While UB was shut out of the 2022 NFL Draft this past weekend, multiple Bulls signed with NFL teams as undrafted free agents following the event.
Redshirt fifth-year linebacker Kadofi Wright, senior running back Kevin Marks Jr. and graduate defensive tackle Josh Rogers all signed with NFL teams, while senior cornerback Ja’Marcus Ingram received a minicamp invite from the Buffalo Bills.
While a contract is no guarantee of a roster spot, former Bulls Jaret Patterson (Washington Commanders) and Kayode Awosika (Philadelphia Eagles) are currently on NFL rosters after signing as undrafted free agents last season.
Here’s a look at where this year’s crop of Bulls graduates signed:
Kevin Marks Jr., Los Angeles Chargers
One of the most prolific rushers in UB history, Marks looks to join a crowded Los Angeles backfield that already includes star running back Austin Ekeler, third-year back Joshua Kelley, second-year man Larry Rountree III and 2022 draft pick Isaiah Spiller (a fourth-round pick out of Texas A&M).
Marks is best known for his outstanding three-year run as the sidekick to Patterson from 2018 to 2020. He rushed for 2,621 yards and 28 touchdowns during his career at UB, highlighted by a 1,035-yard season during his sophomore year and a 13-touchdown campaign as a redshirt freshman.
But Marks saw a regression during the 2021-22 season. Multiple nagging injuries saw the Norfolk, VA native bounce in-and-out of the lineup and eventually lose the starting job to junior Dylan McDuffie (who transferred to Georgia Tech this offseason).
Marks posted career-lows in rushing yards (414) and touchdowns (five) last season but reportedly made a good impression with scouts at UB’s Pro Day. He ran a 4.51 40-yard dash and showcased his pass-catching and agility skills in a promising pro day performance.
“Showcasing my hand tracking to the ball, seeing the ball and getting in-and-out of my breaks,” Marks said, when asked what he wanted to show scouts during the event. “I’m showing my speed, showing that I’m versatile, too. I’m an ‘every-down’ back.”
Marks will face an uphill battle in Los Angeles, but the All-Mid-American Conference running back will at least have the opportunity to make it in the NFL.
Kadofi Wright, Denver Broncos
A six-year contributor for the Bulls, Wright signed with the Broncos as a capable playmaker with an intriguing skillset.
The 6-foot-3, 230 lb. linebacker thrived in coverage while paired in the middle with graduate linebacker James Patterson last season. He often roamed in coverage on passing downs and showcased sideline-to-sideline speed when tracking down running backs out of the backfield.
Wright displayed a nose for the football at UB, as he recorded four interceptions, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and three defensive touchdowns in six seasons with the Bulls.
Last season, Wright racked up career-highs with 49 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He ran a 4.52 in the 40-yard dash and recorded a 10’3” broad jump at UB’s Pro Day in March. Wright’s size and measurables match that of the modern NFL linebacker, something that earned him a shot in the NFL.
“The ability to cover tight ends or slot receivers or running backs who run 4.4 [in the 40-yard dash],” Wright said, when asked what he could bring to a professional team at UB’s Pro Day. “That’s scarce in the NFL because everybody’s 245 lb. or 250 lb. and I’m 230 lb., so I’m able to run with the faster guys.”
While Wright’s skillset and measurables made him an All-MAC linebacker, he’ll have to fight for a roster spot with the Broncos.
Josh Rogers, Seattle Seahawks
Rogers transferred to UB after spending three seasons at Texas A&M, where he struggled to find consistent playing time in the Southeastern Conference.
The Houston native was able to make an immediate impact in the MAC, appearing in 11 games (10 starts) at defensive tackle last season. He recorded 24 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in his lone season with the Bulls.
Rogers showed little promise as a pass rusher with just one quarterback hit and 0.5 sacks last season, but his potential as a run-stuffer was enough for the Seahawks to offer him a free-agent contract.
Ja’Marcus Ingram, Buffalo Bills (minicamp invitee)
While Ingram didn’t receive an official contract, he did receive an invite to the Buffalo Bills’ minicamp just down the road from UB’s North Campus.
Like Rogers, Ingram played just one season at UB after transferring from Power Five program Texas Tech, where he spent two seasons as a safety and a cornerback. He appeared in 21 games (one start) for the Red Raiders, totaling 31 tackles, an interception and two pass breakups.
Ingram had a productive season at UB in 2021, racking up 47 tackles, three pass breakups, 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble in 11 games. At 6-foot-2, Ingram has the ability to contend with taller receivers in jump-ball opportunities.
Now presented with the opportunity to remain in Western New York, Ingram will have to make the most of his minicamp tryout with the Bills.
Anthony DeCicco is the senior sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony DeCicco is the Editor-in-Chief of The Spectrum. His words have appeared in outlets such as SLAM Magazine andSyracuse.com. In 2020, he was awarded First Prize for Sports Column Writing at the Society of Professional Journalists' Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards. In his free time, he can be found watching ‘90s Knicks games and reading NFL Mock Drafts at 3 a.m.