Orange Fizz


Reviewing the best players from Syracuse to have been drafted to the NFL

We are less than two weeks out from the 2024 NFL Draft and Christopher Bleich,
Caleb Okechukwu and Isiah Johnson will hope to add their names to the famous list
of former Syracuse greats who have gone onto leave their marks on the NFL.
Syracuse accounts for seven NFL Hall of Famers and there many hope
that the most recent players who have graduated from Syracuse can go on and
leave a mark. Having produced an enviable list of greats, in this article we will breakdown five of
the best players that have ever been drafted out of Syracuse.

Jim Brown.

It is only fitting that our list of Syracuse greats starts with legendary Running Back,
Jim Brown. Brown, who sadly died in 2023 left an indelible mark on the NFL that very
few have been able to match. The first running back to score 100 rushing touchdowns, that is a record that stood until 2006. When Brown left the NFL, he held the records for single season rushing
yards and was the overall leader in yards. Although both of those records have been
broken Brown is still one of the benchmarks that young Running Backs strive to
emulate even though he retired over 60 years ago. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971, Brown was voted as the second-best player in a list of the NFL’s 100 greatest players. A film star and civil rights activist, Brown remains one of the finest players to have ever graduated from Syracuse.

Larry Csonka

Syracuse has long had a tradition for producing game changing Running Backs and
quick to follow on the heels of Jim Brown was Larry Csonka. As hard a nosed footballer you would ever wish to come across, Csonka would be drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1968 and would go onto create history that still stands to this day. A vital part of Don Shula’s offensive system, Csonka would go onto win two Super Bowls with the Dolphins, but he will forever be remembered for helping the Dolphins
go undefeated for the entirety of the 1972 season. The Dolphins remain the only team in NFL history to have gone through a season undefeated.

John Mackey

Let’s stay with the offensive side of the ball but change position. John Mackey was
voted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1992. A fearsome Tight End who was able to
combine his size with great speed, Mackey helped redefine the Tight End position
and would end up playing nine seasons with the Baltimore Colts. A Super Bowl champion with the Colts back in Super Bowl V, Mackey made one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history when receiving a pass from fellow Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas and returning it 75 yards to the house. Mackey retired from the NFL having scored 38 touchdowns and accumulating over 5,000 yards. After football he would go onto become the first President of the NFL Players Association.

Marvin Harrison

Marvin Harrison enjoyed thirteen seasons in the NFL. A franchise icon for the
Indianapolis Colts, Harrison was nominated for the Pro Bowl on eight occasions and
was a winner of Super Bowl XLI. Harrison is fondly remembered for his relationship with fellow Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, with the duo going onto to form one of the deadliest duos in NFL history.
Harrison leads the Colts for most passes caught and for total receiving yards. To this
day he ranks 8 th in the all-time receiving list. Harrison’s greatness has recently come back to light ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft, as his son, Marvin Harrison is widely projected to be the first wide receiver selected in this year’s draft. The NFL Draft has recently become a betting event, with US bettors all over the country trying to predict where players may land. NY Sportsbooks have a wide range
of betting markets related to where Harrison will land, in a Quarterback heavy draft, it
is widely anticipated that he will be the first non-Quarterback selected.

Donovan McNabb

Donovan McNabb sits fourth on the Syracuse all time passing statistics. Drafted by
the Philadelphia Eagles back in 1998, he almost led the Eagles to their first ever
Super Bowl championship but was cruelly denied in Super Bowl XXXIX. A six-time Pro-Bowl member, McNabb is the Eagles all-time passing leader. He threw for 216 touchdowns and will be forever remembered as an Eagles great.

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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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