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Syracuse and the Upcoming NFL Draft

Now that the NFL Draft is just days away, it seems like a good time to look at former Syracuse players hoping to hear their names called in Nashville, Tennessee.

Chris Slayton, DT

In a CBS Sports mock draft by Ryan Wilson, Slayton is picked in the top of the fifth round by the Browns, and becomes SU’s first player off the board. He’s generally being considered as the Orange’s top prospect, due to his size and nice hands inside. At 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds, he’s the kind of space eater teams look for to fill the one-gap on the defensive line. While he didn’t fill up the stat sheet, he constantly manned double teams, which allowed edge rushers Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman more room to operate. Here’s some of his film in SU’s victory over NC State last season.

Jamal Custis, WR

Custis is projected to go near the end of the sixth round, and Wilson has him mocked to the Lions at pick 31. Custis really came on in his last year at Orange, becoming a reliable deep threat for Eric Dungey. He stands 6-foot-5 and ran a 4.50 forty time at the combine, so he has the size and speed teams look for in elite receivers. Last year he wasn’t consistent Syracuse. At the beginning of the season, he looked like the replacement of Steve Ishmael, before dropped balls started to become a problem. But he was a strong, physical receiver who could muscle defensive backs, and hop over them for jump balls. His highlights are very impressive.

Eric Dungey, QB

In CBS’s latest mock draft, Slayton and Custis are the only Syracuse players taken in the draft. But Dungey has some intangibles that may urge a team to take a chance on him. We highlighted earlier this year how Dungey could improve his draft stock, and he capitalized on a successful season. For the first time in his career, he didn’t miss any games. He’s one of the toughest competitors ever seen in Syracuse history, and his ability to scramble and make plays outside of the pocket is enticing. He does have to continue to improve his accuracy. But with his never give up mentality, it’s easy to envision SU’s all-time yards leader carving out a nice NFL career. And his highlights are a thing of beauty.

Syracuse has a few other guys that participated in the Pro Day and are looking to continue their football careers. Cody Conway showed out on the bench press and has a solid chance of making a team this upcoming offseason. No football team can ever have enough offensive lineman, and Conway would provide solid depth.

Meanwhile Syracuse’s linebackers from last season, Ryan Guthrie and Kielan Whitner are gritty defenders who epitomize the linebacker position. They could also make a nice contribution to an NFL roster.

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