The Buffalo Bills are making more additions to their backfield, grabbing an undrafted rookie back who was at the top of his draft class in one important category.
Former University of Central Florida back Isaiah Bowser took to Instagram on May 14 to share that he had signed a contract with the Bills. As Zack Dimmit of SI.com’s Bills Central noted, Bowser had been invited to Buffalo’s rookie minicamp last week and impressed enough to earn a contract.
Though Bowser will likely have an uphill battle to make the final roster in Buffalo, he will get the chance to build on the momentum he created with a strong performance going into the NFL Draft.
UCF Back Led Rookie Class in Bench Press
Though Bowser was not ranked among the top prospects of his draft class at running back — SI.com projected him as a seventh-round pick at best, though he ultimately went undrafted — he did turn heads with an impressive Pro Day at UCF. As Daytona Beach News-Journal reporter Chris Boyle tweeted, Bowser had a strong showing when it came to the bench press.
“Strong testing day for #UCF running back Isaiah Bowser to this point,” Boyle wrote. “He completed 25 reps on the bench press, hit a 35.5” vertical jump and ran a 40 time of 4.58, per the school.”
The 25 reps on the bench press would have put tied Bowser for the lead among all running backs at the NFL Combine. Illinois running back Chase Brown also had 25 reps, and no other back had more than 21.
Bowser rushed for 1,502 yards and 25 touchdowns in two seasons at UCF, and earned some praise from SI.com in a pre-draft write-up.
“Good height and a solid frame for a tailback,” the analysis noted. “Patient in the hole but not lapse, showing nimble feet and quick decision-making to read and then press the gap. Can make defensive linemen miss at the first level, showing an ability to get past the line of scrimmage when plays go array.”
Bills Loading Up at Running Back
Despite losing lead running back Devin Singletary to free agency, the Bills have made moves to bolster their backfield and create some competition for carries in 2023. They signed former New England Patriots running back Damien Harris and former Pro Bowler Latavius Murray.
Second-year back James Cook is also expected to take on a more significant role, and trade-deadline acquisition Nyheim Hines — who played mostly as a kick returner last season — could be freed up to play a bigger part in the running game after the Bills signed receiver and return specialist Deonte Harty.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane said the team wanted to add new dimensions to the offense and take pressure off quarterback Josh Allen.
“This week we need to air it out. This week we need to run it a little bit more, adding Damien Harris, probably a more physical guy,” Beane said. “James Cook in year two. Nyheim coming back from seven, eight games with us, has the whole offseason to learn our offense and special teams. So all of it is to make it to where Josh can play quarterback and not feel like he’s got to do everything.”