The 2019 NFL Draft starts this evening, and while no Syracuse Orange players are slated to go on day one (or day two), there’s a chance we could see two players selected between rounds five and seven on Saturday.
The most obvious choices, as previously discussed, are Jamal Custis and Chris Slayton. I’d put Slayton as the most likely pick, with Custis getting called by way of enormous hands and a 4.5-second 40-yard dash time. Any player getting picked is notable in itself. But if two from the Orange wind up drafted, it’ll be the first time 2014 that the program has had multiple players picked.
Obviously things have been a bit rough for Syracuse football for much of the last two decades before 2018’s 10-3 resurgence. But the last decade in particular has left NFL Draft success beyond SU’s grasp. Just 13 players total have been picked from 2010-18. Just two of those (Chandler Jones, Justin Pugh) were first-rounders, while Jay Bromley (third) was the only other player to be picked in the first three rounds.
That’s tough for any program to take. It’s even worse for this one, which once had at least one player drafted every year between 1976 and 2007. Since then, three drafts (2008, 2015, 2017) have gone without any Orange players getting picked at all.
But staying positive: Again, there’s a pretty good chance at least one player is selected. If Slayton’s picked, he’d be the first defensive tackle to be selected since 2014 (Bromley) and the 12th defensive tackle drafted in program history. Despite some record-setting receivers in recent seasons, Custis could be the first SU wideout selected since 2010 (Mike Williams) and the 16th in Orange history.
Also notably, Syracuse hasn’t had a player picked before the seventh round since 2014, so it would be nice to end that streak as well. If you’re looking for which teams could potentially draft Orange players, we’d direct you here, though it’s ultimately a crapshoot once trades get involved. Historically, however, a few teams have trended more heavily toward SU players than others:
The Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts have drafted the most Orange players ever, with 21 (15 Baltimore/6 Indy), while the New York Giants (18) have picked the most players with one city/team name. The Houston Texans (zero) are the only team not to pick at least two SU players over the history of the draft. For what it’s worth, the Giants have picked three of the last seven Syracuse players to hear their names called (and traded for another, in Riley Dixon).