Syracuse Orange punter Riley Dixon drafted by Denver Broncos, others signed

The NFL Draft concluded on Saturday after three days of playing role call with 253 players hearing their name called. One of those names was former Syracuse University punter Riley Dixon.

This selection cracks a two year drought of Syracuse University players being drafted.

Dixon was selected on Saturday in the seventh round by the Denver Broncos as the 228th overall pick of the draft. He will reunite with former Syracuse special teams quality control coach, Chris Gould, who was hired by Denver last summer as a special teams coaching assistant.

After not being drafted, a few other Orange players heard their cell phones ring on Saturday as teams were already looking to sign them as undrafted free agents or propose an invite to the respective team’s minicamp.

Defensive end Ron Thompson was contacted by the Indianapolis Colts less than an hour after the conclusion of the NFL Draft to sign an undrafted free agent contract with the team.

The former Syracuse cornerback Julian Whigham was contacted by the Buffalo Bills to sign a similar deal.

Other than these two defensive players receiving contracts after the draft, offensive lineman Rob Trudo will attend the Tampa Bay Buccaneers minicamp, according to Trudo’s agency DEC Management.

Riley Dixon
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Dixon was a First Team All-ACC player last season, where he averaged a career-high 43.7 yards-per-punt. Of his 65 punts in the 2015 season, 28 were downed inside the opposing 20-yard line, while 18 traveled over 50 yards and only five were registered as touchbacks.

He was also one of 10 finalists for the Ray Guy Award, which is given to the nation’s top punter every season.

Thompson, a redhsirt junior, made the decision to leave Syracuse with a year of eligibility remaining. He finished with seven sacks and four forced fumbles in 2015.

“I just want my chance,” said Thompson after his Pro Day workout at Syracuse. “Once I get a chance, I’ll show people I deserve it.”

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound cornerback played in 11 games in 2015, totaling 22 tackles. Whigham started multiple seasons for the Orange, but as his production decreased, so did his time on the field.

Trudo was a four-year starter on the offensive line for Syracuse, playing either guard or center. This versatility will help the former team captain find a roster spot with the Buccaneers.

As these few former Syracuse football players will try to make final rosters on NFL teams, there are a handful of other players that could be on their way to team minicamps as well.