Thursday, the NFL kicks off in Philadelphia. Despite Syracuse’s struggles on the football field in recent years, the Orange has still consistently sent players to the next level. Since the turn of the century, SU has had a player drafted in every draft except two (2008 and 2015), with Riley Dixon being Syracuse’s only 2016 representative. There won’t be any SU names called in the first round Thursday, but as the draft goes into the weekend the Orange will have names to offer that NFL teams are interested in.
Etta-Tawo is the highest draft prospect coming out of the Carrier Dome this year, and with good reason. He made 94 catches for 1482 yards and 14 touchdowns. Those numbers were good for No. 1 in the ACC and top 10 in the nation in both yards and touchdowns. Still, most recruiting sites have Etta-Tawo going in the late rounds of the draft, though Dino Babers says he’s been getting a variety of projections.
“We heard anything from the second to the seventh round,” Babers told Syracuse.com’s Nate Mink. “Those guys get really secretive as it gets closer and closer and closer.”
Etta-Tawo is an All-American, but he’s also 23. He had a historic season at Syracuse, but it was the only notable season of his college career. There’s also still question as to how much of the credit goes to Dino Babers’ system, but the consensus seems to be that Etta-Tawo will be a chance worth taking once the first few rounds have gone by.
NFL teams are interested in Brisly Estime for one reason: speed. 2016 was the first year he recorded over 300 yards receiving. He wouldn’t be an NFL hopeful if not for his 4.4 40-yard-dash time and reputation as one of the best returners in Syracuse history. He consistently had some of the best return averages in the country and would most likely get more work as a returner, but he also has big play potential. He’s the only player in Syracuse history with more than one touchdown of at least 80 yards.
Estime isn’t projected to go in the draft at any point, but if he isn’t selected he’ll likely sign a contract as an undrafted free agent shortly after the end of the weekend. He has worked worked out with the Bills and the Jets.
It’d be surprising to see anyone else from SU go in this year’s draft, but will be a number of players who at least get a chance on practice squads going into the year. We’ll see as the summer progresses exactly how many SU alums will join the NFL family in 2017.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson