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2024 NFL Draft Recap: UCF Edition


The 2024 NFL Draft is in the books and two UCF players were drafted. Those who were not drafted were able to sign with teams as undrafted free agents, or UDFA for short. Let’s take a look at where the Knights ended up as of 11 pm on Saturday, April 27th.

Javon Baker – WR – Round 4(110) – New England Patriots

Javon Baker was the most draftable UCF Knight in the NFL Draft. Since transferring from Alabama in 2022, Baker has been an invaluable member of the UCF wide receiver corps. He led the team in receiving yards in both 2022 and 2023. In 2023, Baker caught 52 passes for 1,139 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged just short of 22 yards per reception, which is fantastic for having that many receptions. Baker was named First Team All-Big 12 by the coaches and was one of two Knights invited to the NFL Combine.

New England drafted Baker with the 110th overall pick in the 4th Round of the NFL Draft. He has an opportunity to be part of a youth movement in New England. The Patriots drafted new quarterbacks Drake Maye and Joe Milton III along with wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk. The Patriots also drafted multiple offensive linemen. This is not a Bill Belichick team anymore.

Tylan Grable – OL – Round 6(204) – Buffalo Bills

Along with Baker, Grable was the other player invited to the NFL Combine. Grable transferred to UCF as a tight end from Jacksonville State in 2022 and has been a starter since. Grable was a steady force on a UCF offensive line that struggled to find consistency. The conference noticed, as he was named Honorable Mention All-Big 12 by the coaches.

Grable was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the 204th overall pick in the 6th round and became the second UCF Knight taken in the NFL Draft. Grable has a good chance to become a rotational player due to his size. He can grow more into his frame and will likely do better as a guard versus a tackle.

Jason Johnson – LB – UDFA – Dallas Cowboys

Transferring from Eastern Illinois in 2022, Jason Johnson had some big shoes to fill. He rose to the occasion, leading the team in tackles in both seasons at UCF. He became the first Knight in a decade to have back-to-back 100 tackle seasons. Johnson was named Second Team All-Big 12 by the coaches.

Tre’mon Morris-Brash – Edge – UDFA – Los Angeles Chargers

A fan favorite, Tre’Mon Morris-Brash has been a mainstay on the defensive line since 2019. In each season with the Knights, Morris-Brash has improved his stats, finishing 2023 with 8.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. The 20 tackles for loss were tops and his eight-and-a-half sacks were second in the Big 12 last year. He was named First Team All-Big 12 by the coaches last year. Morris-Brash is a bit undersized on the edge, which hurt his draft stock. Against larger NFL tackles, he might struggle against the run.

John Rhys Plumlee – QB/WR – UDFA – Pittsburgh Steelers

John Rhys Plumlee is the most enigmatic UCF Knight in the NFL Draft. Is he a quarterback or something else? Considering his history, he has some versatility as to what he will do in the NFL. During his freshman year, Plumlee became the starting quarterback at Ole Miss. Plumlee struggled as a passer while showing off fantastic running ability, rushing for more yards than passing. With new head coach Lane Kiffin taking over, he was relegated to backup status and ultimately moved to wide receiver. Despite his speed, Plumlee never made a material dent as a wide receiver and transferred to UCF and became a quarterback again. Plumlee was a dynamic runner with big-play throwing capability. A leg injury early in 2023 affected him the rest of the season, but he still received Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors by the coaches.

Plumlee’s sheer athleticism makes him a project to convert to wide receiver, similar to Terrelle Pryor.

Alec Holler – TE – UDFA – Dallas Cowboys

Alec Holler became a household name with UCF fans after his one-handed touchdown catch against South Florida in 2022. Originally a local walk-on, Holler worked his way up the depth chart and ended up starting 31 games with the Knights. While the offense at UCF wasn’t designed for high tight end usage, Holler is a high IQ player who flies under the radar.

Shaun Peterson Jr – DE – UDFA – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Shaun Peterson Jr was a post-spring game transfer from Florida International in 2023. Prior to 2022, Peterson was a running back at FIU. In 2022, he switched to linebacker, which he played alongside running back in high school. He switched to defensive end when he transferred to UCF. With his FIU career beginning in 2018, he was one of the elder statesmen at UCF. Peterson played in 12 games as part of the defensive rotation.

There you have it. The 2024 NFL Draft is done and UCF was able to play a part in it. Since 1999, UCF has had at least one player every year with exceptions in 2001, 2005, 2016, and 2023. Next up are rookie minicamps and more offseason workout programs. Stay tuned to Last Word on Sports for more post-NFL Draft coverage.


Photo  courtesy: Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK


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