SU Football Players looking to make noise in the NFL this year
What and Who will we see this upcoming season?
When returning home this summer, most of us didn’t hesitate to brag about Syracuse’s win over Clemson with our friends when the topic of football was even mentioned in a sentence. I know I didn’t. However, as we fans move on from last year’s season and look forward to this year’s big upset, it’s important to give credit to players who’ve moved on and shined in their next stage, the NFL. Here are some of the most notable players in the NFL who’ve worn Orange and how their future season could play out.
Chandler Jones just finished with a career year, earning pro bowl honors once again. The linebacker turned defensive end sets in for his second season with the Arizona Cardinals, coming off a year in which he broke Arizona’s single season sack record with 17. Despite Jones’s excellence, the Cardinals will enter the 2018 season in rebuild mode after QB Carson Palmer closed the book on his career. Arizona will most likely struggle to acquire wins, but a solid defense including Jones, All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson, and fantasy football superstar David Johnson, they have potential to make some noise. Look for Jones and the Cardinals to capture some upset victories here and there, but nothing much beyond that.
Justin Pugh will join Chandler Jones in Arizona come September after 5 seasons with the New York Giants. Despite nursing a back injury last year, Pugh was a lone bright spot in a New York offensive line that has played poorly for years. Pugh was a vocal leader during his time playing for big blue, so look for him to emerge as a leader with this young rebuilding team. Also with David Johnson’s return, Pugh will get a chance to block for a top tier back, something he’s never had a chance to do in his NFL career.
Riley Dixon will start this training camp this season as the punter for the New York Giants. Dixon came over from Denver as part of a trade for a 7th round 2019 pick. The Giants recently parted ways with their punter Brad Wing out of LSU. Wing was arguable with superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. As fans, we can only hope that Beckham befriends the Dixon, as he had with Wing. Dixon, who was named to the 2016 All-Rookie team, will likely help a Giants team coming off a horrid year. The Giants will get back Odell Beckham Jr., Jenoris Jenkins, and add rookie phenome RB Saquon Barkley. They have the pieces for it, so look for them to challenge for an NFC wildcard spot.
Other players with smaller roles that are looking to make a large impact this season include Cameron Lynch, a special teams linebacker on Tampa Bay will look to help Tampa get out of a tough division and thrust into the playoffs for the first time since 2007. You might remember Ervin Philips, who’ll look to secure a spot on the Buccaneer 53 man roster this summer alongside Lynch. Also, fresh out of an SU uniform is Zaire Franklin who’ll spend his training camp with the Indianapolis colts. Franklin will look to help the Colts improve after a lackluster season in which they only won 4 games.
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