Four Cavaliers sign free agent deals with NFL teams

Several former Virginia football players signed with teams as undrafted free agents

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Former Virginia tailback Jordan Ellis signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday night as an undrafted free agent.

Mariana Fraser | Cavalier Daily

After the 2019 NFL Draft concluded Saturday night, a slew of former Virginia football players signed with NFL teams as undrafted free agents. While these players weren’t selected during the Draft’s seven rounds, they will still have the opportunity to play professional football for teams that saw potential in them.

These players include former tailback Jordan Ellis, former offensive tackle Marcus Applefield, former halfback Olamide Zaccheaus and former outside linebacker Chris Peace. 

Georgia native Ellis is heading to the state of Ohio after signing with the Cincinnati Bengals. A powerful and productive runner, Ellis led Virginia with 10 touchdowns last season. His 1,026 rushing yards in 2019 rank No. 14 all-time for the program. 

After an impressive season blocking for senior quarterback Bryce Perkins, Applefield attracted the attention of the Baltimore Ravens, who signed the Florida native immediately after the draft’s conclusion.

Zaccheaus — Virginia’s all-time leader in career receptions — could be a target for former NFL MVP Matt Ryan in the fall. The Atlanta Falcons signed the dynamic offensive weapon as a free agent, where he will join former Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert.

Finally, Peace — who led ACC linebackers with 7.5 sacks in 2018 — will hope to be an impact player for the Los Angeles Chargers. Of all the teams who signed undrafted free agents from Virginia, the Chargers are the most viable Super Bowl contenders, so Peace could find himself competing deep in the postseason very soon.

With the four signings above, Virginia now has at least six rookies signed with NFL teams going into the 2019-20 season. Ellis, Applefield, Zaccheaus and Peace join former safety Juan Thornhill and former cornerback Tim Harris who were both selected in the Draft.

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