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Syracuse’s Andre Cisco, Nolan Cooney among top 10 in Mel Kiper’s new NFL Draft position rankings

Neither’s a top 25 player overall in the rankings, but they’re looking good compared to position peers.

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft isn’t that far off, with the first round taking place on April 29. And with that comes growing hype around which players get selected and where.

After years of rough showings at the draft, 2021 is looking pretty good for the Syracuse Orange football program. In the first step toward establishing itself as the new “Defensive Backs U,” as many as three players from the Syracuse secondary could get picked this spring: Andre Cisco, Trill Williams and Ifeatu Melifonwu.

On ESPN, Mel Kiper updated his prospect rankings both overall and on a positional basis. In the latter lists, the Orange wound up with two players named — Andre Cisco and Nolan Cooney. Cisco was fourth among safeties, only behind Trevon Moehrig (TCU), Richie Grant (UCF) and Jevon Holland (Oregon), making him a lock to get picked, even if we’re still not sure where just yet.

Cooney, who initially walked on at SU, was ranked ninth among all kickers and punters eligible after he put in all-conference and honorable mention All-American honors in 2020. He’s the fifth-ranked pure punter there. If he manages to make a team either via free agency or the draft, Cooney would be the third Orange punter in the NFL, following Riley Dixon and Sterling Hofrichter.

Though not listed on the positional lists, there’s still plenty of hype for Trill and Iffy as well. Mock drafts have Melifonwu going as high as the second round (and there was even some first round buzz back in January). Trill may be more of a day three guy, but scouts seem to understand his significant upside as an athletic talent that can be plugged in at various spots.

We’ll have more NFL Draft conversation here as the even gets closer, including profiles for each of the players indicating where they might be selected.