Orange Watch: 2020 NFL Draft provides small taste of Syracuse football

Kendall Coleman
Jul 17, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Syracuse Orange defensive end Kendall Coleman speaks to members of the media during ACC Kickoff the Westin Charlotte. Mandatory Credit: Brad Bierman, The Juice Online.

Item: The first of three days of NFL Draft coverage Thursday night (ABC/ESPN/NFL Network 8:00 p.m. ET) can’t come soon enough for football fans. Even the subdued proceedings with everyone at remote locations, will provide much needed live sports programming since the global sports world pretty much went on hiatus the third week of March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

For Orange Nation, it may not be Thursday’s first round, but ex-SU standouts D-linemen Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman, wide receiver Trishton Jackson and perhaps punter/kickoff specialist Sterling Hofrichter should hear their names called by late Saturday afternoon when the 7th and final round is completed.

Since the NFL and AFL merged in 1970 creating what is now the 32-team NFL, what is the highest number of Syracuse players selected in the same draft?

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The answer: Six ‘Cuse players and it happened in three successive drafts, 1988, ’89, and 1990. Not coincidentally the richness of talent came on the heels of the 1987 undefeated season, and great final run that boosted Dick MacPherson into an NFL head coaching job with the New England Patriots from 1991-92. (Note: The draft was 12 rounds in the 1980s.)

Only four seasons since the 1970 pro merger has Syracuse had zero players selected in the draft; 1975 in the post-Ben Schwartzwalder late in his career period, 2008 post-Greg Robinson, and twice (2015 and 2017) in the post-Scott Shafer tenure. Not coincidentally when there was a downturn in program talent.

If Robinson, Coleman and Jackson are all selected this week, it will be the first time since 2013 that a trio of Orange players were drafted (Justin Pugh, Ryan Nassib, and Shamarko Thomas). SU has not had four players taken the same draft since 2006 (Anthony Smith, Quinn Ojinnaka, James Wyche, and Ryan LaCasse).

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Brad Bierman
About Brad Bierman 692 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.