The Syracuse Orange may not be sending many of NFL Draft prospects to the big event, but it’s quality over quantity for the Orange. The scouting reports for each prospect show why Syracuse had a better-than-expected season in 2022.
Syracuse 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
CB Garrett Williams
Strengths: Talented shutdown cornerback with outstanding skill. Aggressive, fearless, and purposely avoided by opponents. Jams receivers at the line of scrimmage, quickly flips his hips, and loses nothing transitioning with opponents. Possesses nice length, mixes it up with receivers throughout the route, and physically beats down opponents to defend the throw.
Works hard to get his head back around and locate the pass, possesses an explosive burst of speed, and quickly closes to the action. Hard hitter who makes his way up the field to defend the run and punishes opponents.
Weaknesses: Lacks a quick and fluid backpedal. Struggles staying on the receiver’s hip out of breaks. Doesn’t show good route recognition in zone. Struggled mightily against Charlie Jones of Purdue last season. Coming off an injury-shortened campaign.
Overall: Williams is a talented CB with a developing game, whose progress was stunted by injury last season. He possesses enough upside to develop into a No. 1 cornerback, though Williams must return from injury and quickly get back to playing form.
Want more information on Williams? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Isaiah Johnson, DB
Strengths: Tall, aggressive defensive back who began his college career at Dartmouth. Smooth flipping his hips, tracks the pass in the air, and contorts or adjusts to defend or intercept the pass. Has outstanding length that he uses to his advantage, quickly locates the action, and works hard to make plays.
Incredibly instinctive, immediately diagnoses plays, and wraps up tackling. Strong, open-field tackler who brings ball handlers down at the point of attack.
Weaknesses: Slow pedaling in reverse. Lacks a closing burst as well as long speed. More of a loper.
Overall: Johnson was a terrific college cornerback the past three seasons, but he has the style to be moved inside to safety. His instincts, tenacity, and lack of speed fit well in a zone system.
Matthew Bergeron, OT
Strengths: Athletic offensive lineman and four-year starter with experience at both left and right tackle. Bends his knees, sinks his butt, and blocks with leverage. Correctly places his hands into defenders, keeps his feet moving, and stays with the action. Technically sound, quickly sets up in pass protection, and displays lateral blocking range.
Moves well around the field, easily pulls across the line of scrimmage, and gets out in front as a blocker. Patient, stays square, and works blocks. Makes terrific use of angles and body positioning to seal the edge.
Weaknesses: Must improve his overall playing strength and run-blocking ability. Arms measure under 34 inches.
Overall: Bergeron was a terrific offensive lineman at Syracuse and has been a high-rated LT prospect on my board the past three seasons. He’s mobile as well as athletic and only needs to do a better job finishing blocks to break into a starting lineup in the NFL.
Want more information on Bergeron? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Mikel Jones, LB
Strengths: Undersized pursuit linebacker who plays with patience. Quickly locates the ball handler and flows well laterally or fires upfield to defend the run. Uses his hands to protect himself, easily changes direction, and quickly gets to the action in lateral pursuit. Breaks down well, squares into ball handlers, and wraps up tackling. Doesn’t bite on ball fakes and fluidly flips his hips dropping into coverage.
Weaknesses: Consistently disrupted from the action by the initial block or gets caught up in the trash. Not an overly physical linebacker who flies around the action. More of a drag-down tackler. Coming off a disappointing season.
Overall: Jones was a productive LB at Syracuse the past two seasons, though his numbers dropped off in 2022. He’s a run-and-chase defender who needs a free shot at the action and can only play in a one-gap system.
Sean Tucker, RB
Strengths: Super-productive running back who is also effective catching the ball out of the backfield. Runs with good lean and behind his pads, displays outstanding vision, and patiently waits for blocks to develop. Displays great instincts, has a natural style, and easily cuts back against the grain. Displays tremendous footwork as a multi-cut ball carrier who easily bounces around piles or avoids defenders.
Shows the agility and speed necessary to turn the corner. Outstanding receiver out of the backfield who quickly gets into routes, adjusts to the throw, and makes the reception in stride. Extends his hands and catches the ball away from his frame. Sells ball fakes. Chips defenders to disrupt their angles of attack.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t pick up much yardage off initial contact. Has a smaller build. Was not allowed to work out at the Combine after not passing medicals.
Overall: Tucker was a terrific collegiate RB with a complete game. He’s not only productive handling the ball, as he does the little things well to help his quarterback. He can easily touch the ball 15-20 times per game on Sundays as both a ball carrier and a receiver, and has enough ability to be used in a rotational system. Health is the overriding factor for Tucker and could ultimately keep him from being drafted or signing with a team.
Want more information on Tucker? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Sean Tucker, RB, Syracuse | NFL Draft Scouting Report
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