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Syracuse’s Recent Struggles on Draft Day

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).

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)

2017: NONE

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.

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.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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