It’s been 17 years since the Syracuse Orange had four players selected in the same NFL Draft. That streak could very well be broken by this year’s loaded graduating class. With mock drafts piling up by the minute, the TNIAAM football staff is taking our turn with where we think these ‘Cuse players should end up:
Kevin: Bergeron appears to be in the 2nd round range and as much as Andy wants him in Pittsburgh, let’s put him in Kansas City at pick 63 where he starts at right tackle protecting Patrick Mahomes. Yes, it’s lower than his projection, but I’m going by selfish desire to see the Orange alums in ideal spots.
Mike: I also want Bergeron in the Black and Gold but unless Pittsburgh splurges for him at 32, I doubt he falls far enough in the 2nd round for that to happen. With how much attention he caught at SU’s Pro Day and elsewhere, I’m going to call his latest projections a smokescreen as the Jets take him with pick 43 to help protect their new HOF Quarterback.
Dom: Assuming Bergeron stays a mid-to-late second round pick, there are a handful of teams (Miami at 51, the LA Chargers at 54, Jacksonville at 56, and the NY Giants at 57) who all possess a young franchise(ish) quarterback. Half the battle is getting some legitimate security in the pocket for that cornerstone, which is why I would love to see him at any of those destinations. But my dark-horse here is Detroit, who own picks 48 and 55. I love what the Lions are building under Dan Campbell.
Kevin: Since this is about ideal spots, playing corner behind the Philadelphia Eagles defensive line is about as good as it can get for a rookie. Garrett’s taken at Pick 62 and is able to slowly work his way in as a nickel/dime corner and eventually assumes a starting role in 2024.
Mike: Garrett needs time to heal properly, and scouts have told him as much, but he should jump into action and be a solid contributor by year two. With Kyler Murray also out indefinitely and the Arizona Cardinals looking at a rebuilding year, Williams heads to the desert at pick 66.
Dom: I second Mike and Kevin here in the sense that Williams will need some time to fully develop and get into proper NFL shape. I would love to see him quietly grow in San Francisco given their string of recent success in building elite defensive cores.
Kevin: The hope for Tucker to be a high pick seems to be fading away, but as teams seek value from later round running backs, he could land in a favorable spot for playing time. New England has four 6th round picks and a need for more explosive offensive players. Tucker won’t be an every-down back but even at pick 192 he’ll land in a place where he not only makes the roster, he gets some touches each week.
Mike: An overlooked part of our neighbors to the west is their lack of a real ground game (outside of Josh Allen’s scrambling ability). The Bills have more pressing issues but by the late 6th round, a consistent up-field runner who can also catch passes in bunches should be appealing. It’s a boom-or-bust type pick, the real value of which we’ll find out quickly, but that’s the kind of risk a Super Bowl contender can’t be afraid to take at pick 205.
Dom: Late-round running backs are trending on the up-and-up, and I’d keep an eye out on teams who rely on a “running back by committee” philosophy over one ball-dominant back. Kansas City would be a pretty fun fit with Tucker.
Kevin: Here’s where I get Andy his next Steelers jersey. Mikel seems like the versatile player that Mike Tomlin wants on defense. Is he a linebacker or safety in the NFL? Yes, he is and Pittsburgh is the team that will figure out how to use his skills after taking him in the 7th round at Pick 234.
Mike: Make that two jerseys, because I totally agree here. The Steelers had the league’s most expensive defense in 2022, yet their interior struggled mightily against the run - they responded by cutting ties with Devin Bush, Myles Jack, and Rob Spillane. Mikel has the senses to adapt on the fly and quickly get the rest of the unit to follow suit. Tomlin and the rest of the ‘Burgh welcome him at Pick 234.
Dom: Is there a better pick than Pittsburgh here? No, not really. I’ll give sneaky honorable mention picks to Baltimore and San Francisco. Put him with a legitimate coach and a good scheme, and he could produce.
Kevin: Elmore’s versatility would truly be appreciated in a place like New England. I think he’ll obviously need time on the practice squad as he recovers from injury but his ability to play OL/FB/TE/DL and special teams makes him seem like a Bill Belichick type player.
Mike: There’s 32 teams that could find a way to sneak a healthy Rhino on to their practice squad... so why not go with his hometown Bears? Elmore can be used as an extra set of blocking hands for the elusive Justin Fields to work behind, while also getting some goal-line touches.
Dom: Elmore would’ve been a great fit with Sean McVay and the Rams, but with that whole team in limbo now, I’ll go with Sean Payton and Denver. The Taysom Hill experiment worked, didn’t it?
Kevin: He’s going to be undrafted so it’s about finding the best training camp competition. Brett Mahar had a miserable ending to his season in Dallas and as a free agent, it’s likely the Cowboys want someone cheaper and more reliable. Let’s make Szmyt happen in Big D.
Mike: The Vikings brought back Greg Joseph on a one-year prove-it deal, but his inconsistencies the past two seasons are well known. Andre could outwork him in camp and convince Minnesota to save themselves the cap space.
Dom: I like Szmyt’s fit with the Jets, especially since Greg Zuerlein will turn 36 in the middle of the next NFL season. Since he’s only on a one-year rental deal, Zuerlein could be a veteran placeholder while still serving as a mentor for someone like Szmyt.
Now it’s your turn, where do you predict these Syracuse players will be selected?