannelly Award finalist as the nation’s best long snapper and 2022 Phil Steele Second Team All-American was arguably the most draftable Knight going into the 2023 NFL draft. As the lone invitee to the NFL Draft Combine, Ward did not disappoint with a consistent showing.
This is a perfect situation for Ward. He has the chance to compete for a starting position and with some improvement to his punt snapping, per NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein, win it.
DB Divaad “Newt” Wilson — Jacksonville Jaguars
Meet Yall In Duvaaaaalllllllllll— Divaad "Newt" Wilson #LLP #LLJ (@NikemanNewt) April 29, 2023
Wilson is staying in the state with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
After spending two years at Georgia, Wilson transferred to UCF in 2020. In three seasons with the Knights, Wilson played in 29 games and recorded a total of 124 tackles (82 solo and 42 assisted, four-and-a-half tackles for a loss, one sack, five interceptions, one fumble recovery, and two forced fumbles. He was named Second Team All-AAC by Pro Football Network in 2022 and by the coaches in 2021.
While the Jags have notable and experienced backs, like Josh Allen and Travon Walker, they don’t have a true superstar. It is possible for Wilson to seriously compete for a roster spot.
OL Sam Jackson — Jacksonville Jaguars
Former Central Florida guard Samuel Jackson is signing with the #Jaguars, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 29, 2023
Wilson isn’t the only one heading to the Jags. Jackson, one of the Knights’ better-known players is heading to Duval as well.
Jackson played six seasons for the Knights, beginning all the way back in 2017. He appeared in 66 games. His 2022 season saw him serve as team captain and be named Pro Football Focus’ First Team All-AAC. Jackson is very reliable. He is a locker room leader and missed very few games. Other than his 2018 season, where he only played in four games due to injury, Jackson appeared in nearly every game for the Knights.
The Jaguars’ offensive line is something they want to improve. According to PFF, their unit was ranked 19th in the league last season. The team used their first-round draft pick to select a lineman, Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison, as well as a seventh-round pick on a guard, Cooper Hodges out of Appalachian State. The team is taking chances on a lot of guys in the hopes they can protect Trevor Lawrence. Because of this, Jackson will have a serious chance to compete for a roster spot.
DL Anthony Montalvo — Miami Dolphins
UCF ➡️ Miami— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) April 30, 2023
Anthony Montalvo is a Dolphin ✍️ pic.twitter.com/KqcdYt9xhN
Montalvo is headed south to join the Miami Dolphins.
Montalvo played his entire career with the Knights. Starting his career as a walk-on, he would play in five seasons, where he played in 63 games and recorded a total of 129 tackles (65 solo and 64 assisted), 17 tackles for a loss, six sacks, two fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble.
The Dolphins' defensive line room is crowded with solid pros. With players like Christian Wilkins and Emmanuel Ogbah it will be hard to stand out. But Montalvo, with his 6-3, 290-pound frame, may have a shot at earning a roster spot.
TE Kemore Gamble — New York Giants
UCF TE Kemore Gamble to New York Giants mini-camp, per source. @DraftDiamonds— Alec Degen (@AlecDegen) April 30, 2023
Gamble heads to East Rutherford, where he will have to fight hard to earn a spot in the Giants’ crowded tight end room.
After transferring to UCF after three years at Florida, and playing against UCF in the Gasparilla Bowl, Gamble did not produce as much as perhaps fans had hoped in 2022, with just seven catches for 118 yards and one TD. But at 6-4 and 245, he has the size and speed that NFL scouts look for in a tight end.
The Giants just signed Darren Waller from the Raiders, and also have Daniel Bellinger, Lawrence Cager and Tommy Sweeney — all of whom are at least 6-4 and 240+ (except Cager, who is 220). The competition is tight, but Gamble will get his chance.
RB Isaiah Bowser — Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills
Bowser is getting two shots at the show, as he accepted minicamp invitations with both the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens.
Bowser was UCF’s power back the last two seasons, averaging 4.1 yards per carry and racking up more than 1,500 yards and 25 TDs in 22 games, despite nagging injuries that limited his action in 2021 and may have slowed him a bit in 2022.
The running back position is much different in the NFL now than it was even ten years ago, and Bowser’s 6-1, 225-pound, bruising frame is a throwback to a prior era. However, if he can stick on special teams, he could be an appealing short-yardage option for either the Bills or Ravens, and would make one heck of a touchdown vulture in fantasy.