The National Football League’s 2017 regular season kicks off on Thursday evening, when the New England Patriots play host to the Kansas City Chiefs. While no Syracuse Orange players will be directly involved in that game, there will be a bunch of former SU standouts on NFL rosters this season.
We run down the full list below, starting with players on 53-man rosters, then mentioning practice squad players, of which there are a few.
Jay Bromley, DT, New York Giants
Bromley will start at defensive tackle for the Giants after playing in 14 regular season games last season in which he recorded nine total tackles. Last week, SB Nation called the former Orange interior linemen the Giants’ breakout player of the year. Stephen White was most impressed by his ability to avoid blocks and fill gaps on the line. This season’s his first major experience for the team, so his numbers should shoot up considerably.
Riley Dixon, P, Denver Broncos
After being all-world at Syracuse, Dixon had one of the best rookie punting seasons in league history last year. Now that his local celebrity has been established, he’ll get to dominating the NFL in 2017. There’s a potential buddy comedy between him and former SU hoops star Tyler Lydon that could brew in Denver (Lydon is on the Nuggets), but we’ll get there in due time.
Chandler Jones, LB, Arizona Cardinals
Jones got PAID this offseason, to the tune of $83 million dollars after collecting 11 sacks last season. That brings his career total to 47 in a five-year stretch. He’s arguably one of the most feared (and most athletic) pass-rushers in the league at this point. If the Cardinals return to the playoffs, it’ll partly be on the back of Jones and this defense.
Cameron Lynch, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lynch has gone from undrafted free agent to the Rams to now a member of the 53-man roster in Tampa and a potential starter this season. Though his game experience is limited to this point, his hard work has impressed and he’s on the current two-deep on the weakside. Starter or not, he’s in the rotation and is among the best success stories of current SU alums in the league.
Justin Pugh, OG, New York Giants
Pugh has been a key cog in protecting Eli Manning in New York, and in the final year of his rookie deal, he’s looking to cash in this offseason. Whether it’s with the Giants or not is of no importance right now. The standout is ready to help anchor a line that has some bright spots along with a couple weaknesses too this year.
The list of former Syracuse players in NFL camps was trimmed significantly from July, but some of those that didn’t make rosters have found their way to practice squads in the meantime.
Amba Etta-Tawo is one the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad, while Sean Hickey and Eric Crume fill similar roles for the Miami Dolphins and Carolina Panthers, respectively. Ron Thompson is currently on injured reserve for Washington, and Brisly Estime is also on IR for the New York Jets.
Whether you’re an NFL fan or not, it’s worth rooting on these former ‘Cuse stars now that they’re in the league. Or you can just be a Jags fan and root for Doug Marrone too. That’s fine with us.