With all the questions about which players will fill open voids this season, why not check in on the NFL rookies who left these voids behind. NFL Training Camp is starting up, and five members of last year’s Syracuse football team will be participating. After the impressive careers of Zaire Franklin, Steve Ishmael, Ervin Phillips, Jamar McGloster, and Jordan Martin at SU, they are now again trying to distinguish themselves. This time, it’s the real deal.
Franklin was the first and only member of last year’s Orange squad to be selected in the NFL draft. A seventh-round pick, Franklin joined a Colts team that may have an opening for the former three-time captain. Starting middle linebacker Anthony Walker suffered a concussion during practice, which may lead to more reps in Training Camp for Franklin if Indy opts to be cautious. However, the Colts run a 4-3, which could halt Zaire’s snap count as an inside linebacker. Something also to note, the Colts traded defensive lineman Henry Anderson to the Jets in order to draft Franklin.
To the surprise of Orange faithful, last year’s ACC receiving yards leader went undrafted. While his unemployment didn’t last long, opportunities may be limited in Indianapolis. The Colts signed Ishamel, but drafted two receivers prior, and now have thirteen wide outs total. From a more optimistic standpoint, Andrew Luck is finally healthy, which would help Ishmael in the event he gets a chance to play. Additionally, Ishamel will be fighting to make the Colts’ roster alongside a familiar face in Franklin.
Like Ishmael, Phillips dominated pass defenses all of last season. Also like Ishmael, he didn’t hear his name called in the draft. His fortune changed when he signed with Tampa Bay, the home of fellow ACC shredder, Jameis Winston. The Buccaneers’ depth at receiver is neither good nor bad, so even if Phillips earns a roster spot on special teams, it is not out of the question that he gets some snaps on offense. It may be a reach, but Syracuse fans can hope that at 5’11” with 4.5 speed, Phillips can blossom into an eventual replacement option for DeSean Jackson.
Jamar McGloster, Parris Bennet, and Jordan Martin
When the chances of these three players making NFL rosters are considered, it is likely appropriate that they are grouped together here. McGloster was signed by the San Francisco 49ers, but evaluators doubt his strength, footwork, and pass-blocking ability. San Francisco’s offensive line is already established, and with McGloster buried in the pit of their depth chart, the chances of him blocking for Jimmy G don’t look too probable.
Safety Jordan Martin will be at New York Jets camp this week. Unfortunately, Gang Green spent their first two picks last year on safeties, and both players looked very promising in their rookie seasons. As long as Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are in the mix, there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity in store for Martin.
Lastly, linebacker Parris Bennett was signed by the Packers, but retired yesterday because of injuries.