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Orange in the NFL: Recapping week 13 for Syracuse football alumni

Someone’s in the running for the WPMOY award

Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

We’re heading into the home stretch of the NFL season, and many Syracuse Orange football alums still have lots to play for. Here’s all you need to know about how the former Orangemen are faring at the professional level.

Garrett Williams, Arizona Cardinals

The rookie has played in every game since making his NFL debut in week 7, lining up mainly at the slot corner position. He’s averaging 2.42 tackles per game through seven contests, with one interception and one touchdown allowed. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams ranks 52nd of over 200 cornerbacks in overall coverage.

Matthew Bergeron, Atlanta Falcons

Bergeron has shined after being plugged into the Falcons’ starting left guard position. The rookie has started all 12 games so far, allowing four sacks in over 800 snaps. His run and pass blocking grades both rank top-5 in the class, and we could see Bergeron in the Pro Bowl sooner rather than later.

Kingsley Jonathan, Buffalo Bills

The defensive lineman highlights one of the NFL’s most talented edge-rushing rooms, which also includes Greg Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa. Jonathan is a backup option to the two listed above, but he has made the most of his limited opportunities. In 69 snaps over nine games, Jonathan has a sack, two hits, three hurries and one tackle, good for fourth in efficiency on Buffalo’s defense.

Riley Dixon, Denver Broncos

Dixon wasn’t too busy during Denver’s five-game winning streak, booting 21 punts over that span. The eight-year veteran is middle of the pack with 50 boots, averaging 45.3 yards per kick, with 14 of them landing inside the 20-yard line.

Ifeatu Melifonwu, Detroit Lions

Melifonwu has taken a back seat since Kerby Joseph returned from injury in week 5. The third-year safety looked excellent in coverage, ranking 13-of-87 safeties in the league while acting as Detroit’s starting free safety. However, he’s only played four snaps at the position since week 4, with both of his opportunities on special teams.

Zaire Franklin, Indianapolis Colts

Franklin’s cooled off recently in the tackling department, “only” recording 13 over Indy’s last two games. He’s now up to 130 tackles, one behind Jacksonville’s Foyesade Oluokun for the league lead through 13 weeks. More importantly, the Colts recently selected Franklin as their Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. The winner will be selected in February.

Andre Cisco, Jacksonville Jaguars

After a solid start to the season, Cisco’s performance has fallen back to earth in recent weeks. He averaged over four tackles over the first six weeks but has only 2.6 per game since then. The good news is that Cisco put up his best game in weeks last Monday night, accumulating six tackles while allowing just one catch for 11 yards.

Trishton Jackson, Minnesota Vikings

Jackson’s seen increased run in recent weeks after the injury to Justin Jefferson, the Vikings’ leading wide receiver. Unfortunately, Jackson managed just two catches for nine yards in those contests. With Jefferson set to come back after Minnesota’s bye week, Jackson’s opportunities this season will be solely on special teams.

Justin Pugh, New York Giants

After jumping “straight off the couch” and onto the field in week 6, Pugh has started every game for the G-Men, rotating between the left guard and left tackle positions. Protecting for fellow SU product Tommy DeVito, Pugh’s allowed five sacks over seven games so far.

Tommy DeVito, New York Giants

Speaking of DeVito, he’ll make his fourth career start on Sunday against the Packers. Head coach Brian Daboll is opting to go with the New Jersey kid over veteran quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, who is ready to return from a rib injury. DeVito has earned the right to remain behind center, going 2-1 as an NFL starter with 697 passing yards, seven touchdown passes and one interception.

Sean Tucker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tucker’s been tossed to the wayside as a running back and has been mainly used on kick and punt returns for the Buccaneers. He hasn’t taken a carry since week 3 and still has 15 carries for 23 yards in his rookie campaign.


Which SU alumni are you keeping your eye on as the NFL’s regular season concludes?