The USFL offseason has been eventful so far for the Gamblers. We saw them sign two young players in August, and today I am excited to say that they have added three more! The team lost some fantastic players this offseason to the NFL or to moving on from spring leagues in general. This left large holes in our offense and defense, but also opportunity. Young players who need to build a portfolio of professional football tape are jumping at this opportunity, and Robert Morris and Kevin Sumlin are happy to oblige.
Last night in episode 3 of Gamblers Table Talk Twitter Space, I spoke about the team needs of the Gamblers going into free agency and the draft. The main areas I highlighted as must needs were linebacker and defensive line. As for offense I brought up that it seems we will have both tight ends returning. The tight ends that Gamblers have are some of the best, if not the best, blocking tight ends in the entire USFL. To get a tight end that focuses primarily on pass catching and route running would be a sensible addition though, think Canella for the Breakers. Apparently, my thoughts have been heard by the universe as I have confirmed three new signings that fill these roles exactly.
The first new player added in the past few days is inside linebacker Brandon Payer out of Colorado State University Pueblo. Payer is a high motor middle linebacker that seems to fit the Donald Payne style well. Payer has good size at 6'4", and moves well in zone coverage over the middle of the field and flats. He seems to find himself in the correct positions in coverage which leads to the ball being thrown directly at him. He also recognizes the run quickly and penetrates the backfield quickly and with ease. Payer seems very capable of filling the significant void left by the sad departure of Donald Payne.
The second player signed by the Gamblers is defensive end Reggie Ngozi Walker out of Kansas State. Walker was teammates with former Gamblers wide receiver Isaiah Zuber in college and has followed his professional career from what we can see from his Twitter. If he watched even one Gamblers game, then he knows he is joining an impressive defensive line group. When watching tape on Walker, his play style resembles the former Gambler and current Cleveland Brown, Chris Odom. Now I know you might be thinking "there is no way he is as good as reigning DPOTY Odom", and it is possible you are right. The main reason I make the comparison is he has the intangibles such as speed and length that you need to do what Chris Odom did. Walker is physically very similar to Odom and Gooden, and rushes with their speed and footwork. I can't wait to see what he can do, even if he only has half the sacks Odom had, he will be a terror.
The third and final Gamblers signing is tight end Clint Sigg out of Lindenwood University in Missouri. The Gamblers tight ends were the unsung heroes of the Gamblers run game last season. The run blocking and pass protection was immaculate, but they were hardly used in the pass game. The Gamblers look to turn this around with this signing as Sigg is a trustworthy target in the pass game. When watching tape on Sigg, it is obvious why he was 1st Team All-GLVC (Great lakes Valley Conference) his senior year. Crisp route running and reliable hands are the consistent theme of this man's highlights, and I am here for it! There is a one-handed catch that you just have to see. The pass game was one of the weaker aspects of the Gamblers last year, and it is a welcomed sight to see that they are actively adding talent to fix it.
The Gamblers have added five players this offseason, all of which fill roles that were pivotal in the team's scheme. The fact that they are all young players with something to prove only makes them that much more exciting. What do you think of the three newest players? Let me know in the comments and in the Gamblers channel of the official USFL Discord! Just tag Ace!