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Orange in the NFL: Recapping week 3 for Syracuse football alumni

Checking back in on your favorite Orange alums

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to believe we’re already three weeks into the NFL regular season. Here’s where your former Orangemen stand so far in their professional endeavors this year.

Nolan Cooney, Arizona Cardinals

The former Syracuse punter had two boots for a 47-yard average in Arizona’s upset win over Dallas. After leading the NFL in net punting average during the preseason, Cooney’s been middle-of-the-road in the regular season with 10 punts for 475 yards. He has a subpar two punts inside the 20 but should see many more opportunities on one of the NFL’s worst projected teams.

Garrett Williams, Arizona Cardinals

Williams is still rehabbing his torn ACL from last October. The Cardinals placed him on their preseason reserve/non-football injury list, so Williams can’t return until week 5 at the earliest. We hope to see him make his debut sometime in October.

Matthew Bergeron, Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta’s second-round pick still has some work to do in The Big A. With a Pro Football Focus grade of 55.5, Bergeron ranks 50th out of the 76 eligible guards through three weeks. His run blocking is above average compared to the other rookie guards, while his pass blocking is just about par. Let’s see how he performs against a weak Jacksonville defensive line this week.

Kingsley Jonathan, Buffalo Bills

The defensive lineman has not recorded any stats in his 12 defensive snaps this season. Given he’s on one of the league’s best four-person fronts, playing time will be few and far between for the former Orange pass rusher.

Riley Dixon, Denver Broncos

Dixon is the only player not to blame for Denver’s historic 50-point loss to Miami, notching five punts and averaging 46.8 yards. He put three of those inside the 20 and had a long of 61. Despite the thin air at home, Dixon’s season average of 44.8 ranks 23rd of all active punters.

Ifeatu Melifonwu, Detroit Lions

The third-year safety took most of his 49 season snaps last week in a spot start against Atlanta, amassing three tackles and one pass deflection. His playing time solely depends on the health of starting safeties Kerby Joseph and C.J. Gardner Johnson, so Melifonwu will drop back into a reserve role once they’re healthy.

Chris Slayton, Green Bay Packers

Slayton’s still competing on Green Bay’s practice squad. The Packers promoted two practice squad players to their roster before last week’s win over New Orleans, and Slayton could be the next if any starting nose tackles go down.

Zaire Franklin, Indianapolis Colts

The heart and soul of Indy’s defense, Franklin leads the league with 45 total tackles through three games. He’s also among the top half of NFL linebackers with a PFF grade of 68.7. In last Sunday’s win over Baltimore, Franklin tallied 15 tackles and his first sack of the early season.

(Editor note: Syracuse fans probably got some extra enjoyment for this one)

Andre Cisco, Jacksonville Jaguars

One of the NFL’s brightest stars through three games, Cisco ranks 10th out of all safeties and is the highest-graded player on the Jacksonville defense, according to PFF. He recorded seven tackles against Houston last week, bringing his season total up to 19. Another fun fact: Cisco is one-of-two players who’ve picked off Patrick Mahomes this year.

Chandler Jones, Las Vegas Raiders

Sad stuff here. After sitting out the regular-season opener, it appears Jones is done playing for the Raiders, as he’s still on their reserve/non-football illness list. A lot of eye-opening information about the situation is being spread across social media, so I’ll let you be the judge there.

Trishton Jackson, Minnesota Vikings

The 25-year-old wideout was elevated to Minnesota’s active roster last week but played six of his seven snaps on special teams against the Chargers. It’s unclear whether he’ll stay up with the Vikings or return to the practice squad while fellow receiver Jalen Nailor is on the injured reserve.

Sean Tucker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The former Orange running back only saw two carries for one yard on Monday Night Football against Philadelphia. After being named the backup to Rachaad White, Tucker’s only taken 15 NFL carries for 23 yards in what’s turned into a slow-moving Bucs’ offense. We all know what he’s capable of, so hopefully he’ll get more playing time down the line. Tucker did add a tackle on special teams.