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Syracuse football: Pro Day Observations

These Orange players made their case in front of NFL Scouts.

The Syracuse Orange football team hosted its annual NFL Pro Day on Monday, with scouts from all of the league’s 32 teams in attendance. I was also inside the Ensley Center to watch the workouts, so I’ll be going through every SU player that participated:

Matthew Bergeron

More eyes were on the Quebec product than anyone else in the building. Bergeron is currently projected as a mid-2nd round pick in most mock drafts, and his Pro Day performance may have elevated his stock even further.

Unlike every other Orange prospect, Bergeron was approached individually by several of the scouts and asked to demonstrate specific blocking techniques. You could tell that every one of these drills was an organization doing just a little more homework on the Tackle. Here are a few clips of the drills:

Throughout and following his workout, Bergeron had discussions with representatives from the Bills, Giants, Jets, Jaguars, Falcons, Bucs, and possibly more. Later on, he said that he will remain in Syracuse to continue training. Bergeron will also be holding private one-on-one workouts for up to 15 teams in the coming weeks. Head Coach Dino Babers said there was a “sense of pride” to see Matt in his SU practice gear one last time, especially since many draft prospects tend to have pro gear by this point.

Mikel Jones

Some will say the defensive captain had something to prove during Pro Day. After Jones was unexpectedly not invited to the NFL Combine, he took the high road and called it a “blessing in disguise,” citing the extra time he had to prepare. He also spoke about ‘Cuse alum Zaire Franklin’s tweet referencing the similarities between the two.

Jones ran the three-cone and LB field drills but did not take part in the 40-yard dash.

Garrett Williams

Garrett was behind closed doors as he is not yet ready to return to the turf. However, he’s clearly got no issues with his upper body strength:

It’s a positive sign for sure, but despite the encouraging results, Williams insists that he isn’t rushing his rehab. NFL clubs are actually advising him to take it easy and heal properly, so it sounds like they are prepared for him to not be 100% ready immediately upon being drafter. He currently projects as a 3rd round pick.

DeVaughn Cooper & C.J. Hayes

The two veteran wideouts took part in the 40-yard dash and also ran some basic routes, receiving some help from QBs Justin Lamson and Carlos Del Rio-Wilson. It’s a longshot for Hayes to garner enough attention, but Cooper has an outside shot at getting a training camp invite somewhere.

Andre Szmyt and Aaron Bolinsky

The kicker/long-snapper duo also got involved in the day’s activities. Szmyt was almost perfect on the afternoon, with his final, 60-yard attempt falling short. Below is one of his two longest made kicks:

Also, shoutout to the holder, a Syracuse alum starting his second stint with the Denver Broncos - Riley Dixon.

Sean Tucker and Chris Elmore (Non-Participants)

This is the major question mark. While Rhino wasn’t going to recover from his fall injury that fast, what’s happening to Sean Tucker recently is far from ideal. He did not participate in the Combine because of a medical exemption, and it seems something is still bothering him. He showed up to Pro Day in casual clothes but declined to talk to the press. I was also unable to get any further details from SU on his current condition.

Overall, this showing was a good sign of progress for the program. This class could be the first one since 2006 to have four Orange drafted in the same year.

(Author Note: Apologies for the delay in getting this out. I got overwhelmed by school work earlier in the week but should be more prompt the rest of the spring.)