Syracuse Football: Expert weighs in on SU prospects’ NFL Draft potential

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: A general view of signage during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: A general view of signage during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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  • McKinley Williams (defensive tackle)
    • 78th DT listed on Draft Scout.
    • With Chris Slayton moving on to NFL opportunities, there’s a huge void in the middle of SU’s defensive line. McKinley Williams is athletic enough to help fill that void (evidenced by the viral video above).
    • He has only started 15 games in his career but has played in 36. Williams is so athletically gifted and could finally shine as a senior with the Orange.
  • Kenneth Ruff (defensive tackle)
    • 134th DT listed on Draft Scout.
    • McKinley isn’t the only defensive tackle that is on NFL radars. A lot of positive things have been said about Ruff, although it seems like scouts opinions vary on Ruff. Some believe he can be a star in the right system while others think he’s too small (6-foot-1, 302 pounds).
  • Kendall Coleman (defensive end)
    • 13th DE listed on Draft Scout.
    • Really had a coming out party in his junior season with 10 sacks. Although his sophomore season was hurt by injury (LSU game ended up missing 4 games).
    • But why isn’t he as heralded as his running mate Alton Robinson?
      • Josh Buchanan says, “NFL Scouts expect Kendall Coleman to be an average tester. Maybe a high 4.8 to low 4.9 range for his 40-yard dash. Expected to be a late round guy.”
    • So what does he have to do to change that narrative?
      • “He’s got to get faster, bigger and stronger. He had a really good season last year and arguably he could’ve received more recognition for it. Showing that he can have another healthy season and showing some improved athletic ability, speed will help. You know you can have two players that look identical with the big difference being one guy is a quarter of a step faster. Depending on how he does as a senior and how he tests, at the end of the day he might not go much later than Alton does on draft day.”
  • Alton Robinson (defensive end)
    • 8th DE listed on Draft Scout.
    • The No. 1 prospect NFL scouts are drooling over is Alton Robinson. Why?
      • “Alton Robinson is a fast athlete, twitchy, has long arms. He’s expected to go in the 3rd round to 5th range. Seen as a consistent guy and wouldn’t be surprised if he even goes higher than what he’s currently projected.”
        • If that were to happen, he’d be the highest drafted player at Syracuse since 2014.
  • Lakiem Williams (middle linebacker)
    • 60th MLB listed on Draft Scout.
    • Syracuse has played a successful game of musical chairs over the last three years at the linebacker position. Each season they’ve had to completely revamp their starting linebackers from (Zaire Franklin, Parris Bennett) to (Kielan Whitner, Ryan Guthrie), to another new pair in 2019.
    • The expectation is that Dino Babers will once again lean on experience which means Lakiem Williams and Andrew Armstrong (more on him later), will be the presumed starters for 2019 as a senior duo.
    • Lakiem has only played one season at Syracuse after transferring over from Butte College.
  • Andrew Armstrong (outside linebacker)
    • 104th OLB listed on Draft Scout.
    • While Lakiem doesn’t have as large of a sample size at this level, that’s not the case for Andrew. He only started one game in 2018, but he finds ways to make plays. In his three-year career to date:
      • 74 tackles (34 solo tackles).
      • Three fumble recoveries.
      • One interception (helped seal the win vs NC State in 2018).
      • Two passes defended.
  • Christopher Fredrick (cornerback)
    • 39th CB listed on Draft Scout.
    • The highest ranked cornerback on the Syracuse roster from an NFL Draft perspective is Christopher Fredrick.
    • At only 5-foot-11, sub 200 pounds, he’s slightly smaller than you’d like, but he’s feisty as hell. His stats are impressive:
      • Logged 121 tackles.
      • 13 passes defended.
      • Five interceptions.
      • Three forced fumbles in 37 games.
    • “He’ll get some looks from NFL teams. Scouts have been intrigued by his talent, but are interested to see what happens in 2019.”
  • Scoop Bradshaw (cornerback)
    • 104th CB listed on Draft Scout.
    • While Scoop is rated significantly lower than a lot of players on this list, NFL teams like his ability to make plays. He’s a two-year starter at the corner spot and is tied with Andre Cisco with nine pass deflections heading into 2019 (active leader).
  • Evan Foster (strong safety)
    • 17th SS listed on Draft Scout.
    • The full report on the Evan Foster story you can find here.
    • Outside of Alton Robinson, he’s receiving the most NFL Draft buzz among scouts and coaches coming out of Syracuse.
    • Has very solid numbers, public perception suggests he was overshadowed by the talented freshman Andre Cisco. Josh Buchanan doesn’t think so and NFL scouts agree.

Special teams:

  • Sterling Hofrichter (punter)
    • 4th P listed on Draft Scout.
    • Punters are weird. Being top-five at your position is almost an automatic guarantee that you’ll be drafted, except at punter or kicker. On average two or three punters get taken on any given year.

Next. Syracuse Football: Ranking every SU first round pick in NFL Draft history. dark

  • Whether or not he gets taken says less about his talent and more so about what the NFL team needs are at the time.