Historically, Syracuse has a rich tradition in the NFL Draft. Having multiple players picked in the draft was the standard for the Orange prior to the 2015 season. Recently, SU has had three players drafted in the past four seasons. There’s no doubt that’s a statistic that head coach Dino Babers is looking to improve. Defensive lineman Chris Slayton was the only Orange player selected this season (New York Giants: round 7, pick 31).
Best of luck to our 2018 Seniors as they take the next step in their journey toward their NFL dreams!
— Dino Babers (@CoachBabersCuse) April 25, 2019
SU has had quite a few first round picks over the years. Since 1999, the list includes quarterback Donovan McNabb, linebacker Kieth Bulluck, defensive back Will Allen, defensive end Dwight Freeney, defensive end Chandler Jones, offensive lineman Justin Pugh. Back before the McNabb days, 15 Syracuse players were taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. People often speak of the strong history of SU Football and these stats back that up. The Orange were regularly pumping out first round picks back in the golden days.
Recent NFL Draft History
2019: DL Chris Slayton (New York Giants: round 7, pick 31)
2018: LB Zaire Franklin (Indianapolis Colts: round 7, pick 17)
2016: P Riley Dixon (Denver Broncos: round 7, pick 7)
How do the Orange get back to that point? The program hasn’t had a player picked before the seventh round in five years. Syracuse also hasn’t had a former player selected in the first round since 2013 (Pugh). Well, the answer seems obvious but the Orange aren’t bringing in the talent they used to. Even with last years 10-win season, Syracuse’s 2019 recruiting class didn’t crack the top 50. Babers has brought in mostly three-star recruits since arriving to SU.
Even Orange stars like Eric Dungey are struggling to get their names called.
Thirty-one college quarterbacks were selected in the NFL Draft, signed as undrafted free agents or have announced rookie mini-camp invitations. Yet Syracuse star Eric Dungey remains unsigned. https://t.co/bEBOTizAzk
— Syracuse Football (@syrfootball) April 29, 2019
Dungey is an example of a very skilled collegiate player that fit Babers’ scheme perfectly. While he has some skills that will translate to the next level, it wasn’t too surprising to see Dungey end up as an un-drafted free agent. If Syracuse keeps winning, the recruits will come. That’s when the high round draft picks will show up again. However, it’s nothing to be worried about. Babers knows how to get the best out of his roster and that’s what makes this program so dangerous in 2019.