Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NFL Draft Approaches...Whither the Orangemen?

It has been seven years since a Syracuse football player (Dwight Freeney - 11th overall) was selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Seven years. For the first time since 1975, not a single Syracuse player was selected in last year's draft. At all.

There is no surer sign of a program's decline that its complete lack of mention on NFL draft weekend, the media-created event which football fans cling to like a life-raft at the start of the NBA playoffs and MLB regular season. The Orange football program had certainly started its slide under Paul Pasqualoni, but in fairness to Coach P, he sent 38 players to the pro ranks in his 14 year tenure as the Syracuse football coach. It is too early to tell, as far as Greg Robinson's recruits are concerned (since many of his earliest recruits are only now entering their senior seasons), but the fact that he failed to send any of P's later recruits to the NFL speaks volumes about Robinson's staff's inability to "coach up" the talent on the roster.

The NFL draft creates positive exposure for a program, as does the success of those players once they reach the pros. Let us hope, for the sake of Syracuse football, that somehow Curtis Brinkley and Tony Fiammetta get selected over the weekend, and are able to contribute in some way, shape, or form in the NFL. The Orange need all the positive exposure that they can get, to try and at least throw some fresh paint on the program's facade until Doug Marrone can right the ship.

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