Several Syracuse Orange football players will be receiving serious consideration from teams in the later rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. We’re profiling each of them here, before the event starts next Thursday, April 27, on ESPN.
First up is Brisly Estime.
Name: Brisly Estime
Position: Wide receiver/punt returner
Weight: 183 lbs.
Hometown: Delray Beach, Fla.
NFL Draft Projections: Undrafted
2016 stats: 48 catches, 518 yards, 3 TD | 17.7 yards per punt return on 16 returns
Career stats: 103 catches, 1,208 yards, 7 TD | 18 yards per return, 2 TD on 41 returns
Game to watch: 2016 vs. Virginia Tech (8 catches, 131 yards, 1 TD)
Pro Day Performance: 4.4-second 40-yard dash
Estime is a speedy and shifty player, who excelled in the slot last year, and leaves the Orange as one of the program’s top-15 pass catchers of all-time (pretty amazing, considering the bevy of terrible offenses he had to play in while at SU). Despite the slot focus, he was also a pretty reliable deep option at times.
As a punt returner, he was adept at following his blocks, identifying openings up-field and visualizing five moves ahead while running in traffic. With coverage teams moving quicker at the pro level than much of what Estime saw in college, that ability to manage traffic and avoid tacklers is a helpful skill that will be put to the test a bit this summer.
There’s likely concern that the 2016 jump in statistical output was directly attributable to the new offensive scheme (but in the same vein, his lower numbers beforehand were due to a lack of an offense).
Estime was not all that dynamic as a kick returner (makes him a more one-dimensional prospect), and he lost sight of the ball on deep routes pretty often during his career. His slot designation could be a saving grace, but the type of system he played in during the 2016 season (with four-wide and several receivers getting more attention) won’t be replicated in the NFL.
Fun Fact(s): Estime is the only player in Syracuse history with two touchdown catches of 80 yards or more. His punt return touchdown against Rhode Island in 2015 was the program’s first such score since 2003 -- a streak of 12 years without one.
TNIAAM Draft Prediction: Unfortunately, Estime’s unlikely to get chosen as a specialist (he’d likely be a punt returner primarily in the NFL, with wide receiver being a secondary focus). But that doesn’t mean he won’t get a shot as a pro, either. His speed and clear vision in the return game are both huge advantages, and intangibles not a lot of players possess.
Expect to see him sign with a team shortly after the draft as a player who could be key in the field position game on special teams.