Jared Smith over at SB Nation NY is calling it The Curious Case of Chandler Jones' Draft Stock and that's a pretty fair statement. Most Syracuse fans would tell you they always expected Chan's name to be called during the 2012 NFL Draft, but I don't think very many of them could honestly say they thought he would be first-round material.
And yet, here we are. Or may be.
Todd McShay has gone Threat Level Skip Bayless in his admiration for Jones. The former Syracuse DE who was long-rumored to go to the New England Patriots with the 26th pick is now generating rumors that he could to the New York Jets at No. 16 or even higher.
So if Chandler goes in the first-round, the first Syracuse Orange player to be selected in the opening round since Dwight Freeney in 2002, what does that mean to the program?
A lot, methinks.
First of all, Doug Marrone sums it up better than I ever could...
The higher he goes, the better career he has in the NFL, will only help Syracuse football. Everyone knows if you’re a 17-or 18-year-old kid, and you’re being recruited, you know – ‘Why don’t you come up here and play defensive end for us. Our last defensive end went in the first round’ – that’s a good thing. Not only that, but Chandler is a New York State kid. So that shows there is that type of talent in this state. We just have to get it here at Syracuse University and develop it."
Are you a defensive lineman? Would you like to play in the NFL some day? Here, let me show you Dwight Freeney, Jameel McClain, Arthur Jones and Chandler Jones. Would you like to sign now or wait until signing day?
I don't have the hard data to back it up but it feels like we're slowly but surely starting to re-seed the NFL with quality talent. Word on the street is that Delone Carter is going to see his role expand this season. We know Mike Williams is holding his own in Tampa. Doug Hogue is working his way up the depth chart in Detroit. The aforementioned defensive players are all carving out quality careers.
If 2008 was the nadir of Syracuse football in terms of the NFL Draft (no players taken, first time since 1975), then the program is rebounding into the kind that can produce a handful of NFL-capable talent each season. It's not the kind of thing that will change the program overnight, but it's a great sign for the steady growth of the program and it's ability to attract talent that expects to be NFL-ready by the time they leave SU.
We know Chandler Jones will be drafted this year and there's a good chance Philip Thomas will hear his name called as well. That would make it four consecutive years that multiple SU players went in an NFL Draft. Used to be that wasn't a big deal. These days it a sign that we're getting back on track.