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Syracuse football season preview: Who will be defensive MVP?

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Okay, so who’s going to stand out on defense?

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange’s football season starts on Friday night. So we continue to preview portions of the year and its results.

Today:

Who is SU’s defensive MVP?

Kevin Wall: Chris Slayton

We're all worried about the depth on the DL heading into the Fall. Slayton's ability to provide a stable presence at DE with the potential to move inside on passing downs is going to calm some of those fears and help the Orange's transition to the Tampa 2 defense.

Ari Gilberg: Chris Slayton

Since we have to pick one, I’m going to go with Slayton who is the only formidable player on a weak and inexperienced Orange defensive line. Slayton initially showed he’s ready to take the next step and fill the void left by Ron Thompson when he recorded three tackles for a loss and one sack during the team’s spring game in April. Unless Slayton is forced to endure frequent double teams, expect that sort of production to continue this season.

John Cassillo: Zaire Franklin

Franklin may not be the most well-adapted to take on his new role in the Tampa-2, but if he succeeds, he’ll be the most important member of the defense. Doubt his coverage abilities thus far if you’d like (and you can). But Franklin is a defensive captain for a reason, and he appears primed to embrace his new role this year. Expect the junior to be active in pass coverage, among the team leaders in tackles and a sign of a group much improved from last year’s disaster.

Sean Keeley: Zaire Franklin

Gotta be Zaire, right? Dude is the two-time captain for a reason and he’s the anchor of the team’s most reliable defensive unit. He’ll no-doubt put up some of the best numbers of the team this year and he’s the most likely person to influence those around him on the field. Whereas we wait to see if te defensive line and secondary can hold their own, we know what we’ve got in Franklin. A star.

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Thoughts? Who might your defensive MVP be for the Syracuse Orange this season?