The first round of the NFL Draft has been must watch for Syracuse fans the last few years. In 2012, Chandler Jones was selected 21st overall by the New England Patriots, and a year ago Justin Pugh went 19th overall to the New York Giants. It is highly unlikely that an Orange player is called tonight, and tomorrow's second and third rounds are probably a long shot as well, but there are a number of guys who are fighting for spots in Saturday's 4th-7th rounds.
Tonight's first round begins at 8 PM on ESPN and NFL Network.
DT Jay Bromley: 4th-6th Round
I can't find a scenario in which Jay Bromley doesn't get his name called. Bromley was one of the most productive defensive linemen in the ACC last season, recording 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in 2013. Pitt's Aaron Donald has seen one of the biggest rises since he blew the doors off of the NFL combine, and is projected to be a mid-first round pick despite being a bit undersized. Bromley isn't quite as prolific as Donald, but he could follow a similar trajectory, as a slightly undersized-yet-athletic, productive tackle. While there is a slight chance a team is very impressed with him and takes him in the 3rd round, I believe we'll see him go early on Saturday, and he probably doesn't slip past the early 6th round at worst.
LB Marquis Spruill: 7th-FA
Spruill was a four year starter at Syracuse, playing all linebacker spots pretty competently. He may not have prototypical NFL size, but his versatility should help him. Spruill is probably the best bet to get selected outside of Bromley, but there's still no guarantee his name is called on Saturday. Either way, he will probably be coveted after the draft in free agency.
HB Jerome Smith: 7th-FA
In past years, a back as productive as Smith probably gets picked at some point, but with even elite rushers falling into the middle rounds, its hard out there as a middling running back. Smith has ability, and should find a team in free agency if not at the end of the draft, but a sub-par combine probably hurt his chance of going before the final round.
C Macky MacPherson:
A few years ago, the notion that Macky could be an NFL pick seemed like a longshot, so credit for him to getting to this point. Macky provides versatility in that he can play center as well as snap, so he could be an attractive commodity because of that added value, especially with the crunch that there is with limited roster spots in the NFL.
CB Keon Lyn:
If he had made it through 2013 healthy and put together an impressive senior year, Lyn would have been higher on this list, but he's still working to get to 100%, and while he says he is happy with how his private workouts went, getting drafted on those alone probably makes him a long shot here as well. Hopefully Keon fully recovers and can impress in camp somewhere.
CB Ri'Shard Anderson, TE Beckett Wales, QB Drew Allen
The draft kicks off in just under an hour. Let's watch it together, shall we?