With the offseason rolling on, the Houston Gamblers add five players to the roster for the upcoming 2023 season.
The team announced on their Twitter page Saturday they were adding three defensive players and two offensive players to their roster.
The Newest Members of the Houston Gamblers
Brandon Payer, Inside Linebacker
Brandon Payer showcased his skills in college at Colorado State-Pueblo and proved his worth on their defense as one of the highlights of the unit. Payer recorded 379 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, and two interceptions in his college career there. He would go undrafted in the NFL Draft in 2019.
Payer would receive mini-camp invites with the New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants that same year. Back in December of 2019, he would sign with the BC Lions of the CFL. He made waves when he worked out at a HUB camp last year. Payer showed off his athletism with his explosiveness, change of speed, and coverage skills.
His style of play is exactly what Houston Gamblers head coach Kevin Sumlin is looking for with his defensive unit. What made linebackers like Donald Payne and Reggie Northrup so good was the ability to find and tackle the ball carrier quickly as well as their presence in pass coverage.
Clint Sigg, Tight End
With movement at the receiver position, Sumlin is looking for support in the passing game and Clint Sigg is someone to keep an eye out for. Sigg performed well last year at his college of Lindenwood recording 47 catches for 529 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. He earned First-Team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference honors.
Back in April, Sigg put on a strong performance at The College Gridiron Showcase Pro Day. He ran a 4.77 40-yard dash with a vertical jump of 33.5.
Sigg will be competing for a roster spot with Brandon Barnes, Julian Allen, Josh Pederson. Barnes and Allen should go into training camp as the projected starters based on their experience. Sigg will most likely be gunning for the backup role or third string with Pederson. All signs point toward Sigg being a player to watch out for that could get more playing time than expected.
Reggie Walker, Defensive End
Bringing Reggie Walker in could be a sign the Gamblers are looking for a replacement for Chris Odom and this might be a good start to do so. Walker was an instant impact on the Kansas State Wildcats defense starting at least 11 games in all four seasons at the school from 2015 until 2019. He tied the school record with nine forced fumbles and is ranked tenth in school history with 18 sacks in four seasons.
Right out of college, Walker signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent. He spent one season with the team mostly on the practice squad but was active for one game recording one tackle in 17 defensive snaps played. After his time with Arizona, he joined the CFL signing with the Edmonton Elks back in May. Shortly during his time, he was added to the suspended list with no explanation given.
Many describe Walker as athletic which fits the defensive scheme of Houston. He could be able to bounce around between pass rushers at the defensive end and play outside linebacker. That type of versatility is a good way to find a way onto the roster. Now the real question comes with whether he can step in and make as much of an impact as Odom did.
Deontez Alexander, Wide Receiver
Deontez Alexander is electric with the football and could make for a good substitute for Isaiah Zuber at receiver. The Frankin College product put up huge numbers at the school catching 114 passes for 2,133 yards and 33 touchdowns in just two seasons. Before getting his shot at the NFL, Alexander ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at his pro day impressing scouts in the process. His performance paid off as he signed with the Detroit Lions in 2018 as an undrafted free agent.
While never stepping on the field in a regular season game, the Lions would bring him in and out of the practice squad for two seasons. After the Lions cut him in 2019, he signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, but would not play a game for them. He does have a connection with the league though as he was with the Spring League playing for the Alphas. This past summer, he started on the 90-man roster for the Seattle Seahawks before getting cut from the team.
The potential is there for Alexander as he has a ton of speed to him. He will be very difficult to cover especially when the Gamblers already have speed at the receiver position with JoJo Ward also there. His 6’3″ frame though does make him the tallest receiver on the roster which could make him the prime target to throw to in the red zone on one-on-one contested passes.
Nazir Streater, Cornerback
Talk about a player that can make an immediate impact on defense and special teams. Nazir Streater is a guy that put up good numbers at Indiana-PA when he played there. As a sophomore, Streater recorded seven interceptions in the season. He followed it up with 63 tackles, six tackles for loss, six interceptions, 17 pass deflections, and one fumble recovery during the 2019 season. He also returned kickoffs and punts throughout the season as well for the school. He was named Don Hansen Football Gazette All-America (honorable mention) and was unanimous First Team All-Super Region One (D2CCA, Hansen Gazette). Streater fought through an ACL injury he suffered in the summer of 2020 and finished his senior season with just one interception in 2021.
There is no doubt he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder looking to prove he is the real deal. Many who watched Indiana-PA know his coverage skills are tough on receivers and don’t allow many big plays. He’s a ball hawk who can turn the momentum of a game in a split second. Jamar Summers and Will Likely will be projected starters, but watch for Streater to compete for the nickel corner role in an already strong secondary.