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NFL 2021-22 season recap: How’d Syracuse alums fare this year?

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At least for some former Orange football players, it was a pretty excellent fall.

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

With an additional game in 2021-22, Syracuse Orange alums in the NFL had even MORE time to (hopefully) impress on the field. And after week 18 action wrapped up on Sunday night, we figured you might be curious about how all the former SU players fared.

So below is a recap of all Syracuse players actively in the NFL and their performance this past regular season. We’ll likely have an additional playoffs preview on Friday, before wildcard round games begin.

Andre Cisco, SS/Jacksonville Jaguars

It was a rough start in Jacksonville for the former Orange standout thanks in part to coaching staff strife, but as the year wore on for the Jags, Cisco was able to earn more opportunities. He wrapped up the season with three starts and 11 games where he logged statistics. On the year, he recorded 25 tackles (15 over the final three games), two passes defended and two forced fumbles.

Riley Dixon, P/New York Giants

Dixon punted all year for the Giants, averaging 44.4 yards per attempt on 74 tries for the moribund franchise, with 24 ending up inside the 20-yard line. While the average wasn’t among the higher figures in the league, he was tied for 12th for punts inside the 20.

Zaire Franklin, LB/Indianapolis Colts

Zaire started 11 games for the Colts this season, piling up a career-high 36 tackles, plus two passes defended and his first career interception while also serving as a special teams captain. Unfortunately for him, Indy isn’t playoff-bound following a surprising loss to the Jaguars in the final game.

Sterling Hofrichter, P/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The year started off poorly for Hof, who was cut by the Falcons. However, the former Heisman contender signed with Tampa later in the year, and wound up punting in two of the final three games. He remains the backup for the defending Super Bowl champs, who will start the playoffs at home vs. the Eagles.

Trishton Jackson, WR/Minnesota Vikings

Jackson spent the year on the Vikings’ practice squad, and Minnesota will not be in this year’s playoffs.

Chandler Jones, LB/Arizona Cardinals

Despite missing a couple games, Jones returned in 2021 with some impressive numbers — including 10.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and four passes defended, plus 11 run-stuffs. As always, he was a dynamic part of the Cards’ defense and will now be playing in his first playoff game for Arizona since he arrived back in 2016. He was also named to the Pro Bowl a couple weeks ago, for the fourth time in his impressive career.

Koda Martin, OT/Arizona Cardinals

Martin spent much of the year on Arizona’s practice squad, and hasn’t played in a game since week four. We’ll see what happens playoff-wise.

Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB/Detroit Lions

Unfortunately, Iffy wasn’t able to be on the field for the whole year, after a thigh injury in week two sidelined him for months. But the rookie was back by week 13. He finished the season with 13 tackles and three pass defended over the course of seven games (four starts), and figures to be part of Detroit’s future secondary.

Justin Pugh, OG/Arizona Cardinals

Pugh played 14 games this season, starting 13, while blocking in front of one of the better rushing offenses in the league (averaged 4.3 yards per carry). While snap counts ebbed and flowed throughout the year, he was back at normal levels over the final two weeks, and is poised to start once again come playoff time. Notably, he missed all of Arizona’s home loss to L.A., but played 78 snaps in the Cardinals’ 37-20 win at SoFi Stadium in October.

Alton Robinson, DE/Seattle Seahawks

Robinson was in and out of the lineup for the struggling Seahawks, collecting 15 tackles, a defended pass, a sack and a forced fumble. He also started two games over the course of the season. TBD if the young edge rusher is part of future plans for Seattle, as they’re likely headed for a reset.

Chris Slayton, DT/San Francisco 49ers

Slayton was signed to the practice squad later in the year for the Niners, but hasn’t seen the field yet. San Francisco made the playoffs following a late win over the Rams on Sunday, and will visit the Cowboys this coming Sunday in the wildcard round.

Trill Williams, CB/Miami Dolphins

Trill’s been on the roster all year for Miami, but only made his debut in week 18’s win over the Patriots. He didn’t record any stats, but working his way onto the field was a good sign.