We’re over two months out from the 2024 NFL Draft, but it’s never too early to check out where Syracuse Orange might be selected. This year’s draft class is relatively small, so let’s toss in prospects for 2025 as well.
Class of 2024
OL Christopher Bleich
After a six-year college career, the offensive guard declared for the draft in late January. At 6’6” and 323 pounds, he’s got the frame for the next level. Bleich was Syracuse’s highest-graded offensive lineman last year and thrives in run-blocking against man coverage. An area of improvement would be improving his blitz recognition. The guard is most likely going undrafted but can make a name for himself with a solid performance at the NFL Scouting Combine in a few weeks.
DL Caleb Okechukwu
Syracuse’s former edge rusher is in the same boat as his offensive lineman counterpart, projected to go undrafted. Okechukwu finished his Orange career with 13.5 sacks across 50 games, but early draft projections expect him to have little success at the professional level. According to NFL Draft Buzz, the defensive lineman has the physicality for the NFL but needs to be more explosive as a pass rusher. Like Bleich, Okechukwu can improve his draft stock drastically at the combine, but expect him to sign as a free agent after day three. If all else fails, Okechukwu still left the Dome with one memorable moment.
DB Isaiah Johnson
Johnson could benefit from the success of former Orange defensive backs Andre Cisco and Iffy Melifonwu. The 6’3” corner offers good size and experience and could hear his name called this spring. Johnson participated in the East West Shrine Bowl where he made three tackles, but more importantly it gave him an opportunity to work with NFL coaches and make an impression on scouts.
Class of 2025/2026
QB Kyle McCord
Now, this is where things get fun. Currently projected as a fourth-round pick, McCord comes to the 315 looking to boost his stock further. The gunslinger only has one year of eligibility left, so he’ll need to make the most of every opportunity. McCord excels in the pocket and has shown accuracy on all three levels of the field. Having Oronde Gadsden II back as his primary target is huge, as the pair will most certainly help improve each other’s draft ratings. With a lighter schedule on tap for next year, McCord can easily jump into day two of the 2025 draft.
TE Oronde Gadsden II
Speaking of Gadsden, he’ll return for a fourth season following a season-ending foot injury early last year. It was almost a foregone conclusion that the tight end would leave for this year’s draft, but only playing in two games changed that. He’s projected as a fourth-round pick per NFL Draft Buzz, and a good year with McCord should only boost his stock. Gadsden’s family tree only further predicts finding time with an NFL team, as his father played six seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
One of the best games all season last year was Purdue vs Syracuse!— Field Court & Diamond (@FieldCourtDmd) September 11, 2023
With 7 seconds left, Garrett Shrader found Oronde Gadsden II for the 25 yard game winning TD!
This weekend the Orange travel to West Lafayette to face off vs the Boilermakers. #CUSE pic.twitter.com/2ehazCpr14
DL Fadil Diggs
Another incoming transfer, Diggs was the second biggest get for Fran Brown behind McCord. A four-star recruit out of high school, the edge rusher compiled 75 tackles, eight sacks and three forced fumbles in four years at Texas A&M. He was initially thought of as a second or third-round pick by 247sports, but recent projections have him going a little later. With one year of eligibility remaining, it should only help that Diggs follows former A&M d-line coach Elijah Robinson to the Salt City.
DB Duce Chestnut
Things didn’t work out for the cornerback in Baton Rouge, who transferred back to Syracuse after one season at LSU. Chestnut took a redshirt year with the Tigers, giving him two more years of eligibility in the 315. He’d go undrafted to this point, but a connection with new defensive backs coach Joe Schaefer could propel him into a day-three pick in the 2026 class.
DB Alijah Clark
The safety made the most of his junior year in orange and blue, finishing fourth on the team in tackles with two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 2023. However, NFL Mock Draft Database has him trending in the wrong direction, having Clark well out of range in this year’s draft. We’ll have to see how Clark fares in Robinson’s defensive scheme next season before he enters the 2025 draft.
LB Marlowe Wax
After a solid junior season that earned him All-ACC Second Team honors, Wax will return to the Orange for his fifth year in 2024. Likewise, there hasn’t been much draft buzz surrounding Wax. He had a chance of getting drafted this year but clearly thinks he can bolster his resume in Robinson’s system. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wax drafted in 2025, but at the very least, he’ll get signed as a UDFA, just like former teammate Mikel Jones.
RB LeQuint Allen
Another 2023 All-ACC Second Team member, Allen’s early collegiate success potentially allows him to be the first Orange running back selected since Delone Carter in 2011. With two years of eligibility left and no real competition at the position, Allen has a prime opportunity to finish his career with three straight 1,000-yard seasons. If he can finish his career injury-free, expect NFL teams to consider selecting Allen in the 2026 draft.
Are there any other players you’d include?