The NFL Draft starts on Thursday evening. And while the Syracuse Orange may not have anyone selected tonight, we’ll definitely hear three names — Ifeatu Melifonwu, Andre Cisco and Trill Williams — called by the end of Saturday.
No, we don’t know where those players are going. But we do know where Syracuse players have been drafted in the past. So for those curious, we’re talking about which teams have selected the most Orange(men) players over the course of the NFL Draft’s history.
Perhaps to little surprise, the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts franchise has the most Syracuse selections, with 21 total (15 in Baltimore, six in Indy). The most recent of those was Zaire Frankin, who’s featured in the main photo for this article, in 2018. He’s won of three SU players drafted by the Colts this century, along with Delone Carter (2011) and Dwight Freeney (2002).
The club to pick the most Syracuse players while in their current city is the New York Giants, as you also might have figured based on the team’s run of Orange draft picks under Tom Coghlin. New York’s picked 19 SU players over the years, with six since the turn of the century. Four of those have come in the last 10 years, with Chris Slayton being the most recent in 2019.
Third in terms of Orange picks is the Cleveland Browns, with 11. Interestingly, however, the team has only selected one Syracuse player since their return (Kevin Johnson in 1999). Washington has 10 SU draftees, but none since 1998 (Antwaune Ponds). There are four different teams with nine ‘Cuse selections:
- Cincinnati Bengals (last pick - Melvin Tuten, 1995)
- Miami Dolphins (last pick - Kelvin Smith, 2007)
- Philadelphia Eagles (last pick - Donovan McNabb, 1999)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (last pick - #SHAMARKO Thomas, 2013)
Only one franchise has picked Syracuse players in three different cities; the Cardinals managed it in Chicago, St. Louis and Phoenix, but interestingly have yet to pick an Orange player as the “Arizona Cardinals” despite having two Syracuse alums (Justin Pugh and Chandler Jones) on the team right now.
Both the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders have picked Syracuse players in their respective franchise histories, but neither have done so in their current city. The Raiders picked four combined between Los Angeles and Oakland, while the Chargers had six in San Diego. Despite spending about 20 years in St. Louis, the Rams have only selected Syracuse players while in Los Angeles (three in total).
Interestingly, especially when compared to what the Giants have done, the Jets have only picked one Syracuse player all-time (Paul Frase in 1988). They’re the only current franchise to have just one Syracuse draft pick to their name. Meanwhile, the Texans are the only NFL team to never pick a Syracuse player, going 0-for-19 to this point.
Who adds to their totals this year? Obviously we can’t nail that down, though looking at teams that need secondary help could go a long way. The Chargers, Eagles and Saints all stand out as teams that need assists at both corner and safety. We’ll see soon enough where Iffy, Cisco and Trill all land, though.