Syracuse football starting to regain foothold in NFL

Spruill is headed to the Falcons

I usually write about SU basketball on here, but I’m going to save my NBA Draft-related SU content until next month. Instead, let’s take a closer look at another draft involving SU players, the NFL Draft. With OTAs and Rookie Camps in full force, let’s take a look at the recent influx of SU players being drafted the last few years.

Since SU had a whopping zero players drafted in 2008, 13 SU players have been drafted. Seven SU players were drafted in the last three years. And of course there were free agent signees as well. Naturally, this increase coincides with the SU football team being more successful.

Spruill is headed to the Falcons

This year’s draftees were Jay Bromley (Giants, third round) and Marquis Spruill (Falcons, fifth round). Bromley seems a good bet to make the team as a third-round pick. Seeing as former SU players drafted last year Justin Pugh (starter) and Ryan Nassib (backup QB) are on the team, Bromley appears to be in good hands.

Spruill, the linebacker who was drafted by the Falcons, faces a tougher road, though not an impossible one by any measure. Former SU safety Shamarko Thomas, drafted in the fourth round last year, had 22 tackles for the Steelers.

» Related: Which Syracuse football players will make an NFL roster?

Then you have the Jones brothers, who have carried a torch for recent SU football products. Arthur (28 tackles last year) and Chandler (11.5 sacks last year) have found great success in the NFL. Pugh is a starter on the Giants’ offensive line. Farther up north, Mike Williams, who was drafted by the Bucs in 2010 and is now with the Bills, has 25 touchdowns in his four-year career.

Of the 17 NFL players who went to ‘Cuse, 13 played at least some time under former SU head Coach Doug Marrone.

While SU is not a football factory like, say, the entire SEC conference, it has still produced quality players, considering the hole it dug itself out of a few years back. And with more talent on the way, SU will continue to produce more NFL players.

Winning cures all, and with three bowl wins in the last four years, SU is looking in better shape than in past years. This year will be year two of the Shafer regime, and I’d expect more draft picks in the near future. Syracuse seems quite good at producing defensive stalwarts, and that strength translates well to the NFL.

So even if the basketball team, which is about a third of the size of the football team, ends up having more players drafted into the NBA than the football team had into the NFL, progress is visible. There are SU guys making moves in the NFL.

And that is just fine at this point.

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About Rachel Marcus 68 Articles
Rachel is currently a Digital Production Assistant at ESPN. She has previously interned at SportsNet New York and has contributed to Dime Magazine and covered beats ranging from Big East basketball to men’s soccer for The Daily Orange. She is originally from Maryland. Follow her on Twitter @rachelnmarcus.