Three rounds in, four to go. After Matthew Bergeron was drafted by the Falcons in round 2 last night, Syracuse had a player off the board. Later on, despite coming off ACL surgery, Garrett Williams has recovered quickly and the Cardinals liked what they saw in round 3. Already more than what we saw last year. However, there is still plenty more to invest in as day 3 comes upon us today. A few big names that Orange fans have fallen in love with over their collegiate careers could hear their names today. The only question is, when?
After Tucker’s breakout season in 2021, 2022 provided an opportunity for him to really boost his stock. Unfortunately, he didn’t exactly do that. You can blame injuries and whatnot, but it led to Tucker having to hold his own pro day. That’s something you only typically see first-rounders and other big names do. Still, while five 100-rush yard games is nothing to scoff at, it’s a far cry from the nine he had in 2021. Tucker will undoubtedly hear his name today, but it just might come a little later than we may have thought. Prediction: 5th round
This one could come down to the wire. Jones had some flat out brilliant performances this season (16 total tackles against Notre Dame!!), but he was also the anchor of a run defense that collapsed horrifically down the stretch. Four sacks also won’t impress many, especially in an NFL where quarterbacks are playing outside the pocket with regularity. This draft has a very deep linebacker group, which has undoubtedly hurt his stock. Jones will be sweating, but in the end his upside should be too high for him to go undrafted. Prediction: 7th round
There were times throughout his collegiate career when Szmyt appeared to be the best kicker in college football. There were also times when he looked like one of the worst. We saw more of his good side in 2022, so he’s got that going for him. The NFL kicker market is always a hot one, especially nowadays with recent goalpost narrowing and longer PATs. That said, the draft is not usually a hot commodity for kickers, so it’s unlikely we hear Szymt’s name called. But he should generate at least a little bit of interest when the dust settles. Prediction: Goes undrafted, but signs as a free agent
In addition to the four guys mentioned above (and Bergeron), @CuseFootball included four other players in this graphic. Those players are Chris Elmore, long snapper Aaron Bolinsky, and receivers Devaughn Cooper and CJ Hayes. There could be a route where Elmore gets picked up because of the versatility he showed over his collegiate career, but injuries are an issue. Not to mention Mel Kiper did not list him in the top 15 fullbacks of this year’s draft. It’s a similar situation with Bolinsky. He played his role well, but will there be a team in such desperate need of a long snapper that it’s going to use a draft pick on him? He could wind up on a practice squad though. As for Cooper, he has a massive issue with dropping passes, but did record his two best games in his two last games. And Hayes, he had one catch this season. It’s a long shot for both of them, maybe they could catch on to one of these new spring leagues if it doesn’t work out for them because they have both shown flashes.
Regardless of how things shake out, enjoy it and appreciate these players for what they did in Orange. Their presence will certainly be missed on and off the field next year.