While we were focused on the Syracuse Orange win over the weekend, there was other notable SU football activity going on as well. The NFL cut down rosters to 53 players on Saturday, dictating what’s next for numerous former Orange standouts.
First, the players that made the 53-man rosters:
Riley Dixon, P/New York Giants
Dixon was traded by the Broncos this offseason after they acquired a new punter (Marquette King). However, the Giants were happy to give the Orange star a shot — and it ends up he’s won the job. He’ll wear No. 9 with New York this season.
Zaire Franklin, LB/Indianapolis Colts
Syracuse coach Dino Babers said that the former three-year captain was “uncuttable” following his selection by the Colts. Ends up he was right. Franklin, who will be sporting
No. 97 in Indianapolis this year (UPDATE: HE’S WEARING 44), will compete with Anthony Walker and Skai Moore at the middle linebacker spot. His strong preseason and work ethic are what powered him through. We’ll see how Zaire works himself onto the field over time.
Chandler Jones, LB/Arizona Cardinals
Never a doubt for one of the best defensive players in the league.
Cameron Lynch, LB/Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lynch survives cuts once again, and will play weakside linebacker for the Bucs (currently on the second team). He’s spent parts of the last three years with Tampa after originally breaking into the NFL with the then- St. Louis Rams. Lynch appeared in 14 games last year between the Bucs and Rams, collecting eight tackles.
Justin Pugh, OG/Arizona Cardinals
Just signed a fat new contract this offseason, so like Jones, there was no doubt you’d see him on the Cards’ sideline in 2018.
And unfortunately, the list of former Syracuse players that did not make it past the final cuts on Saturday:
- Jay Bromley, DT (Saints)
- Amba Etta-Tawo, WR (Giants)
- Steve Ishmael, WR (Colts)
- Jamar McGloster, OT (Lions)
- Ervin Philips, WR (Bucaneers)
- Andrew Tiller, OG (Saints)
- Shamarko Thomas, S (Broncos)
For some of those players, however, there’s still some hope. Ismael has already signed to the Colts practice squad after a strong preseason there. Also seems like Shamarko Thomas will be added to the Broncos’ active roster after week one.
Practice squad is still an option for the rest. Even removing bias, all of the players above had productive camps and should conceivably be able to catch on somewhere in one way or another.
Best of luck to those guys as they continue chasing their football goals. And congrats to the players that have made 53-man rosters already, too.