As we've discussed, no Syracuse players were selected in this past weekend's NFL Draft. For some, that's troubling for the program. But more importantly, it means that several former Orange players now face a tougher road to make a pro roster this fall. With 10 SU guys signed with NFL teams as of this morning, we can at least start to assess who stands a chance to make it and who might be at their first of several stops.
Additionally, the following Syracuse players have yet to sign, and could also catch on with teams this spring: (RB) Adonis Ameen-Moore, (S) Ritchy Desir, (WR) Adrian Flemming, (WR) Jeremiah Kobena, (C) John MIller, (DE) Micah Robinson, (DE) Trevon Trejo, (DE) Robert Welsh. We'll update if and when those names get invites, and we wish them the best of luck.
For those currently attached to teams, below are assessments of their shots to be on the 53-man roster in September:
Sean Hickey, OG/New Orleans Saints
The Saints' offensive line was dreadful last season, and the team has made it a priority to fix that position group in the 2015 offseason. That process started by acquiring Seahawks' center Max Unger, and continued by picking Stanford OT Andrus Peat in the first round of the Draft. There's work left to do, however, and that's where Hickey's acquisition could prove valuable. There are only four guards and one center on the current New Orleans roster, giving the big former Orange tackle ample opportunity to work himself into the interior line rotation. Of any SU player, he probably stands the best chance to make a roster, based on both his own skillset (draft-worthy, for sure) and team need.
Durell Eskridge, S/New York Jets
The Jets' defense was already a strength, and adding someone like Eskridge certainly helps the Jets make that area of the field even more impressive. With a busy offseason -- including bringing Darrelle Revis back into the fold -- New York is well-stocked to lean on a ball-hawking collection of DBs this fall. Eskridge would be the sixth safety brought on, which isn't a great sign by any means. But as a player that was widely considered draft-worthy before the weekend, you'd have to think the Jets want to at least give him a shot at making the team. If not with the Jets, though, a strong showing could set Eskridge up well to catch on elsewhere (in particular, with the team that shares a stadium with the Jets and could always use another safety).
Eric Crume, DT/Jacksonville Jaguars
Help from St. Doug? Or just a smart signing by a Jags team that seems incapable of picking itself up off the ground? We'll have to wait and see. Along with four defensive tackles already on the roster, the team hit a home run with Ohio State's Michael Bennett in the fourth round on Saturday. That makes things a bit crowded for Crume to break through, but that's where Marrone could assist a little. Crume has size and run-stopping ability, two things this squad needs desperately. List this one as TBD for now, until we see what he can deliver in camp.
Dyshawn Davis, LB/Washington Redskins
Davis was a fierce pass-rusher at Syracuse, and one that could completely disrupt both the run-game and passing game when let loose. But it seems unlikely that he'll get a chance to do the same in Washington this fall. From last year's rosters, the team carries 10 linebackers, plus another two were drafted this weekend in Preston Smith and Martrell Spaight. Being the 13th man in line when there are unlikely to be more than 11 or maybe 12 (max) slots doesn't sound promising. However, even if it doesn't work out for Davis here, you can bet he'll get looks from elsewhere. SU's NFL network is large enough now to warrant another phone call to a place that really needs to fill out linebacker spots.
Cameron Lynch, LB/
Los Angeles St. Louis Rams
The Rams' starting linebackers group is secured with young talent already, but beyond that, there are opportunities for Lynch to insert himself into a contributing role. While Lynch put together a solid early career at Syracuse, he really broke out in his senior season, and that reputation as an aggressive, lethal pass-rusher is what directly led to this invite. There are no guarantees for him with the Rams, but it's a better shot than most teams given the glut of linebackers currently in the league.
Jarrod West, WR/New York Jets
Another Syracuse pick-up for the Jets (are they usurping Big Blue as New York's College Team's Professional Team?). Unfortunately, this situation seems even more bleak than Eskridge's, however. Grabbing every wideout they can find to fix the team's long-term deficiency at the position, there are 12 following the draft, and West makes 13. New York also drafted Ohio State's Devin Smith in the second round on Friday. So... where does West fit in? He may not, but like Eskridge, doing well with the Jets could set him up to catch on in a place that really needs a wideout. Stay tuned here.
Prince-Tyson Gulley, RB/Buffalo Bills
With five running backs on the roster, including LeSean McCoy and draft pick Karlos Williams, this is a confusing add for the Bills (and for Gulley, really). The crowded backfield doesn't allow for much upward mobility, and may not even yield a roster spot. Gulley's size is certainly prohibitive for most pro teams, too, but there could be teams that see his breakaway running ability as an asset. Should another team try to run an Eagles spread-type offense, perhaps Gulley could be some value there.
Sam Rodgers, LS/Buffalo Bills
Would the Bills carry a second long-snapper? It doesn't seem incredibly likely, so again... another weird Syracuse add by Buffalo. But if an SU player is looking for a nearby base to operate from while setting themselves up for a future pro football job, Buffalo is the place. Long-snapping is important and Rodgers was getting some hype prior to the Draft. Expect him somewhere. Just probably not with the Bills.
Darius Kelly, S/Buffalo Bills
Jeez, Orange players. Branch out a bit, will ya? Kelly enters a crowded secondary of young talent and like Eskridge, he may be well suited to spend the time with his current team auditioning for his next one. Kelly displayed flashes of being a solid safety by the end of his time at Syracuse (sometimes better in coverage than Eskridge, honestly), and if he wants to hone in on that skillset, we could see him on a field this fall. It's not highly likely. But still, entirely possible.
Brandon Reddish, CB/Oakland Raiders
Cornerback was a big need for the Raiders, but the team failed to fill it in the Draft until Saturday, when they picked Dexter McDonald (from Kansas). Current roster has six at the position (including McDonald), but lacks a real breakout star... which is where Reddish could step up? No, he might not scream "star corner" just yet, but like Kelly, he did make strides in terms of coverage by the end of last season. Should he translate those improvements against Oakland's speedy receivers in camp, we could see him as a key contributor for the Raiders come this fall.
And that's it, for now. Agree/disagree with the pro assessments above? Feel free to weigh in down in the comments.