The NFL Draft will start on April 27 in Philadelphia this year. And while the Syracuse Orange are not projected to have any first round picks this season, it’s very likely that we see at least one SU player selected.
After a record-setting senior season, Amba Etta-Tawo appears to be a safe bet to be picked. Last week, Ari wrote up a great profile on the star wideout’s sudden breakout and why that also might have some NFL scouts flummoxed. But those questions don’t seem likely to force him out of the draft. When you’re able to catch 14 touchdown passes in a season, people are going to pay attention.
As long as Etta-Tawo’s picked, he’ll become the 15th Orange wide receiver ever chosen in the draft, and the latest since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked Mike Williams in the fourth round back in 2010. A rundown of all 14 pass-catchers that came before him:
1976: Lonnie Allgood, Cincinnati Bengals (9th round)
Allgood amassed 52 catches, 991 yards and three touchdowns at SU, which back then, was enough to get you chosen. He’d never collect any statistics for the Bengals, however.
1980: Art Monk, Washington Redskins (1st round)
Monk was an electric player at SU, playing a large role in rushing, receiving and the return game as well. In the NFL, he took off even more, though. He’s still among the top-20 in receptions and receiving yards in league history, and is 100th all-time in total touchdowns. Monk was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1987: Scott Schwedes, Miami Dolphins (2nd round)
After a strong Syracuse career (he’d set quite a few records later broken by Etta-Tawo), Schwedes headed to Miami, where he contributed sparingly. He caught his first pass in 1988, and his first touchdown in 1989. Schwedes hauled in 19 passes for 370 yards and two touchdowns over the course of four years with Miami. His career ended with the Chargers.
1988: Tommy Kane, Seattle Seahawks (3rd round)
Kane’s big senior season -- 968 yards, 14 touchdowns -- would propel him into the draft, and once in the league, he actually had a reasonably productive career. Things started slow for two years, before he grabbed 52 catches in 1990, then another 50 in 1991. His career ended in 1992, after hauling in 142 receptions, for 2,034 yards and nine touchdowns.
1989: Deval Glover, Miami Dolphins (10th round)
Glover wasn’t the biggest name on some excellent Orangemen squads in the late 80s, but his 41 catches and five touchdowns during his senior season garnered some attention. That said, he never logged any NFL statistics.
1990: Rob Moore, New York Jets (supplemental draft)
Moore’s impressive output at Syracuse didn’t get him selected in the NFL Draft’s normal rounds, but his name was called first in the 1990 supplemental draft. After his rookie year with the Jets, he caught at least 50 passes every year from 1991 through 1998. His final tally when he called it quits in 2001: 628 catches, 9,368 yards and 49 touchdowns.
1991: Rob Carpenter, Cincinnati Bengals (4th round)
Carpenter would end up playing for the Patriots to start his career, and bounced around to a few other teams between 1991 and 1996. His best season featured 29 catches for the Eagles in 1995. In total, Carpenter had 51 catches for 607 yards and a score.
1993: Qadry Ismail, Minnesota Vikings (2nd round)
Ismail was an exciting player as a receiver and return man at SU, and he translated those skills to the pros pretty quickly as a member of the Vikings. However, he really hit his stride with the Ravens, including a 74-catch effort in 2001. He retired just a year later after his final season with the Colts. Ismail finished with over 350 catches and over 5,000 yards from scrimmage in his career.
1996: Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis Colts (1st round)
The Hall-of-famer is widely considered one of the best wide receivers in league history after a 13-year career that included 1,102 receptions, 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns. His numbers as a member of the Orangemen also weren’t too shabby. His 135 catches are top-10 in school history, and his 1,131 receiving yards as a senior remains one of the top single-season totals as well.
1998: Jim Turner, Carolina Panthers (7th round)
Turner failed to log any stats during a four-year NFL career (all with the Panthers), but that doesn’t diminish his productive Syracuse career. As a receiver, he was used a reasonable amount, but had a nose for the end zone (six scores in two years as a primary contributor). His true talents came as a return man, though. He scored two touchdowns and averaged nearly 25 yards per kick return at SU.
1999: Kevin Johnson, Cleveland Browns (2nd round)
Johnson was a force for Syracuse in the latter half of his college career. In his final two seasons, he had 92 catches and 12 touchdowns, and added another four return TDs as well. Those trends continued early in his career with the Browns, becoming a primary receiving option for the reborn Cleveland franchise. He had 384 catches, 4,595 yards and 25 touchdowns in his career spanning from 1999-2005.
2003: David Tyree, New York Giants (5th round)
Tyree never really got going with the Giants, but he’s still part of one of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl history: the “helmet catch” vs. the unbeaten Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Despite his Super Bowl heroics, that was the last past Tyree would catch as a pro.
2004: Johnnie Morant, Oakland Raiders (5th round)
Morant translated a modest Syracuse career into an NFL Draft selection, but he only played sparingly in three seasons for the Raiders. He had one catch in his rookie season, and seven in his third year. As a member of the Orangemen, he’d caught 88 passes for 1,535 yards and seven scores.
2010: Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4th round)
Williams failed to finish up his career at Syracuse, but he still 133 catches for 2,044 yards and 20 touchdowns. Once drafted by the Bucs, he jumped in with similar production as well. As a rookie, he caught 65 passes for 964 yards and 11 scores as a rookie, then followed that up with two more seasons of 60-plus catches. In his final two seasons, he caught just 30 balls, however. His most recent season was 2014 with the Bills.
Obviously not all sure-fire stars above, but two Hall-of-Famers out of 14 sounds like pretty good odds. Etta-Tawo seems like a day three guy right now. We’ll be sharing additional info about his draft stock leading up to the big weekend.